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Is there always an answer to this question?

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Hurtbuthopeful35 posted 8/11/2014 06:43 AM

I have asked my WH what he told himself in order to make infidelity an "ok" thing to do to our marriage.

Did he believe he deserved it? Did he feel he should be allowed bc our bedroom life had fizzled? What justification did he have to turn away from his moral values and conscience? Why did he think it was "ok" as long as I didn't know?

He has given me answers such as: he thought he could get away with it, he was curious, he was looking for an escape/excitement and she offered it to him freely....

I get all those things but it doesn't answer my question: what about your moral fabric changed in order to allow this?

He is not a man who would normally condone this behavior...

Or is this something that can't always be answered? Am I trying to apply logic to the illogical?

[This message edited by Hurtbuthopeful35 at 6:44 AM, August 11th (Monday)]

devasted30 posted 8/11/2014 06:58 AM

I, too, have asked my WS the same questions over and over. He worked hard to find someone who would cheat with a married man. It took him quite a while to find someone. How could he justify this? How? He really doesn't have any other answers then what your WH told you. Oh, and the famous, "I didn't think you cared"

Daisy312 posted 8/11/2014 07:12 AM

My WH says that he was able to compartmentalize the A so that he didn't think about it unless he was with her but said it didn't seem real. His was strictly physical with texting ego boosts but no real friendship or connection.

Hopeful74 posted 8/11/2014 07:20 AM

I just kept getting generic answers, as well. Until my WH stopped answering my questions altogether until we could go to MC because he didn't feel safe answering when I would get angry!!! WTF?! YOU didn't feel safe?! It just got too hard for him, so he moved on. But still lacks the balls to let me know that. Just became distant and secretive again, all under the guise of waiting for me, until I cut off all contact, except for the kids.

tl502 posted 8/11/2014 07:35 AM

Your ws isn't looking very deeply into himself is he? Opportunity and curiosity exist for everyome, but we don't all act on it.
He needs to look a little deeper and see what drove him to jump off the cliff into an a. This reason doesn't have anything to do with you or even your m. It's something inside of him. My h was seeking external validation from his ap to relieve his depression. He wanted attention from someone who didn't know his faults and would live with him in fantasyland.
It takes a lot of work to dig down into yourself and determine why you went against your own moral values. It takes a lot of work to figure out why you would hurt those you love most. It's uncofortable and much easier to sweep it under the rug and just say "I'll never do this again, I'm different now" The question is, are you willing to let it go at that, because it increases the risk that you will be dealing with this same problem again down the road.

Hurtbuthopeful35 posted 8/11/2014 07:40 AM

Tl502

WH has said that he needed the ego rub. He was feeling down bc of our loss of a romantic relationship, the chaos in the home, and because he lost his job. He felt the fantasy he created with her was an escape that could bring him some "happiness."

I get all that. But there seems there must be a time, when they are about to go through with it, that they must think, "I should be allowed to to this because....."


But maybe they don't actually think that way? Maybe they simply think "I want to."

peaceBmine posted 8/11/2014 08:07 AM

Well, my WH answered in a way I didn't expect. He KNEW it was not OK and was against everything he believed and never thought otherwise. He said he had just gotten to a place where he didn't care anymore. Yes, he thought that he could get away with it and it never hurt me, but he felt that he had already failed in so many ways that what was adultery added to the list.

It is often said that infidelity is the second most selfish thing any person can do, with suicide being the first. I had my WH on "suicide watch" for many years during a terrible time of depression. He has now admitted that he was suicidal and did consider it, but that he allow himself to do that to our children and has seen first hand the long-term damage that suicide causes for loved ones. I wish I had been a little more diligent in my research and knew that infidelity was often a second choice. It really was a short-term escape from the depression- still extremely damaging, but at this point our children know nothing about it and we are actually relating better to each other than pre-A.

