"My H has said that the OW in question was not someone he had been attracted to previously. She was "easy", and fed his ego."
So true - my H had not had feelings for her that were at all out of the ordinary (for 5 years of friendship) until he started getting signals at a vulnerable time that she thought he was Mr. Groovy. (She is no head-turner, either.)
It is the ego feeding, totally.
[This message edited by bionicgal at 2:50 PM, January 23rd (Thursday)]
I edit, therefore I am.
For years I had all the opportunity in the world. I was a Realtor, I'd often be gone all day, and there was no such thing as GPS tracking. For that matter, I had means, too. Often the houses I listed were vacant, so I would've even had a perfect, private location. (Sorry if that creeps out anyone who's currently selling their house.)
Opportunity is a necessary element, clearly, but I disagree with the assertion that it's the greatest predictor. Of the three, I'd say motive (or, as we say around here, "why" is the winner. Unfortunately our motives are usually delusional and almost always kept secret from our BS. If we had the guts to share our "motives" with our BS, we wouldn't choose infidelity as an answer to our problems.
Also, the "trusting," low maintenance spouse creates part of the opportunity. We're not supposed to blame ourselves, but the fact that we had a very long leash on our spouses and were not the jealous type was part of the opportunity. They took advantage of that. Why weren't we supposed to believe they were on a business trip over a weekend in Paris (yes…I fell for that!)?
How true! My husband is the only person I've ever trusted in my entire life and it took years to allow myself to trust him. He works all nights and sleeps days and I went to bed every night and slept well...without a doubt in my mind that he wasn't really where he said he was. I never checked up on him. Not one time! Never checked his phone or email. I feel like an idiot for trusting someone so much now. I made it so easy for him!! He even said I trusted him too much.
boundaries shmoundaries. What ppl who don't have affairs do is have values, morals, etc.
My affair caused me to actually identify them, your wife's caused you to stare your porn addiction in the face.
Boundaries to me mean gutting out a good choice. Really internalizing who you want to be as a person?. That is values and integrity. It's easy, not a personal "don't go there" stop sign - boundary . JMO
No offense, but I think this is a dangerous way of thinking.
In my opinion, you can't rely on your morals. That's the same as falling into the trap of, it can't happen to me."
Personally, I think we are all at risk, given the right, or should I say wrong, circumstances. To me the key is appreciating that risk and putting up boundaries so that you will not be put to the test.
As Blake indicated, don't let yourself get to the point of having to make a decision in a tempting situation.
Use your morals to become determined that you will reduce the risk.
Using a sports analogy, win the game before it is ever played.
He was bound to cheat. Really, I'm surprised he didn't more, knowing what I know now. So why wait as long as he did? The M was as stable as ever. Why then?
Well, a few things, IMO. Extreme stress at work. Mid-life. And opportunity.
Well, a few things, IMO. Extreme stress at work. Mid-life. And opportunity.
Catlover50.....both my wife and I trace a life shift in our M to 3 years ago. A very dear loved one past on. It is at that point that my anxiety started to rise. Then our youngest daughter was going to go to school....SAHM without any children....created anxiety in my wife. And then the mid-life thing.
So I totally get what you are saying.....and at least one counselor agrees that the events I listed are "profound" in nature.
As I become more aware of how my wife operated within our M, within life at large.....I find it almost inevitable that two things occurred .
1. Our intimate bonding lagged.
2. She chose adultery.
Womaninflux.....I agree with you as well . My general disposition was a contributing factor.....not to her choosing adultery, but it did enable her the ability NOT to grow past the way she coped with life.
To be sure, if a person chooses or subconsciously operates in a way that limits intimacy and love being received ...there is not a damn thing you can do about changing them.
However , if my OWN coping mechs were not limiting ME....I could have requested? a more healthy relationship then we were in. (If I did not have some codependency, abandonment fears in me....or if I were just aware if them at least).
And this is the crux of my "learning to R" lies.....We BOTH have to want to change . Then find the courage TO change. Then realize our nurturing and growing of our M is NOT a 2-5 year process....it is a lifetime commitment .
Womaninflux.....as I examine myself I don't believe I was "the great guy who did everything out of loving trust". I think a real part of me was afraid to ask anything of my wife for fear she would just leave me . I see how this "hidden fear" has subconsciously influenced me for 30 years. I am grateful it did not leads to drugs or adultery, but am resentful over what it DID cost me for 30 years. Namely the opportunity to develop true, deep, mature intimacy.
I am more grateful for the opportunity to change....even though this change is painful, I am hopeful for the future and have faith I WILL experience healthy intimacy and be in a mature relationship and that all of my relationships will benefit from my commitment to processing past my own limitations.
God be with us all.
