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Why did I do it?

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StartingFreshNow posted 7/28/2014 15:19 PM

No, I don't expect you to actually answer that question for me! :)

My question is why did you have an affair? I'm aware every situation is different but I'm curious.

I have just realized that even though I've been in IC all this time, I've never addressed why my affair happened. Not even a little. I've been in counseling for a myriad of problems and somehow my affair has been skipped over completely. It probably doesn't help I've had 3 counselors in the last 10 months, but it still was overlooked.

At my next session (in 2 days) I plan on telling my counselor I want 100% focus on the affair and figuring out why I did it.

However, I'm impatient and I don't want to wait to talk to her to start digging into why I might have done it. I've done some looking on the internet and I haven't found any books that seem to help address this. I did find some sights and I have 2 small theories, but I also don't think they hit the nail on the head.

I'm just curious the reasons others have had A so that I can use these to explore my own reasoning behind mine.

Imabrokenman posted 7/28/2014 19:38 PM

Wow - this post is very timely for me.

I just got back from IC, and my agenda for this session was just that - why did I do what I did. This is something that BS has asked me on several occassions, and there will be no R until I can answer this question openly and honestly.

I have been considering the question for quite a long time - even before DDay. I am finding out that there is not just one reason, that there are several. I have, and continue, to dive deep and search for all the answers.

In my case, one of the reasons is that I needed validation. I always have. My wife and I were stagnant in our marriage, and I was taking it for granted. Here was someone else who was telling me how much I meant to them - of course I was drawn towards that.

Of course, I never should have acted out on these desires. I should have openly and honestly talked to my wife, and figured it out instead of running to someone else. I made the choice, and it was the wrong.

Tomorrow is our 19th anniversary. She just called me, devastated and sobbing uncontrolably. Tonight is not a good night, and tomorrow will be worse.

familyfirst posted 7/29/2014 09:36 AM

So many reasons for me too. I always liked AP, he was from my past "the one that got away". When we reconnected I felt 22 again. He lavished me with attention and complements. I was almost 40 and hadn't felt like a sexual object in so long I couldn't remember. It was intoxicating. I fell for him and the way he made me feel. I convinced myself that the A was doing no harm because H barely noticed me anymore.

bottom line from my IC - I craved the attention. I was vulnerable due to lack of other close emotional bonds (family & friends). I was overly responsible and needed some excitment. After years of feeling like a servant to the family I felt justified to have something just for me. Also I just made one bad decision after another and before I knew it I became a monster.

Ouch, it hurts to see it all in a row like that

rsf2013 posted 7/29/2014 17:04 PM

Being 36 years old and hotly pursued by a very attractive 18 year old model feels pretty intoxicating. There were certainly other factors that made me more vulnerable to her advances (my bipolar disorder, medication issues, etc.). The bottom line though is that I felt like a million bucks when she flirted and told me how she felt about me. Even though I said no at first, I ultimately made the wrong choice when temptation was too much to bear. There's no excuse, though, Even if medical/medication issues and other factors made me more vulnerable I was still very much capable of making the right decision, and I bear 100% responsibility for failing to do that.

ExWayward posted 7/29/2014 18:21 PM

I cheated out of revenge for my XWW's affair.

We were married in 1984 right out of high school. In 1987 she began an affair with a neighbor and left me for a month before crawling back after he used her and dumped her.

She wanted to work it out. I said okay, but secretly I began slinking around behind her back, bedding women left and right. She caught me a couple years later but by that time I had slept with close to fifteen other women, single and married. One of them was her best friend and the BFF outed me to her.

She stayed with me out of guilt for what she said "she had turned me into", but eventually we realized what was the point?

I never remarried but have been living in an affair-free relationship with my partner since 1993.

[This message edited by ExWayward at 6:25 PM, July 29th (Tuesday)]

FixYou71 posted 7/30/2014 00:27 AM

Usually, from what I have read from some wise Former waywards it takes quite a bit of introspection to get to your why (s).
Regardless of why you ultimately determine you were unfaithful, be it seeking self esteem boosts from someone other than your spouse or fear of rejection or fear of intimacy or a sexual addiction etc., you must also determine why that issue gave you permission to cross that boundary. So not only do you need to know why you were vulnerable to adultery but also why your boundaries were not strong enough to prevent the ultimate betrayal.
Yes, being in a stagnant marriage can contribute but is not the WHY. There were many other choices to be made before the choice to be unfaithful. MC, IC, conversations with your spouse, separation, divorce, etc.
John Doe may have been unfaithful because his inner demon was very low self esteem. Why did he have such low self esteem? What got him to that point? Why, instead of addressing his self esteem issues by delving into the beliefs he held about himself and trying to correct those, did he instead try to look to another woman to spoon feed ego kibbles to him?
Likewise, why was that option even on his radar?
Sometimes the answers end up feelings like they're just not enough because nothing seems to be a good enough reason for cheating on your spouse. That is when much work has to be done to adjust your way of thinking and shore up your boundaries and also how you handle marital issues and internal conflict.
Most BSs face the same internal issues that WSs face but the difference that makes them a BS vs a WS is their boundaries.

It will take some real exploring to come to your own very personal why. Were you self absorbed and felt entitled to have whatever made you feel good? Are you an addictive personality looking for any way to bring about that high? Were you feeling unlovable or unworthy and looking for proof of your own value? Do you have vulnerability issues?
For your BS the why will be very important but so will being able to feel confident that if that same set of circumstances should ever be present in your life again, you have developed a different outlook, skills and impermeable boundaries that will prevent you from ever attempting to solve or soothe those issues with infidelity.

