User Topic: Do we ever really find out / understand 'why' affair happened?
Member # 36310
Default  Posted: 3:18 PM, March 18th (Monday)

We have talked and talked about 'why' my WH had an affair.... the answer can vary a little at times depending on whether he is being open or feels threatened by my questions (due to feeling guilty).
The reason he has given most often is 'I was questioning my feelings for you at the time...' I find it hard to accept this as a feasable reason as we were getting along very well, no problems that I was aware of, but he was having problems at work which was exacerbated by us hardly seeing each other due to our work schedules and he admits to lonliness at that time.
My questions WS ever really understand 'why' they had an affair...why couldn't they talk to their spouses if they felt unhappy within the marriage?
I would welcome input from WS

Posts: 127 | Registered: Jul 2012 | From: UK
Member # 30119
Default  Posted: 3:42 PM, March 18th (Monday)

I never got the explicit "this is why I did it" explanation but we went to counseling to work on communication which opened our eyes to a whole new world of our relationship. We began to understand each other's previous coping mechanisms and how we felt about ourselves and what we saw in each other. These things helped me understand what lead to Dday and it was enough to let me move forward with my life and our relationship.

Communication I think is almost if not definitely always a factor that leads to an A. How many times have you told someone something and they didn't seem to understand you? You felt frustrated didn't you? It continues to build into a wall between you and the person.

The other thing is that it's not often unhappiness in the marriage I think as it is unhappiness with themselves. There is a reason inside each WS that allowed them to go forth with what they did.

I had an EA without realizing that's what was happening (slippery slope) and when I felt a line was crossed, I stopped it and confessed that an EA happened to fwbf. I was too broken to understand why I did it or how it happened. I didn't think anything was wrong with me at the time, either. Then fwbf began his EA-turned-PA, followed by a ONS and several months later, dday happened. THAT is what it took for us to address our individual and relationship issues.

BGF (me)- 25
FWBF (him)- 24
Was in a LTR but it's complicated now

forgiven and in R :)

"To err is human.
To forgive,

Posts: 961 | Registered: Nov 2010 | From: Houston, TX
Member # 16126
Default  Posted: 3:49 PM, March 18th (Monday)

To me there is no real answer to that question. I feel that any answer we get from our WS is more of an excuse then why they did it.

I believe they need to figure out what caused them to cross that line. We all know how wrong it is. We are all responsible for our choices.

[This message edited by leccden at 3:51 PM, March 18th (Monday)]

BS me-47
WS her-47(Authenticnow)

Posts: 420 | Registered: Sep 2007 | From: New york
Member # 34173
Default  Posted: 3:54 PM, March 18th (Monday)

FWIW, I believe this:
'I was questioning my feelings for you at the time...'
is not a why.

It's much deeper than that.

I'm not sure the BS will ever really be satisfied with the why the WS reaches - because there is always this very logical question outstanding:

why couldn't they talk to their spouses if they felt unhappy within the marriage?

The trouble is twofold here. Frst you're asking that question assuming the person has healthy strategies in place, because healthy people WOULD act that way. As we all know the WS is far from healthy, so this doesn't work.
Equally, you are assuming here that a spouse must be unhappy in their A to have an A. And they don't. I wasn't. We went meeting each other needs, but I was perfectly "happy". Or so I thought. But not healthy or aware.

I know how I had an A. I pretty sure I understand the bulk of why I did it too. I think my BH does too. I shall probably keep discovering stuff too.
So yes I think a WS can understand why - but you really have to rip yourself apart to get there.

The why you have is, IMO not a why, it's an excuse.

Me: FWW (35) Growing up at last.
LonelyHusband: BH (41)
Dday 1: 29/Oct/11; Dday 2:15/Nov/11; last TT 15/Mar/12
In R...working my arse off.
When you're struggling with commitment to your marriage, just imagine what it's like to be a penguin.

Posts: 558 | Registered: Dec 2011 | From: UK
looking forward
Member # 25238
Default  Posted: 4:41 PM, March 18th (Monday)

Unfortunately for my H, he'll only know my side; OM is long dead, so no closure for H.

Memory and hope; one looks backward, and the other forward; one is of today, the other of tomorrow.
"Find a place inside where there's joy, and the joy will burn out the pain." (Joseph Campbell)

Posts: 2854 | Registered: Aug 2009 | From: Where a river runs through it
Member # 38464
Default  Posted: 5:52 PM, March 18th (Monday)

Uh ya. Gratification. To be told how wonderfully awesome and great he was! Sex was a lusty bonus. An infantile sense of narrisim, coupled with and adult sex drive. Because well, I told him the truth, told him when I was dissapointed in him. Held him accountable when he made mistakes. You know, thinks you do for each other when you are in a normal adult relationship. Don't get me wrong, i am also a loving and kind, encouraging person. But my douchebag of a exfiance wanted the fantasy of seeing himself as perfect, and thats what she gave him. He could do no wrong. Lies they told to each other, ego stroking with some .... stocking to go with it. Well now he has started to open his eyes, eww what a nasty person he has to look at in the mirror. He is working on owning his shit..and man does it stink. Blows my mind that so many people can delude themselves, I never realized until I had to join this club

Posts: 121 | Registered: Feb 2013 | From: oregon
Member # 36072
Default  Posted: 7:48 PM, March 18th (Monday)

I think that there is a lot of emphasis on this site about the WS "digging deep" and figuring out the answer to why they felt they did what they did, and rightly so. It seems a lot of fWS on this site have really uncovered their deep-rooted issues and that has made them better people.

