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How common? 2 decades of fidelity then serial cheating, midlife

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rbf1234 posted 2/26/2014 13:30 PM

How common is it for a WS to start serial cheating after 2 decades of monogamy?

Lots of folks on SI have a WS who had had one or two affairs after a long period of being married. Others discover their WS was a serial cheater (or even an SA) over much of the relationship.

But neither of those scenarios matches my situation exactly.

In my case (from what I know) my WS gave me 2 decades of fidelity, then the MLC hit, and for about 4-5 years started a series of affairs, short and long, EAs and PAs, high body count.

How common is this? And how many of you have gone on to reconcile? And (as far as you know) how many of your WSs have been able to return to monogamy?


traditoperanni posted 2/26/2014 13:43 PM

When I first found out about my fwh cheating fours years ago, I was told that he was cheating for the past 10 years off and on with escorts. Come to find out that he has been cheating all our married life. So it is very hard for me to believe that all of a sudden after 20 years of Marriage they decide to cheat.
Dig a little deeper, you may find out that this has been going on all along. You never get the full story the first time around.
My fwh is a SA and has been in a program for SA, in IC and MC with me. So he is now doing what he needs to do and he is supposedly monogamous. Who knows for sure. I can't control what he does.
But, I can control what I will do if he does and that is to leave him.

rbf1234 posted 2/26/2014 15:43 PM

Your point is important - that I still may not know the whole truth about the 1st two decades. (There was a lot of TT... it took a long time for everything to come out.)

But, I do have good reasons to think that I finally have the truth. So assuming for the moment that I do, has anyone else had this experience and reconciled afterwards. Thanks.

Itstoohard posted 2/26/2014 17:35 PM

We were married almost 20 yrs and then MLC and PA and numerous EA's. Trying to R......

WaryOptimist posted 2/26/2014 17:39 PM

My situation is close to yours. His A was just after our 20th anniversary. Then I found out about an EA with an old high school classmate, and inappropriate phone calls with another friend from hs days, both just before the full blown A, but "that's all." He swears there never was anything else, and he'll take that to his grave, I'm sure.

On bad days, I can't help but think how coincidental it is that all that I know (and I know it from digging, not him confessing) is all that ever happened. I wouldn't be surprised if more OWs surfaced; my faith is shot, and I can't be certain of anything anymore.

rbf1234 posted 3/12/2014 11:03 AM

Thank you for your replies! It is very helpful to know there are other people in similar situations.

cantgetup posted 3/12/2014 11:24 AM

I've posted numerous times on this subject.
23 years of marriage and boom an opportunity taken for a 7 month sex only affair. That's what he wants me to believe. I smell a rat. No other indiscretions? No other lunches? No other borderline relationships? Nothing? The part of my
Brain that controls logic and common sense tells me not possible. Yet he insists this to be the case and says that everyone has a first time. Yea well most stand on the edge of the cliff for a bit and weigh their options, have a conference with their conscious. Or eeee gads maybe even say No the first few times opportunity comes a knockin. Nope, not my special man.

NoMorDeceit posted 3/12/2014 11:41 AM

Yes. My husband was never unfaithful in any other relationship. Ever. He hit his mid to late 40s married me and was never faithful (even while we dated)...weird right? He never intended to be faithful either...probably weirder still. He never had any inclination to be unfaithful in any other relationship.

We did go on to reconcile, April will be 5 years. There was a high body count here too...long term and short term affairs.

My situation is a little different, we didn't have a 20 year history of monogamy between us, but he had a 20+ year history of serial monogamy in several long term relationships.

tryingagain74 posted 3/12/2014 11:50 AM

I always wonder about this. Is there just a ton of stuff I don't know about? I don't care at this point and wouldn't bother to find out, but I always thought that my XWH's behavior was strange. Why, after a 17-year relationship (13 of those married), would he suddenly have an A? After he also knew of two real-life examples where the first wives were cheated on, the cheaters married the OWs, and then those marriages both exploded and ended in messy divorces, why would he make that choice?

I have to wonder if there was more cheating than I actually knew about, and this is the only "relationship" I discovered. But, if I do assume that there wasn't anyone else, the same thing happened to me. Call it what you will-- MLC or whatever-- but I think it's a reflection of our infantile, narcissistic society that encourages us to do what feels good rather than what is right.

k94ever posted 3/12/2014 15:49 PM

Not very common.

Normally a person doesn't go from devoted spouse to serial cheater unless there is a huge triggering issue.

Dig deeper, there's an iceberg.


