Speaking from experience this fact was EXTREMELY hard to accept. I ask myself why was this was so hard for me. Here are my reasons;
1. A spouse that commits adultery does so because they are not getting something from their spouse. This false statement gave me the opportunity to take on some responsibility for my wifes affair.
2. My wifes affair went EA to PA while in weekly counseling sessions. This occurrence gave me the false theory that...She chose to have sex with him while I was aware of her adultery and while we were working on our marriage...therefore she did this to me.
3. I am self centered to a degree, leading me to think...Of course this has to do with me, doesn't everything? (yeah, not great to print that...but trying to fully explain my journey). I have a selfish side of me too.
So the above is what got in my way of accepting the wisdom of those who had gone before me as fact. What has changed that has allowed me to own the fact that my wifes affair is not about me now? It is the full realization on how selfish people engaged in adultery are. I never saw my wife as a selfish type...
Adultery is about as selfish an act as you can commit...by the definition of selfishness no one else is a factor...you are only interested in whats in it for you...not caring or considering others as you make decisions to get what you want. How then can our WS decision to commit adultery be about anything but themselves?
Hopefully this resonates with members here. I hope that it resonates with people new to this site and speeds up their acceptance of this well researched and documented fact. I hope that it resonates with people who have already come to this conclusion.
God be with us all.
[This message edited by blakesteele at 6:08 AM, August 12th (Monday)]
She didn't just cheat on me, she cheated on our entire family!
4 kids age 20 to 32 (2 special needs step children)
Married 22 1/2 years
1. A spouse that commits adultery does so because they are not getting something from their spouse.
Yep, there is a general sense of this in society to be true, and in some religious circles it is hounded in us.
I am self centered to a degree, leading me to think...Of course this has to do with me, doesn't everything?
Yep, same here. I always considered myself to be the patient, kind, giving, generous one. I have learned that although I am these things, I do them for self preservation mainly and to keep the persona I see myself as alive.
For me, what really kicked home this point that their A was about them was my tag line. The days/weeks/months spent pondering those words let me to realize that I had no power/control over his fidelity just as he had none over mine. I could not keep him faithful nor could I cause him to cheat just as he could not do that to me. I was/am faithful due to ME, not anything he has done. He gets no credit for my fidelity, it is all on me, just as if I were to cheat, it would be all on me, because even though it may seem I have "reason" to cheat, due to his actions and inactions over the past 25 years, the truth is that it is soley my choice, and mine alone, thus the same is true for him.
It has been hugely freeing to take that burden off my shoulders and to stop trying to be the perfect spouse to keep him faithful. I missed out on the majority of my life due to this errant belief. It has also been difficult to give this up as well though, because when one feels they are responsible for another, they can also have the illusion that they might be able to DO something to change or turn the other around, that they might actually have some power/control over another, that illusion is powerful. And it is feels kind of like being lost to not have to WORK so hard for another, I spent nearly 20 years in constant WORK trying to be the spouse that would not be cheated on, studying, changing myself, going against who I am, stifling who I am, not finding out who I am, etc. Now I get to sit in the uncomfortableness of loss of purpose and the wilderness of not being a true person in and of myself.
I got messed up in exactly the same way, and I'm glad that you are starting to sort it out.
For me, the problem was that my WW beat me down so much over my failings in our marriage before I learned about the affair that by the time I did find out how she had been cheating and pulling my strings the whole time, my sense of self worth was whittled down to a nub, and I was still begging her to give ME a second chance to change. It was truly twisted.
The tough thing is that there were things that I should have been giving my wife that I wasn't. There were ways that I too, had been selfish, so it was easy to buy into that. Moreover, I had been given advice (good advice, I think) not to focus on how I thought my wife should change, but on what I could do to be a better husband (because, after all, I can only control my actions, not hers). It was good advice for someone trying to save his marriage, but it didn't translate well when we wandered into the post-affair wasteland.
The problem is that my wife began to think of our relationship solely in terms of what it was giving her, hence justifying the affair because it was giving her something that she wasn't getting from me.
A marriage is going to thrive if both spouses wake up in the morning and ask themselves, "How can I love my spouse better today?" If they both focus on improving themselves and their behavior towards the other person, they'll do well. When they start focusing on the other person's faults, that's when trouble starts.
There are lots of ways this thing can go wrong. If only one spouse is focusing on him/herself, then that person risks becoming a martyr. There is also a fine line between communicating your needs and desires to your spouse and trying to change your spouse. And hell. I think we all know that marriage tends to reveal more selfishness in each of us than we'd like to admit.
But seeing your marriage or other relationships in your life as things that exist for your benefit, to make you happy, to meet your needs... this I think is one of the core attitudes that leads to all sorts of trouble in marriages, including affairs. If that's how you see the people in your life, then you don't really have a relationship with them at all. You're just using them.
I also agree with Grace that their is no control over my H's behaviour no more then he can control mine. So many people write about how to get beyond worrying if this will ever happen again. For me, once I honestly realized I had no control over this event I had to either chose to accept the risk or move on. What most don't realize is that, by moving on, we don't guarantee that it won't happen again either unless we chose to stay single.
