There's an interesting dynamic now that my WW's mother is a beacon of hope that she made it through this and is now married to a rich man and is able to be a SAHM. I seriously think that my WW is so against reconciliation because she sees her future as a positive thing without me in it. Sad, but true. I am coming to terms with this reality I believe (at least in this moment). One day at a time.
XWW was appalled. Disgusted. Disappointed.
Didn't stop her from going out and doing it herself.
I don't get it.
I imagine part of it is X's strident denial it would affect her life, and how she wouldn't seek counseling, ever, for her FOO issues.
After reading "Not Just Friends" I can see how an affair could start. It starts with putting yourself in a position where you are vulnerable, oversharing and crossing boundaries and people saying to themselves "well I am not doing anything wrong" Soon more time is spent with the OP and it's enjoyable and more boundaries are blurred and then suddenly you are IN an affair.
We BS like to think we are above all of that but we are human too. I'd like to think I would never do that but I think my husband thought he would not do it either. He has said this.
I believe my husband's mother had an affair (or at minimum an inappropriate emotional relationship) which resulted in a traumatic scene my WH witnessed as a child and that I have a hunch played a role in why all of this went down. It certainly contributed to his parents' having a horrible relationship which served as a model for his idea of marriage (leading separate lives - how fun!).
I'd like to think my kids will never know about this but I've learned that secrets are bad and if they ever ask, I will tell them but not in a finger pointing way. I will tell them it happened and we both learned from it and I will let my husband tell them that he realized what a terrible thing he'd done and we worked hard to try to save our marriage. My kids were 4 and 7 when the A started and it lasted for 2 1/2 years so it is not like they were toddlers - they have an awareness of the tension in the air. They know we weren't sleeping in the same bedroom for awhile and they know we are talking to a MC about our problems. It's pretty hard to keep things away from kids...they are very smart and in tune with things when they want to be. They are sensitive to any whiff of insecurity in their home.
A good friend of mine cheated and my wife was so mad at him she didn't want him around. She would threaten me every now and again saying that it was the unforgivable thing to do and she'd be gone in an instant if I ever did something like that. Low and behold the bitch cheated on me for a year and made me catch her. Before she cheated she was having inappropriate conversations with men.
XWW also came from a small town, where XMiL was somewhat notorious in certain circles, and XWW had to hear about this growing up...it made her very defensive and protective of her mother.
Years later, XWW and XSiL both cheated. I found out later they talked frequently about it to each other, while engaged in their respective As, and came to wonder what it was in them that "made" them do this. Like XMiL, neither had the courage to actually look at themselves through IC, or really deal with their issues...they just sort of wrote it off as some mysterious force of "restlessness" affecting the women in the family.
My DD's are too young to be told about, and really to understand XWWs As...but I'm more inclined to talk to them about it, to be honest, when the time is right, when they're older. Because I can sure as shit guarantee that when they do start asking why we divorced (when to everyone around us, friends and family, and to me, even, we had a strong M), their mother will feed them some version of "Well, we just weren't happy together". Toxic, given the history here.
(I don't doubt that she wasn't happy - that's what she told me AFTER the fact. Before? Well, she accurately claims there were so many signs, and I agree. But how many of us saw our spouses unhappy? Many of us. And we did what good partners do: we tried to make things better, we failed, we tried again. But we never assumed they would cheat. After-the-fact "you knew I was unhappy!" is just more deflection bullshit).
I believe that children of cheaters are often able to reconcile their choice to cheat.
[This message edited by jagged at 9:44 AM, May 1st (Thursday)]
Who knows what went on?
I don't see how you can get your wife back unless the OM dumps her, and given she has no remorse after 6 weeks the marriage future doesn't look very bright. May as well start divorce proceedings and get it over with, unless of course you are waiting for the affair to end.
So what I see is not a cycle of behavior, per se, but a cycle of justification; it's a willingness to subscribe to the "these things happen" approach to relationships (and in fact, XWW's grandmother had, by most accounts, and A with XWW's grandfather while she was married to her first husband).
It's a sick family tradition that needs to end, now. I know XWW will never really own her choices and behavior, and I already know how she's subtly spinning our D for our daughters. When one day they ask her outright, well...see above. Do I believe she'll damn the behavior of at least three generations? Or more likely rationalize it somehow? This is the cycle...
[This message edited by jagged at 1:08 PM, May 1st (Thursday)]
For example my parents were quite irresponsible and also drank&smoke a lot. From my early "childhood" (if you can call it that) until my early twenties, I never drank, smoke, was always the "control freak", "the responsible" one etc... Only when I got cheated on and then started doing IC did I move towards the middle, to let go of trying to fix everything, I started drinking alcohol (had a phase), though I never smoked. And ultimately I had to work real hard to stop myself from going totally in the opposite direction, of just drinking too much for too long, to be really irresponsible etc.
And I think it's like that also with experiencing your parents cheat - it messes you up, it's just a question of how it will manifest. And it can manifest itself first in the opposite direction, as you're trying desperately to not use the behavior patterns you're used to, and then sometimes you "break" and go to it.
So perhaps, like many WS mentioned here in this thread, you're trying desperately to tell yourself&everyone that you're never going to do that, but in the end, sometimes we end up doing what had been the most familiar and "normal" to us growin up, unless we had gone through some sort of counselling to deal with it.
And as others have said, a factor is also the subconscious "reconciliation" with your parents. After all, since you "all did it", it can't be that horrible of a thing, and your childhood therefore wasn't that bad, you were just "too young to understand".
And not only reconciliation, but in a way "devictimization" - they've been victims of cheating for so long, and now that they've cheated, it makes them feel less like victims. That was part of the reason why I in a way for a while after being cheated on, I struggled with the desire to either cheat on someone, anyone, or be the other man, just to be on the other side for a change.
So as contradictory as it seems, I can understand. But still, in my experience, it would have hurt less if my wxgf had no experience being cheated on or witness cheating. At least I could console myself that she was ignorant of the pain and devastation it causes. But her doing it despite being aware of it just made it seem more callous and a bigger betrayal.
Cheating, a gift for all the family.
And after 16 years of faithful marriage (as far as I know), she ended up having an affair with a man who was similar to her dad in many ways - divorced, good dancer, likes to hang out in night clubs, modest lifestyle, etc. She ended up becoming what she hated the most, or sleeping with someone that embodied what she hated the most. It's baffling.
Just my two cents, but I think there's two factors in play: 1. Children internalize and normalize what they see growing up, even if consciously they recognize it as wrong and destructive. 2. People often seek out in APs what was missing in their lives. My wife sought the affections of a man who reminded her of a father who withdrew affection at a crucial stage in her life. Betraying our marriage was the price she was willing to pay for the time, attention and affection he offered. I honestly believe that if the OM wanted nothing more from her than dancing, dinner, and watching movies she would have spent 10 months doing just that. Sex was besides the point, but a small price to pay for the other stuff.
In your case knockeddown I think your WW simply followed the example set by her early role models. Maybe her cheating was always a question of when, not if. I'm sorry for your pain. I recommend visiting us in the Betrayed Men thread (I Can Relate forum). It's for men only, you'll get some good advice, and have some fun in the process.