Another odd piece of the "why" for him- he actually rationalized CONTINUING in the A because he felt that I was happier and that he was able to be a "better husband." While that just sounds WRONG in so many ways...it was actually very true. Having lived with an H in depression and unable to move forward for so many years, I was resentful and almost bitter. The A (and testosterone he was getting) gave him the lift and boost of energy he needed to return to living. He WAS the husband I remembered during the A. He took care of me (I was sick during 3 months of the A) in ways he had not in years. He had energy. He smiled. He laughed. He enjoyed us as a family. He did projects around the house. He was happy...not JUST when he was with her, but with us as well. Strangely enough, I have told him that I don't know that I would be willing to R had we not had the 3 months just prior to DDay (prior to that, A was really just a friendship starting to get a little out of hand.) My feelings of love for him returned during this time and I caught a glimpse of who I remembered marrying. How sad it is that SHE was the reason for this, but I cannot lie and say that I was not the beneficiary in many ways. Believe me, I know how wrong that sounds...it's something that I've been dealing with.

Shinypenny posted 8/11/2014 08:18 AM

I was getting these answers too until my WH started IC. Now he is starting to recognize some unhealthy patterns he learned in his childhood. I don't think many WH's have an answer until they start looking deep within themselves. In short I think there IS an answer, but it will take some deep digging and some time to get to it.

SMSA925 posted 8/11/2014 08:24 AM

That question always bothered me because he would always give me generic answers like, "I dont know", or "I wasnt thinking", or "I am stupid". But the truth is, he was only thinking about himself, about making himself feel good at the moment.. It had nothing to do with me, or her or our marriage. Its a shame really how easily a marriage can be destroyed for no good reason. Today, I love him, do not forgive him and will never forget. I gave us a year from DDay without making any big decisions. 8 more months until I make a decision to stay or go.

krsplat posted 8/11/2014 08:46 AM

I struggle with this question too. While WH has made some legitimate connections between his A and his FOO issues, his lack of self-esteem, his lack of boundaries and his unhealthy coping skills, the fact is that many other people struggle with these exact same issues and choose NOT to betray their M.

The real differences I see between those who betray and those who don't is that those who do have a ginormous sense of entitlement, don't value fidelity (even though they may pay it lip service), lack empathy, and simply don't care enough about the M or the spouse to refrain. WSs betray because they want to and don't think they will get caught. In other words, they have massive character flaws where others of us have moral codes.

Do I think they can change? Yes, or I would have filed for D by now. Do I think it is easy, or even likely? No. That's why we're all thrashing around here, trying to make sense of the senseless.

[This message edited by krsplat at 8:47 AM, August 11th (Monday)]

kiki1 posted 8/11/2014 08:59 AM

In my case,just as krsplat says.

they do it cause they want to and dont think they'll get caught.

I didnt recognize the difference in mine and wh's morals. At least how huge the difference was.

Never thought he'd do that to me

Gman1 posted 8/11/2014 09:16 AM

This question is one that I really struggled with as well and I am sure that most BS's have the same question. How could a good person who knows right from wrong, has a good sense of morals and a good head on his/her shoulders do such a thing? Or even contemplate such a thing much less act on it?

I brought this up to our MC during a session to see what he had to say and to hear his explanation. He said "I was trying to get a logical answer for an illogical act." He went into great detail and it made more sense to me after his explanation. He said that I most likely would never fully be able to grasp a totally understandable answer to this and that I would just have to some how realize and accept the fact that none of it made any sense whatsoever. I think that it is normally a slow slippery slope where small boundaries are crossed during the process over weeks or months. And then the WS starts an addiction similar to a strong narcotic and they enter into a fantasy land where nothing else matters including right or wrong or the ramifications of the A.

I do not think that the majority of WS's wake up one morning and think to themselves " I think I am going to start an A today." It usually starts with a few bad decisions made with poor boundaries over a period of time which ends up morphing into a EA which they may or may not realize has even happened and that, in turn, leads to the PA. I am obviously not trying to defend their horrible choices or actions but it is my understanding regarding my FWW's A and many others. This sort of helps me understand along with the explanation from my MC.

bionicgal posted 8/11/2014 09:27 AM

Gman - this is one of the best explanations I have read to the question, and jives 100% with my H's experience:

I brought this up to our MC during a session to see what he had to say and to hear his explanation. He said "I was trying to get a logical answer for an illogical act." He went into great detail and it made more sense to me after his explanation. He said that I most likely would never fully be able to grasp a totally understandable answer to this and that I would just have to some how realize and accept the fact that none of it made any sense whatsoever. I think that it is normally a slow slippery slope where small boundaries are crossed during the process over weeks or months. And then the WS starts an addiction similar to a strong narcotic and they enter into a fantasy land where nothing else matters including right or wrong or the ramifications of the A.