[This message edited by blakesteele at 6:26 AM, January 24th (Friday)]
I am agnostic. Raised agnostic, parents are very conservative (but with socially moderate tendencies) but agnostic. I'll never forget getting to a big public high school which was fed by lots of elementary schools - public and private. I became friendly with a group of girls that had been in Catholic school together since a very young age. I must have been the first person they ever encountered that was a non-believer or questioned the existence of a God. They said I had no morals. LOL. Is that why all of them had sex way before I ever did? Is that why they lied to their parents about things? Is that why they deceived friends? Is that why there were always drugs available through the catholic boys high school in our town? Oh, ok. I have long said I learned all of my bad habits from my Catholic friends. And by the way, it was my husband, who was raised Catholic, who had an affair.
Steadfast - I agree with what you are saying about boundaries vs. opportunity but I do think there is a recipe for infidelity. I have a longtime friend who was in same situation as me - sexually and emotionally ignored by her husband, he probably has a porn issue, he had some FOO issues that were NEVER talked about. The difference is they don't have kids and she works full time. She definitely had opportunity and the thing about boundaries is that they tend to shift when you are drinking and away from home and starting to cross lines. So something you believe about yourself when sitting here sober and typing on a keyboard and hurt that your spouse went astray may very well be something different you feel when you have an opportunity, someone expresses interest, you've both had a little too much to drink and someone dares to cross a line and the other follows suit and convinces themselves in their mind that what they are doing "isn't so bad…no one will find out." Shirley Glass wrote about this in "NOT 'Just Friends'" and I have to believe that she knows what she is describing. She researched infidelity for years. I guess what I now believe is that ANYONE is capable of crossing the line because the boundaries of what is appropriate tend to change when there is a perfect storm.
All this is just to say that it wasn't me. Wasn't the M. And there wasn't a damn thing I could have done to change him. That had to come from him, and he had to be really ready.
Womaninflux--I agree with your premise. Those of us who have been betrayed tend to be very judgmental of the betrayers, for very good reason!! But slippery slope notwithstanding, human beings are very complex, we have very different upbringings and life experiences. People will say--I was abused and I didn't cheat, or, I had a crappy childhood...or of course, I was in the same M and I didn't cheat. However, even siblings can have different experiences growing up in the same house, much less one person's FOO or CSA. I'm not making excuses at all for someone's deliberate choices, just saying that we can never be sure how we would react, with a different upbringing, different brain chemistry in a different situation. It is not as easy as saying that some of us are basically bad and immoral and others are good and moral.
My father prides himself on his loyalty and, I believe, would never cheat on my mother. However he verbally, and during a stressful time when I was a child physically, abuses her. Is he a better man than my H? He would sure say so.
And to further thread jack, I suspect sometimes WS intentionally use alcohol to "allow" themselves to cross that line, especially in the beginning.
Eta--yep steadfast, I agree, boundaries are the difference and something that can be learned if desired.
[This message edited by catlover50 at 10:11 AM, January 24th (Friday)]
And there wasn't a damn thing I could have done to change him. That had to come from him, and he had to be really ready.
You know, seeing the changes in my husband since dday, I can't help but think that this is true for us as well. It took really blowing it, for my H to evaluate his personal/emotional life, his priorities, what he really wanted, and how much he was willing to change to have a better marriage. Because our marriage was on balance good, there was just no real impetus for either of us to do anything differently. (Except the whole "real intimacy" thing, which both of us were kind of clueless about.)
The crisis (he generated) became the opportunity. I hate it, he hates it, and I wish it had happened differently, but we are doing the best with what we have at this point.
[This message edited by bionicgal at 10:19 AM, January 24th (Friday)]
- Sorry to t/j here, but I did ask, out loud, clearly and repeatedly for the intimacy and connection that I felt was missing from my H. All it did was cause him to withdraw further (he saw it as criticism and control). I tried piling on the praise, giving him space, exotic vacations, lingerie.... I designed our dream home, kept it up, raised our kids, volunteered in their school as well as in the community, cooked gourmet meals, stayed fit and well- groomed, all while working full time as a professional.
I gave WH my love and adoration, but even ego stroking from me didn't prevent him from thinking that the same words from a stranger meant more. Lack of boundaries- absolutely. Add in opportunity. Wham! He was all in. I had just had a difficult delivery of our first child four weeks before. He's also mentioned possibly feeling jealous of attention I received during that time.
So maybe the poor boundaries put him into a situation that allowed opportunities to happen. Flirting followed by meeting at a hotel bar brought extremely poor boundaries together with opportunity. Poor boundaries got even worse and things progressed to unprotected sex. Compartmentalization tied it all up neatly into a dirty little package.
I think that the opportunity to explore loose and inappropriate boundaries is what you are talking about.
Thought provoking thread-thanks Blakesteele!
I enjoy the fluid nature.
Plus, many of my posts need help to mature!