But I think that often the answer to why is pretty simple. I think a lot of it boils down to the WS wanted to do it. They wanted the thrill that comes with having an A. They are selfish, they are bored, and having an A is an easy fix. Talking about your unhappiness is boring and hard and they don't want boring and hard. They want to be lazy and go for the quick fix.

Me: BS
D-Day: 7/7/12

Trust is like paper. Once it's crumpled it can never be perfect again.

Posts: 1169 | Registered: Jul 2012
Member # 37044
Default  Posted: 8:01 PM, March 18th (Monday)

Well said, Dameia. I see cheating as any other vice. It could have been drugs, gambling, alcohol, shopping, anything. They just want to feel good, now! And to hell with anything that really matters.

How did they get there? They were vulnerable, had bad boundaries, no coping skills, and were self-deluded; the lies they told themselves about their spouse and marriage, then the lies they told themselves about their lives, their needs and their wants, then came the lies about the AP and the fantasy outcome...

Me: BW, Him: fWH
Together 12 years
My EA (?) 2005-2011
His STA/PA: D-day: 19/09/12
TT: 08/12/12

We are in R.

Posts: 698 | Registered: Oct 2012
Member # 35862
Default  Posted: 5:34 AM, March 19th (Tuesday)

But I think that often the answer to why is pretty simple. I think a lot of it boils down to the WS wanted to do it. They wanted the thrill that comes with having an A. They are selfish, they are bored, and having an A is an easy fix. Talking about your unhappiness is boring and hard and they don't want boring and hard. They want to be lazy and go for the quick fix.

You hit the mark! They wanted to. They were only thinking of themselves. There is no other answer.

Me: BS 43
H : WS 46
DD #1 7-11-08
DD#2 8-21-09 same OW, A never ended.
Started R in 12-09
"If what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, I should be able to bench press a Buick."

Posts: 677 | Registered: Jun 2012
Member # 37664
Default  Posted: 7:57 AM, March 19th (Tuesday)

The real question should be not why they did it but what are they doing not to have happen again .

married 28 yrs
Kid's -2
A- several
DD- 12-10-12
Starting recovery

"I don't understand the world today I don't understand what she needs I gave her everything she threw it all away" tom petty

Posts: 216 | Registered: Dec 2012 | From: Los Angeles
Member # 38310
Default  Posted: 11:03 AM, March 19th (Tuesday)

My counselor had me read the book "Not just friends". For me it showed a lot of why it happened. There are a few scenario's. Sometimes or maybe mostly it's because of how they feel about themselves. They need an ego boost and they think they will find it with someone else. And they always affair down. So their AP makes them feel they are wonderful until reality hits.

D Day May 27, 2012

Posts: 186 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: USA
Member # 30826
Default  Posted: 11:17 AM, March 19th (Tuesday)'s important that they figure out the "why" so they can prevent it from happening again. How can they ever say they won't do it again,if they don't know why they did it in the first place?

WH has given me a few reasons...he thought I was cheating(I wasn't..had he asked or looked for any evidence at all,he would have know I wasn't)...I have also been told "I was stupid,a fool,fucked up"etc..etc.

Oh..and the latest reason? "I felt I had been faithful for several years so I deserved a reward."

His reward for being faithful? Fucking other people.

FWH 45
4 kids
M: June 2001
D-Day: 8/10/10
Status: Reconciling?

..that feeling you get in your stomach, when you heart's broken. It's like all the butterflies just died.

Posts: 7682 | Registered: Jan 2011 | From: Indiana
Member # 38162
Default  Posted: 11:58 AM, March 19th (Tuesday)


I am the BW, but I can tell you what WH says.

he was having problems at work which was exacerbated by us hardly seeing each other due to our work schedules and he admits to lonliness at that time.

The starting point for WH was stress at work. His work was under attack and he had to defend himself. He was deeply afraid of being a failure in his career.

WH should have been able to look at the situation objectively, remember the numerous successes he has had at work, and the many options available to him career wise. He should have admitted that his feelings were out of control, and reached out to me for help.

But, instead, WH dealt with the problem the way his FOO taught him. They told him he was a failure and bad person, so he believed that trouble at work confirmed it. They would not validate bad feelings--he was expected to deny them and stuff them down. If he told anyone he was struggling--that made him vulnerable and they would attack.

So, he isolated himself in anxiety and low self-worth. To complete the perfect storm, OW was his partner and they were expected to defend the work together. Because WH was weak, and not open to me (or anyone else) OW could exert her twisted influence on him. Once he started the PA, he was under tons more stress, had to wall off more feelings, and lost all ability to think clearly and make good decisions.