Skye posted 3/12/2014 16:46 PM

We were close to 4 decades of fidelity, or at least that is what I believed. Now I wouldn't bet on it. However, the first marriage counselor we saw told me my husband, the cheater, was a time bomb waiting to explode. I didn't have a clue how emotionally damaged he was. I guess I was lucky that I had four normal decades.

Simple posted 3/12/2014 16:53 PM

Just like everything else in life, the path to success and in this case darkness is taken in small steps.

Have you considered porn? what about reading playboy? masturbating without you? what about just making comments how hot a certain girl is? What about female co-worker friends? platonic friends? Any EA's? Any borderline friend/EA? Does he have friends who cheat and he listens to their stories (living through them)?

Do you see where I'm getting at here?

Hopefully that will help you "dig deep" as some members here have suggested.

Alex CR posted 3/12/2014 17:14 PM

I, too, wonder. Although when I look back at the first twenty years, I remember us being so happy together. H was always focused on me and me on him....he was usually home and sex life was great. As we went past twenty years he began to hang out with cheating husbands, one in particular and it created a breach between us we'd never had before. He chose his friendship over me and things went downhill. Over the next few years he became distant, traveling on weekends and he wasn't very nice to me. He had a five year affair with a woman overseas that I found out about right before our 29th wedding anniversary....were there signs? In hindsight, yes. H's focus wasn't on me nor was my focus on him during those years.

He's admitted to one ONS also, but in my heart and to protect myself, I have to believe there are more. But at this point I don't care. It's almost five years and I believe he is faithful now. His lens is focused on me again, KWIM? His actions show it ...and we spend most of our time together.

Sadly, we'll never know the whole truth but have to live with the truth we've been given if we decide that R is what we want. But I do believe someone can be faithful for decades and then cheat.....we all change....and we can make a conscious decision to change again.

Williesmom posted 3/12/2014 19:08 PM

I think my wxh was monogamous for the largest part of our 26 year relationship.

Turning 40 hit him really hard. Then, his dog died, and he just lost it.depression hit really hard, our business was struggling, low self esteem....

It was the perfect storm, and MOW moved in to make his widdle life all better.

TXBW68 posted 3/12/2014 19:16 PM

My husband did this. We started dating when he was 20 and I was 23. Met in college. I was his "only".

His MLC started at about 35. He had a ONS and several months later came clean. I forgave, forgot and we moved on. But we never addressed the real issues. He turned 40, we had our 20th anniversary, then all of the sudden started saying he didn't want to be married. I found out about #4 at that point. We separated and I started digging. Turns out he was into lots of stuff, including porn and 2 other women. Total damage = 4 OW and 10 months separated.

We eventually got back together. He's been home a year now. It took losing everything for him to grow up. Now he understands what's important in life. He doesn't need validation from other people. He sees that he built up our "problems" during those years in his own head. I wasn't really the evil person he made me out to be. And he has a renewed sense of commitment to me and our family.

Unfortunately, his MLC gave me the husband I deserve. I just wish he could have found a different way to grow up. The emotional scars will be with me for a very long time.

Ostrich80 posted 3/13/2014 05:31 AM

As far as I know we had 20 yrs of faithfulness but although it would have shocked me then to know otherwise, it wouldn't now. I'm realizing I really don't know him like I thought I did.
I don't think it was a mlc...just a lot.of things in our lives went sideways, then the big divide. All of a sudden we weren't on the same side, we weren't one but two again.

TrustedHer posted 3/13/2014 09:35 AM

3 decades, more or less.

Her MLC came as she saw 50 looming in front of her, empty nest coming, and having to confront the fact that she never really cared for me "in that way", had never achieved her rock-star fame, and didn't really want to retire with me.

And then Boom! One OM, lots of late-night band rehearsals, girls' nights out, an EA with OM#2, D-Day#1, more "rehearsals", and OM#3.

All of my ideas about her motivations are what I've figured out in retrospect. They may be totally inaccurate. She may just be a lunatic. She was always a needy person who had to be the center of attention. There was just no way to satisfy that urge.

It no longer matters.

solus sto posted 3/13/2014 11:02 AM

I think it's more common that there is infidelity that remained undetected in earlier decades; that was my experience.

Merlin posted 3/13/2014 11:08 AM

Married 24 years, no issues.

Ex-w takes up with an unemployed, multiple DUI, scum bucket.

Now she drinks like a fish, swears like a sailor and parties like a 17-yr old.

wahoo8895 posted 3/13/2014 13:19 PM

FWW and I met in Nov 1995 (married in Mar 1997). 100% faithful as far as I know until her EA began sometime during summer 2009 and the PA started in Dec 2009. Been 100% (again as far as I can tell) since the PA/EA ended in Feb 2010.

We do believe it was related to mid-life/identity crisis. So I think it CAN happen.

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