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Risk (destruction) versus Reward of Infidelity

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Ripped62 posted 7/12/2018 11:50 AM

My 32 year marriage has been destroyed because of infidelity. Is the risk and corresponding destruction ever considered in the decision by the wayward spouse to first betray themselves and then their spouse?

The "extra" seems minuscule in comparison to the downside risk. I have difficulty wrapping my head around the decision making process of engaging in an affair. Do such rational thoughts transpire in the course of an affair?

Chaos posted 7/12/2018 11:53 AM

In a short answer - No. There are no rational thoughts transpiring in the course of an affair.

Just lots of self justification bull s*** from the little devil sitting on their shoulder.

The list could go on but a sampling:

*You won't get caught
*You deserve this
*If only he/she would have...
*I'm entitled
*I have [insert anything here] issues

The BS doesn't factor in at all. The A is all about the wayward.


DoubleBetrayed9 posted 7/12/2018 11:57 AM

I've asked my WH this. I listed everything he risked losing. How I could walk out and make his life a living Hell. Reminded him every holiday during the first year that he is so incredibly lucky that he still had us in his life. He honestly never thought he'd get caught. Not in a million years. What I didn't know would never hurt me, us, or blow up in his face. He said he had guilt and knew what he was risking, but he didn't actually fully understand until he faced reality of what he'd done. It's like knowing you never want to be diagnosed with cancer, but you don't truly understand how awful it really is until you're in it.

SisterMilkshake posted 7/12/2018 12:10 PM

The risk v. reward dichotomy for my FWH was that he simply thought of it in a glib way and that there was no way in hell that he was going to get caught. You see, he was smarter than the average bear. (showing my age, a Yogi Bear reference)

Is the risk and corresponding destruction ever considered in the decision by the wayward spouse to first betray themselves and then their spouse?
I personally didn't realize the corresponding destruction that infidelity would cause anyone. When I had friends who were cheated on I never realized the depths of their feelings and the destruction it caused. I mean I knew they were in pain, but I didn't realize the depth and the width of all they were dealing with.

So, likewise, I don't feel that the waywards understand the true consequences of their betrayals. I know that my FWH was shocked at the devastation, pain and despair he caused.

My FWH, and I feel most remorseful FWS's, would admit that any "extra" they got was not worth it at all. Hindsight is 20/20 isn't it, Ripped62?

EmbraceTheChange posted 7/12/2018 12:39 PM

My x-h NEVER thought that my trust in him would change, or that I would not want to be with him. He was taking me for granted, like the washing machine. I would always be there. Always.

He never thought of the destruction he caused, ie me not trusting him or me deciding that being alone would be a better deal, a gift to myself.

He wanted his family + fun. Family was always going to be there, so no need to put any effort.
OW was a new shiny toy, so it was worth putting the effort.

At one point he had family + OW

Now he has nothing. And it's all his making.

[This message edited by EmbraceTheChange at 12:45 PM, July 12th (Thursday)]

CincyKid posted 7/12/2018 12:47 PM

This is why I personally believe that the marriage is over once infidelity has occurred. The cheating spouse has obviously weighed these risks, and they're lying if they say they didn't, and decided that pursuing something with someone else was more important to them than their marriage/family. Others may buy their excuses about these things, I wouldn't. Even if my ex had been remorseful and wanted to stay together I know myself and I wouldn't have been able to. The minute she crossed the line was the minute the marriage was really over, not when the court said it was over.

Darkness Falls posted 7/12/2018 13:24 PM

Is the risk and corresponding destruction ever considered in the decision by the wayward spouse to first betray themselves and then their spouse?

Yes

crazyblindsided posted 7/12/2018 14:00 PM

This is why I personally believe that the marriage is over once infidelity has occurred

My belief as well. My M will never recover and neither will I.

Hippo16 posted 7/12/2018 14:21 PM

This:


This is why I personally believe that the marriage is over once infidelity has occurred. The cheating spouse has obviously weighed these risks, and they're lying if they say they didn't, and decided that pursuing something with someone else was more important to them than their marriage/family. Others may buy their excuses about these things, I wouldn't. Even if my ex had been remorseful and wanted to stay together I know myself and I wouldn't have been able to. The minute she crossed the line was the minute the marriage was really over, not when the court said it was over.


Good choice of words to state the obvious.

The decision to cheat is to forsake the wedding vows and that is an end of the marriage. The court just severs the business relationship.

leafields posted 7/12/2018 14:38 PM

Our 32-year anniversary will be in November. My WH said that he didn't think he'd get caught & he didn't think about the devastation. When I ask him questions, he said that he didn't think about it. And for the most part, I believe it because he isn't a big thinker.

We're only 3 months past D-Day, and his IC hasn't started peeling back the layers for the behavior yet. (He's been sober from porn for almost 2 months, which is a big step.)

He has admitted that much of it was for ego strokes. I'm also guessing that the A played into his porn fantasies.

What I've started to accept is that WH's thought processes were so warped, that a normal or rational person could not follow. (A normal, rational person would weigh the options and make a decision. The WS is thinking, "Yay! Sex!")

After establishing contact & beginning a relationship, it took a week of sexting for WH to toss our 31 year marriage in the toilet.

doigoordoistay posted 7/12/2018 14:51 PM

I know there is no rational thought process going on. There is no risk assessment. How can there be when, as others have mentioned, even a BS can't really understand the destruction until it happens to them?
As far as my situation with my WH he didn't just ruin me, our marriage or the relationship he had with his children, he also ruined his own self. The guilt and rage that he now carries around is too heavy of a burden. He's now trying to escape the monster within without realizing that monster will travel right along with him, rearing it's ugly head. There are a lot of warnings posted for WS about the damage having and A inflicts on their BS and family, but they should also be warned about the damage they inflict on themselves. Not that it would matter much. In my life experience you can warn people about negative consequences, but most don't heed the warnings until it's too late.

