My H had an almost 4 year LTA and behaved as lovingly as usual throughout. We raised teenagers, built careers, traveled, shared great passion. Meanwhile he had a dirty little secret that had everything to do with his unexamined issues and nothing to do with me or the M. He never pretended to himself or the OW that he was in love.
When he says that he loved me and never wanted to leave I believe him. The caveat is that he didn't really know how to love at the time. Didn't know about attachment, true intimacy, unselfishness. Almost no self awareness.
He is learning, however. Now I do believe him when he says that he can't imagine doing this again. It's not just the shame, the pain he has caused. I think that he TRULY loves me now.
And a neglectful mother - did she go out with other kids and treat them wonderfully? Did she lie about it? did she sneak around with these other kids for years, lying to you and being very cruel and hurtful?
An A isn't a case of not knowing how to love - it's a case of very willful deceit. It's a series of actions that could ONLY be perpetrated against someone that the perpetrator thinks NOTHING of.
I completely disagree that there is any real 'love' from anyone in an A. It is to willful and too cruel, and they know what they are doing every step of the way.
Do you think after a lie they thought about it and felt bad? No, because only a few times of that and they would stop. No, they walked away grinning that they 'got away with it'. They wanted to trick us. They wanted to make us trust them. The gaslighting was all on purpose.
I will never buy that there was love during my husband's A. I used to, but for me, it was only me trying to make myself feel better.
Just ask yourself this - could you behave that way to someone you love? Let's not pretend that our WSs are these sad, incapable of holding relationships empty souls. They had run of the mill cheap affairs.
They did not love us. They did indeed leave us.
These are my premises.
But nonetheless I think it's complicated and not at all straightforward like "he did or he didn't." It's hurtful to think about, but at the same time, the fact that he DID oscillate has a lot to do with why we are working on reconciling. On one hand, he used having a wife and kids as a screen for his terrible behavior, because he seemed like such a charming family man. On the other hand, he really didn't want to leave me ENTIRELY, and was committed to me at some level that made him ultimately try to get out of the affair (before I found out) and be willing to do NC the moment I found out. In the process of learning to forgive him, I am growing to understand some of that.
Possibly the most important lesson for me out of all this is that I can hold complex and sometimes divergent feelings and ideas at once. I'm still a novice at doing that, but it is rewarding when I am able to, and it's something I've found really valuable to other parts of my life as well.
See, I think it's all part of the crazy A thinking and justifying that's done to make what's going on OK. He says he shut down and detached from me - even thought I didn't love him anymore. It's so stupid.
This is one of the most painful things to have to grieve, isn't it?
I think many BS suffer because they feel like the choice was between them and the AP, and that the affair was done to them. I certainly struggle with this daily. It may feel that way, but I don't think many waywards feel/think that way at all. The waywards are choosing to "use" or "not use" - their mindset is distorted. That is why when the choice becomes real (on dday when the light of day shines on the A) many, many waywards end up staying with their marriages.
An affair is an addictive fantasy - not a "real" relationship. It is my feeling that it is not a choice between two people, and really not a legitimate relationship in any sense of the word. I can think of no other situation where humans are able to deceive themselves more fully, except perhaps with other addictions.
[This message edited by bionicgal at 4:25 PM, January 21st (Tuesday)]
I edit, therefore I am.
I completely disagree that there is any real 'love' from anyone in an A.
I think that is a bold statement given the many different types of affairs. This topic of a WS still loving the BS during the affair is a common topic in the LTA forum. I can tell that it is probably more common that the WS actually does still love the the BS during the A than not for LTA type affairs.
It's a series of actions that could ONLY be perpetrated against someone that the perpetrator thinks NOTHING of.
It is to willful and too cruel, and they know what they are doing every step of the way.
This is probably very rare. Sure, some WS probably are so broken they may fit that statements you make but likely not many. You assume that the series of actions that eventually led to the A were actions in which the WS knew would result in the A. Many WS never recognized where their poor boundaries were taking them. Yes, at somepoint they are faced with the simple decision to do it or not but the series of actions that got them there are far more complex than you are presenting.
Just ask yourself this - could you behave that way to someone you love?
Well as a BS who has had a year to process it all and understand it, of course I could not. Prior to DDay I was an idiot on the topic of affairs, I had no idea how they happened. I believed many untrue statements about affairs. When the series of actions that lead to affairs where presented to me at times I made better decisions than my WW obviously. But it wasn't due to the knowledge that I have now that helped me make those decisions. I attribute it to a clear black and white, right and wrong type of brain processing and simple luck.
How many BS after having fully processed their WS's A have made life changes to help them avoid the series of events that lead to an A? I bet many have. Maybe it is a different attitude toward porn, maybe they talk to a co-worker different now than before, I am sure many have made changes. Do we love our spouse now more because we made a slight or major change? or is it we are more aware? I think we are more aware.
I see it in his eyes, hear it in his voice and feel it when he touches me. May have doubted his love slightly on occasion but see what he has done as the actions of a very sick person. Very, very sick. My WH didn't have a typical affair, rather his behavior could have put himself and our entire family in danger. We could have lost everything because of his sickness.
Unfortunately, his therapist doesn't believe in SA...and we're stuck spinning our wheels in R right now.
I've hurt people I love very much when I was in great pain and suffering PTSD, diagnosed or treated. I DID love those people and am lucky they forgave me. I guess this is why I am working on R. I know how it feels to hurt others. PTSD is not an excuse, not at all, but it explained a lot about my behavior, and his.