StartingFreshNow posted 7/30/2014 08:10 AM

Wow, you were all very helpful. Especially that last post.

It's made me realize this is going to be a very hard answer to find. There are many contributing factors to my A, but you're right, none of them answer the why. Wow....that's a lot to think about.

Thank you all!

DrJekyll posted 7/31/2014 08:34 AM

The Why itself is an onion

my "whys"
feeling unattractive
getting older
FOO issues

and then you get to a point where it becomes
I Wanted TO

and then the "whys" transform
and you start getting to the real "Whys"
I am afraid of being vulnerable, and why
because I am afraid of being abandoned, and why
because I was continually abandoned.
because I am not enough for me.

So you have to peel that onion. Get to the root. or you will be doomed to repeat it.

tired girl posted 7/31/2014 08:42 AM

I am curious as to why you have been discussing everything BUT your A? Why have you been avoiding it?

StartingFreshNow posted 7/31/2014 09:05 AM

DrJekyll - you illustrating your progression of figuring out your whys like that really helps - thank you!!!!

We have not discussed my A in IC for a variety of reasons. Apparently my counselors have not thought it very important, but in their defense I have seen 3 counselors in 9 months and am actually switching again (but to our MC who has already made more progress with me than any of the others so I have a lot of faith this time) so maybe they kept thinking it was already discussed and resolved. I didn't bring it up because I didn't realize I needed to figure out the "why". To me it was in the past (although sometimes present) and I just didn't see that counseling would help me with it. I guess that was pure ignorance on my part. I am also bipolar, ADHD and have an eating disorder so we've had plenty of other issues to deal with. I guess I thought figuring out how to identify manic phases, identify triggers of a manic phase, etc was addressing the affair because it started during what we think was a manic phase, though it continued while I wasn't manic.

I know that's a lot of rambling but I don't really have a good excuse so I was trying to explain things.

tangledknot posted 7/31/2014 09:09 AM

Why did I do it?

1. AP's attention made me feel amazing.
2. I had felt insecure and invisible for so long
3. I was unfulfilled and unhappy with my life
4. I would not take charge of my life. I refused to communicate my needs. I should have drawn a line in the sand.
5. I was too scared.

There you have it!

sorrowfulmate posted 7/31/2014 10:05 AM

God Jekell,

That hit me in the gut. I am going to be working on this with my IC.

She thinks that a major issue with me is/was self esteem. I also see foo issues there too.

But your last part resonates.

StartingFreshNow posted 7/31/2014 10:08 AM

tangledknot - but WHY were you too scared? I never seem to get to a satisfactory end answer. Then again I'm barely letting myself explore this so I have a lot of work to do, I know.

tired girl posted 7/31/2014 10:17 AM

Exactly, tangled knot you still have more why's to go through. Why were you too scared? What were you scared of?

sorrowfulmate posted 7/31/2014 10:24 AM

For me it was opening my self up. In my foo you didn't express feelings. It's how it was.

Those rules don't work. Never did never will.

tangledknot posted 7/31/2014 11:03 AM

Why was I too scared to communicate with my spouse?
1. I won't get what I want or need. Why?
2. Because my needs are not as important. Why?
3. I am not entitled to having my needs met. Why?

I am stuck now. :( I grew up in a very religious home, and looking back, it feels like I was taught self-sacrifice and kindness to the point of letting people walk all over me. I have felt that every negative feeling I have is my own fault, rather than recognizing that the feeling is letting me know that my boundaries are being crossed. I never really learned to stand up for myself.

StartingFreshNow posted 7/31/2014 11:08 AM

tangledknot- you're not alone - I also let people walk all over me. I don't even recognize it. My husband and I have had arguments lately about it because I let it happen and don't even notice. I just want everyone to be happy and like me. The fear of rejection terrifies me and I don't know where that comes from except it was modeled to me my entire life by my mom I think.

tangledknot posted 7/31/2014 11:27 AM

I had a long conversation with my sister last night about our parents. Usually we blame my dad for everything, but I'm looking closer at my mom. She loves us so much, but damn if she did not expect perfection. Perfection as in being selfless and angelic and having a beautifully decorated, spotless home, and never ever sinning - no drinking, swearing, debauchery, yelling, fighting, or anything could make people think you are dysfunctional in any way.

My parents are pillars of their community and very respected, but I think it's telling that I and my siblings are so troubled. None of us have exactly been lighting the world on fire like one would expect with the perfect upbringing we had.

tired girl posted 7/31/2014 11:38 AM

Sorry to t/j but tangled knot how are you so sure about these two things:

I won't get what I want or need. Why?
2. Because my needs are not as important. Why?

Did you ask for what you wanted or needed from your H, and if you did, did he tell you they weren't important?

tangledknot posted 7/31/2014 12:10 PM

tired girl,

The answer is yes. A few years ago, I asked for his support when I was going through some physical and mental health issues and he undermined me. I think that is where the nails started getting hammered into the coffin. Any time I asked him for anything he threw a fit, and i would feel like a nag. He told me twice that he hated my high pitched whiney voice. I am normally a quiet, non-confrontational, passive person, but at least once a year, I would lose it and just scream at him - still did not phase him.

I have his attention now, though!

Looking back, what I should have done was muster the strength to issue an ultimatum and back it up. I should have demanded MC a long time ago. I didn't have the guts to demand anything. Divorce right now is a very, very real possibility. If we were going to divorce anyway, it would have been nice to not have this affair cloud hanging over my head.

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