I do not think that the majority of WS's wake up one morning and think to themselves " I think I am going to start an A today." It usually starts with a few bad decisions made with poor boundaries over a period of time which ends up morphing into a EA which they may or may not realize has even happened and that, in turn, leads to the PA. I am obviously not trying to defend their horrible choices or actions but it is my understanding regarding my FWW's A and many others. This sort of helps me understand along with the explanation from my MC.

jendo posted 8/11/2014 09:33 AM

My WH claims that he thought our marriage was over. News to me! I know things weren't great, but they weren't to the point of over. Its sad that he didn't feel like he could talk to ME about it at that point. That he gave up without trying. He sees that now and it devastates him too that he didn't make the right choice. Terrifies him to think of how close he got to losing it all. He was very broken and I think although he usually has good morals, he just didn't care anymore.

Hurtbuthopeful35 posted 8/11/2014 12:03 PM

Thank you all for your thoughts.

I agree that it's really an attempt to apply logic to the illogical. (Although, we don't want to ignore some of the vulnerabilities behind it.)

This is my husbands timeline description, in a very simplified nutshell (3 years, 9 mo):

My husband started with contacting old friends via Facebook
This ex was one of them
She began flirting
It became more sexual in conversation; it was easy, fun and seemed harmless
I found these conversations, told him to stop, he agreed
She contacted him: why aren't you talking to me?
He said he couldn't; she said it'd be okay
The messages went to email
She asked to see him; he said no, he couldn't do that
She asked him: aren't you curious? Wondering what 20 years has done?
He began to wonder; became curious
They started planning a visit; he convinced himself it'd be just one time; he could survive it and then his curiosity would be fulfilled
She flew in for a few days, they had a whirl of a time
She left, he felt regret, told himself it wouldn't happen again
She contacted him; they talked more; talk was personal and commiserating about life, marriage etc.
He forgot the regret, craved the high, he realized he got way with it the first time
They planned another visit
She visited and said she was falling in love
He said he loved her but wouldn't leave his wife; she got upset
Repeat of regret, cravings, visits over and over (5 times she flew here and 1x he flew there)
Conversation became more personal; talking about the future
He was able to sustain our marriage because he created these worlds so seperately; he felt he could have both
She began to push him for a future; expressed that life with her would be perfect
He began to wonder if it was true; is the grass really greener?
He contacted a divorce lawyer and decided he couldn't go through with it
He continued to want both his marriage and the affair
He decided to appease her by saying what she wanted to hear; playing along
A year passed in which they were unable to see each other but they were still talking and trying to plan; he was uneasy with the relationship; it was loosing its flare and becoming too real; she wanted to move to our area to be closer
He began looking for faults with her, in hopes he could find any easy way out or, better yet she'd want out
He saw her last Valentines day/weekend. Things were less fun. He felt wrong being out. She talked about the future and he played along
This continued; him stringing her along.
Then I found out and he was relieved to have an end to this web they had woven

Gman1 posted 8/11/2014 12:51 PM

Hurt,
Wow! The beginning of your timeline is exactly like mine except the OM was doing most of the pursuing towards my WW. Starting with simple conversation through PM's on FB, then slightly flirtatious conversations. And then I found the PM's and confronted her and she said there was nothing to them and she would stop immediately but they simply switched to texting which eventually led to a weekend meeting and PA.

You are probably just like me in the fact that you busted him on FB and thought you had nipped something bad in the bud before anything really bad had happened. I thought I had dodged a bullet and should have followed up much more thoroughly but I didn't because I blindly trusted her. I am sure the fact that you caught them on FB really pissed you off afterwards. I know it did me!