[This message edited by doigoordoistay at 2:53 PM, July 12th (Thursday)]

doin just fine posted 7/12/2018 16:14 PM

I donít believe it is as rational a choice as some, previously me included, think it to be. Itís not as if a weighted matrix was constructed placing value on the rewards vs consequences.

I am an alcoholic. Along my journey to sobriety it has struck me how similar (there are profound differences, nevertheless) infidelity and alcoholism can be. With that background Iíll explain my thinking about why I would choose to drink.

I drank every day. In amounts that are shocking to what we call ďnormies.Ē Every day I would wake up either still drunk from the night before, entering withdrawal, or both. Every day Iíd begin by telling myself I was not going to drink. Iíd go to work, suffer through the day, all the while repeating to myself that today would be different, Iím not going to drink. Pressure builds throughout the day, leave work, next thing I know Iím drunk. Repeat. How the hell can that be?

Youíd rightly point out that there were many points in which I could of exercised choice. I chose to pull of into the liquor store. Turn off the car. Get out of the car. Walk in the store. Select a bottle. Open the bottle. Drink. Drink again. And again. Yet I didnít. And I can tell you alcoholic isolation is abject darkness. It boggles the mind. I just have a hard time imagining anyone who has not experienced this being able to understand it.

So why? I could speak to you of biochemistry, ptsd, panic disorder, agoraphobia, or any number of other reasons that represent a peeling away and digging deep to the root of the whys. And it would all be bullshit.

At the end of the day I drank because Iím an alcoholic. Itís as simple as that. Thatís what I do.

As it is with cheating. A cheater cheats because they are a cheater. Thatís what they do.

[This message edited by doin just fine at 5:00 PM, July 12th (Thursday)]

DIFM posted 7/12/2018 17:10 PM

I believe there is no risk vs reward concept with most WS's because they do not think they will be caught. As crazy as it is, they have downplayed the risk to such a degree that they waste little time considering what they stand to lose. You don't lose anything if you have convinced yourself you are the master stealth, secret keeper.

Few are prepared for the implosion once caught because the concept has never been considered seriously.......until it happens.

Hardroadout posted 7/12/2018 17:39 PM

^^^^ yep.

I think most downplay the risk of getting caught, downplay the destruction, and play up the reward.

My WS was shocked he got caught a decade after he stopped.

OneInTheSame posted 7/12/2018 18:09 PM

One of my wife's very first statements on d-day was that she knew the fact that she had chosen to start seeing her ex-girlfriend again after over 15 years would be devastating to me. Not one to have ever developed the habit or skill of doing cost-benefit analysis before making decisions, her weighing of any benefits against destruction ended with "but I knew that you would never find out."

Ripped62 posted 7/13/2018 02:34 AM

Thank you for your insight and comments. Your responses have clarified greatly what I am struggling with on my path through infidelity. Somethings are very difficult for me to understand and come to grips with.

GoldenR posted 7/13/2018 02:44 AM

Of course if they want to R, they're going to tell their BS that they didn't think about it. But the fact is that they wanted to cheat more than they wanted to not hurt their spouse. It's just that simple.

OwningItNow posted 7/13/2018 04:59 AM

I have on more than one occasion said something to a friend that I suspected was cheating. On each occasion I said, "I'm not sure what's going on, but what are you thinking? Are you prepared to lose your wife? Your kids?"

They always tell me no and get upset. There is serious compartmentalization, minimization, and selfishness taking place; I could see it on their faces. I would venture to guess from their strong, unhappy reactions that they were not only not thinking of the risk or loss, they were intentionally not thinking of the risk or loss. It was like I spit on their birthday cake.

I do not have the gift of compartmentalization, but it sure is an interesting thing to witness in others. The mind's ability to avoid looking at consequences is powerful, but I cannot figure out if it is a mentally healthy or unhealthy skill. I have only witnessed it in people who were really messed up, real live-in-the-moment types, but I suppose it helps if you need to leave a job behind when you go home. Idk.

pureheartkit posted 7/13/2018 05:50 AM

In my situation, the constant contact escalated until he devalued me enough in his mind not to care. When flags were brought up, he became aggressive. I think he was overconfident the whole time. One of our last discussions I asked why he stopped checking in and our conversation went to a few minutes while calls to OW were frequent. You aren't interesting to talk to was the answer I got.

When someone fixes on someone else, they see you completely different. How are they going to make a clear judgement? In my case, I was just in the way of his enjoyment so why would he worry about something that's holding him in the place he doesn't want to be?

NoMercy posted 7/13/2018 06:04 AM

Of course if they want to R, they're going to tell their BS that they didn't think about it. But the fact is that they wanted to cheat more than they wanted to not hurt their spouse. It's just that simple.

Quoted for truth.

I highly doubt any cheater 'never thought about the consequences.' Hell, as humans we think about consequences every single day, it's a part of life.

Should I risk running this red light - will the possible traffic ticket be worth it? Is eating this huge slab of cake worth the calories I'll have to run off on my treadmill tomorrow morning? Is putting this new $2,000 big-screen TV on my credit card worth going into hock for the next 12 months?

We face this kind of thing just about every single day in one form or another, so it's kind of hard to believe that a cheater 'didn't think about the risks at all' before choosing to go down that path. It's much more likely they did - it's just that they decided the reward was definitely worth the risk.

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