I do have to mention one other thing though....even though I take absolutely no responsibility for my hubby's 4 year A I do know there were things in our marriage that were missing or not functioning properly that set the stage for the A. Lack of intimacy, poor communication skills, parallel lives....these were prevalent and I would be fooling myself if I didn't take my share of the responsibility for these factors. Not to do so would almost for sure set us up again to fail again. I chose to work on these issues in conjunction with my husbands efforts to fix his reasons for A so that I could feel I had done everything in my power to get to R.
No journey is the same. What works for me might not work for others. But an A is the result of a shaky foundation mixed with a selfish act on one side of the equation. I have realized that, with the state of our marriage, either of us could have been the A spouse given the right circumstances.
Through thick and thin we will survive but he gets only one shot at it!
A spouse that commits adultery does so because they are not getting something from their spouse.
^^^This is the one I have struggled with, & in my mind, I have added to it, "A spouse that commits adultery does so because their betrayed spouse is lacking in some way."
It was reinforced by my MIL,
( who I had always hoped would be a second mother to me since I lost my own mom at a young age)
who , on Dday , said:
"Well, Honey, I blame you. If you had done X, Y , & more Z, this wouldn't have happened."
I could not keep him faithful nor could I cause him to cheat just as he could not do that to me. I was/am faithful due to ME, not anything he has done. He gets no credit for my fidelity, it is all on me, just as if I were to cheat, it would be all on me.... the truth is that it is soley my choice, and mine alone, thus the same is true for him.
Which is why WS has to completely own that it was all their choice, we did not push them into the arms of OW/OM.
This topic is a little trigger for me, as it is believed that Nearly Exh was bored.
[This message edited by Ashland13 at 10:08 AM, August 12th (Monday)]
The times, they are'a changin'! -Bob Dylan
Dbellanon’s experience differs from mine in that I don’t think my wife beat me down…so that is a difference. However, a strong similarity in his post that I can relate to is when he states the tough thing is that there were things he should have been giving his wife…but his own selfishness got in the way of him either recognizing this or prohibiting him from doing this. Great insight! This is where the line can get blurred a bit on distancing yourself from the affair so far that you disconnect your negative actions within the marriage…and become a martyr….at which point your personal growth stops.
TxsT, I like your statement that it could have been either of you to have an A. I think perhaps I was aware of this danger much more then my wife was pre-A. I intentionally arranged my life so the opportunities to cheat were greatly reduced…making sure more then one co-worker went to lunch with me when one was a woman, leaving work-related hospitality functions at a reasonable time, etc. While I still agree with GraceisGood’s statement that fidelity was a decision I made all on my own (not a result of how great my wife was meeting my needs)…I believe I realized my weakness’s in ways my wife did not…and put into place boundaries that kept my temptations and opportunities low.
So…yes….I am not an evolved man….I am an evolving man.
Great insight and thoughtful responses! Thank you all so much.
God be with us.
Normalizing, not minimalizing, my feelings appear to be a great way for me to work through anxieties.
But not forcing you to post that which you are not comfortable.
I respect your posts and have gained wisdom from them.
God be with us all.
[This message edited by blakesteele at 11:10 AM, August 12th (Monday)]
Be curious to know how much credit your MIL is taking for what I percieve her to feel is a perfect, healthy marriage to her husband. I would also like to see how much of a control freak she is...seems like a natural progression from taking credit for something to pridefully boasting how it was all you.
Regardless...God be with you. I follow your posts and see your struggle. MIL is not helping lighten the load any.
[This message edited by blakesteele at 11:17 AM, August 12th (Monday)]
I was one that also tried to take on some of the blame. For me, I realized eventually that it was if I WAS indeed to blame, then fixing this was going to be easy. I can easily fix myself. What I cannot do is fix him. And that is scary as hell when you are trying to reconcile. I see this played out in BS's often. It is almost a wish that it could be our fault. It's much less scary and unknown to control our own behavior. It can take much longer to truly understand that we cannot control the WS's behavior.
She is a narcissist---& she has caused a lot of harm to WH & his siblings, & also to our marriage.
I believe that WH felt it was OK to cheat because MIL always told him that she didn't do anything wrong. We have spent some time in our marriage counseling looking at this----don't know how much WH gets it yet.
Thanks again for your kind words. I greatly respect your constant quest to understand this, & find many of your insights so helpful.
[This message edited by mchercheur at 8:09 PM, August 13th (Tuesday)]
My dog farted, startled himself, wondered where the noise came from. I wish my life was as simple.
I think your MIL is a main cause and likely a broken switch that you can't fix. I would focus on understanding how very broken she is so she cannot emotionally hurt you or your spouse anymore..
My heart goes out to WH to have grown up with a mother like that. At the same time, I know that I can't say anything bad about WH's mother to him, because "it is his mother."
BTW, I treated this woman like my own mother for 23 years, & when WH cheated, she blamed me---because, like her, he can do nothing wrong.
The only thing I can do is to say that I don't want anything to do with her anymore. I have had to see her at a few family "life events" ( funerals, weddings, graduations) during the past couple of years, & I have acted polite & civil.
But I choose not to have a relationship with her anymore. After all, if she is never going to change, my only choice is to not to let a toxic person into my life (that decision took years of counseling for me to make).
WH can do whatever he wants to do in re: to her. And I will take care of his children/house/meals/laundry in the meantime.
but, I have had enough of her.
We spent our entire MC session on her tonight, & how she is trying to interfere with WH's brother's new relationship.
I think WH is finally starting to see her for who she really is.