Lark posted 8/11/2014 12:56 PM

My husband has just generic answers right now.
He's trying to figure it out himself. As my therapist said, it's a very dark place they have to go to in order to figure out that kind of why, and it takes a long time and a lot of courage and effort to finally go there.

MissedRedFlags posted 8/11/2014 16:00 PM

Hurtbuthopeful35---
I have had that same question ( I think everyone has). How can a person go from believing having an affair is wrong to--- saying to themselves, "Yeah, ok, I'm going to have an affair."?

Here's something that REALLY helped me at
http://www.goasksuzie.com/final-3-mistakes-avoid.htm

Failure to Remove the Excuses
Do you know what got you in trouble in the first place? The basic set-up goes something like this (see if it sounds familiar)…At some point, you had a strong desire and a strong curiosity to experience something different, and the affair appeared to offer you a way of getting those desires satisfied with little or no risk of getting caught. Somehow, you managed to glamorize the opportunity…and you went for it. Before you knew it, you were caught like a fish who took the bait.

For most people, an extramarital affair begins as simple and as complicated as that.

Now, re-examining the previous scenario (even if this isn’t exactly the way it happened for you), where do you think the trouble really started? Here’s my theory. (Go along with me on this.) The trouble wasn’t the desire you had, and it wasn’t that you wanted to experience newness, novelty, excitement, and romance. We all want these things. It’s natural and it’s normal. So if desire is not what leads us into temptation, then what does?

Let’s look at another look at the typical progression of an extramarital affair.

A strong desire + excuse/rationalization + willingness to use black-hat strategies + perfect opportunity = ExtraMarital Affair

Bottom line?

The differences between a person who remains faithful from one who strays comes down to two things:

Willingness to rationalize (excuses that make wrong actions appear right)
Willingness to use black-hat (deceptive) strategies to cover your tracks
Think back with me and ask yourself…

when did your indiscretion shift from being just a possibility, to becoming a real opportunity? As you trace it back in your timeline, most likely, you’ll discover that it shifted the moment you were able to rationalize moving forward with it.

Second question: When did cheating on your spouse shift from NOT being okay, to being okay? I believe it shifted the moment you gave yourself permission to use deception to cover your tracks.

Now, here’s the challenge.

Once the affair has been exposed, partners often rely on the power of the same techniques that got them INTO trouble to get them OUT of trouble.

In other words…

…they defend their excuses for having the affair (rather than remove them) and they continue to use the black-hat (deceptive) strategies (rather than discard them).

Why this doesn’t work:

Your partner knows you didn’t have a perfect marriage. Why? Because marriages are made up of people, and there aren’t any perfect people. This means that anyone looking for an excuse to cheat can always find one. And as long as you defend excuses to cheat, you leave the door open to cheating again.

What is an excuse?

An excuse is any argument that allows a wrong action to appear all right. Here’s the thing about human nature: We will not take any action unless we believe that action is right. This means that when we do Discard infidelity excuses something wrong, we must find a way to justify it in our minds (make it right) before we can do it. This is the role excuses and rational lies play in affairs. They help wayward partners make it OK in their minds to take wrong actions. However, until you confront the excuses that made it OK to have the affair, you haven’t yet learned from your mistakes. Your partner knows this. And those who don’t learn from their mistakes are doomed to repeat them.

Which brings us full circle.

Remember we began our conversation with the notion that continuing to do the same things that got you in trouble will not get you out of trouble? This principle definitely applies to your excuses for the affair. If you continue to defend your “why” for having an affair (remember there are no reasons, only excuses), then you’ll simply keep digging yourself into a deeper hole.

My suggestion?

Discard the excuses. Don’t cherish them; Don’t cling to them. Remember, those excuses are the same ones that caused you to abandon your integrity. They caused you to lose your partner’s respect. They caused you to take wrong actions and (that alone) should tell you they aren’t doing you any favors.

peaceBmine posted 8/11/2014 17:21 PM

Hurtbuthopeful35,
After reading your "timeline" I think I need to write one out of my own. WH has pretty much told me how it progressed and the decisions made, but seeing yours in writing makes me think this is the missing piece. Thanks!

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