I don't know if any of that is similar to your situation. WH is working hard now to value himself, let himself feel vulnerable emotions like sadness, fear and worry, and communicate with me regularly and honestly.

Married 14 years, three amazing kids
H had 17 month EA/PA
D-day 1/5/13

Posts: 787 | Registered: Jan 2013
Member # 35085
Default  Posted: 12:01 PM, March 19th (Tuesday)

You know, I hate to be the dissenting voice, but I don't quite agree with this.

But I think that often the answer to why is pretty simple. I think a lot of it boils down to the WS wanted to do it. They wanted the thrill that comes with having an A. They are selfish, they are bored, and having an A is an easy fix. Talking about your unhappiness is boring and hard and they don't want boring and hard. They want to be lazy and go for the quick fix.

I get that this is the case for many, but not all. I think this generalizes too much. I think for some, it's not a quick fix and an easy thrill. It's more to do with being swept up in the convergence of circumstances and the wayward not realizing until too late where it has led.

Whatever the "why" may be, A claims too much collateral damage anyway you look at it.

Married 21

This was not how it was supposed to end.

Posts: 338 | Registered: Mar 2012 | From: USA
Member # 31240
Default  Posted: 12:06 PM, March 19th (Tuesday)

I think maybe a WS can understand her whys, but I doubt that a BS can reach a satisfactory understanding of his WS's whys.

I'm not that big on finding the 'why', because I think analysis can prevent change, because analysis gets easier and easier, and change is hard.

As my WS has gone after her 'whys', she hasn't come up with anything that satisfies me. Nothing she's said has seemed like enough to cause me to cheat, so I can't see how those 'whys' allowed her to cheat.

W's therapist (also our MC) doesn't go for 'why'. Instead, she's stressing self-soothing. From what I've learned about my W's A, I am certain she would not have cheated if she had soothed herself.

I want my W to devote her energy to being a good partner, which is a hell of a lot easier than not being a bad partner.

Think Polonius - 'This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.'

fBH (me) - 70 (22 in my head), fWW (plainsong) - 65+, Married 45+, together since 1965
DDay - 12/2010
Recovered, not yet fully R'ed
I share my own experience because it's the only experience I know, not because I'm a good model.

Posts: 10357 | Registered: Feb 2011 | From: Chicago area
Member # 29184
Default  Posted: 12:18 PM, March 19th (Tuesday)

Sometimes he says because he was an idiot! Other times, I get a ton of stupid excuses: we weren't getting along.....I felt like a paycheck..... I thought you didn't love me........ But, most of the time he says he was an idiot. I won't accept the other excuses. They are just that, excuses to justify a horrible choice he made.

Me:BS married 29 yrs.
5 kids

Time really does heal.
EA D-Day May 2008
PA D-Day May 7,2010 (same A)

Posts: 885 | Registered: Jul 2010
Member # 26854
Default  Posted: 1:28 PM, March 19th (Tuesday)

He cheated because our marriage was in a bad place and along comes Poliana to rescue him out of his dull, horrible marriage. That is what he thought at the time.

DDay - 11/4/09
BS-49 DDay
fWS-46 DDay
EA/PA with childhood sweetheart/ kissed
R - 11/25/09
Life is not a dress rehearsal

Posts: 1461 | Registered: Dec 2009 | From: Northeast
Member # 35512
Default  Posted: 7:38 PM, March 19th (Tuesday)

I am in the camp of "because they wanted too".

I think maybe a WS can understand her whys, but I doubt that a BS can reach a satisfactory understanding of his WS's whys.

Agree 100% with this. I've had a lot of the same talk on my W's whys, and it just never really sinks in. I kinda gave up on trying to figure it out, and just go with because she wanted to. No, she didn't wake up and decide one day to have an A, but when the opportunity presented itself, she jumped right in.

Me: BH, 43
Her: FWW, 41 (ThornyRose)
M: 16 years, together 19
2 Daughters: 14 and 12
D Day: 9/25/2011; Lies & TT to 5/4/2012
~Double betrayal; caught them in the act~

Posts: 729 | Registered: May 2012 | From: WI
Member # 30877
Default  Posted: 9:08 PM, March 19th (Tuesday)

I also go along with the thought that he wanted to.

D-Day 10/28/10..almost admission 7/10 Reconciled. I was the betrayed

Posts: 1203 | Registered: Jan 2011 | From: arizona
Member # 33956
Default  Posted: 11:55 PM, March 19th (Tuesday)

he says all of the same reasons all waywards pretty much that has come up in mc is that i was pregnant and not paying him any attention. what an asshole, you know?

BS (41):(Former Doormat)
WS (39):(Busted Cheater)
Married: 10 years, 3 kids under 5
DD1: 10/11 PA/EA with pilates instructor/former stripper.
DD2: 10/12 False r, cheating with other women, online dating,Substance abuse issues.
R:Last chance

Posts: 979 | Registered: Nov 2011 | From: Alabama
Member # 35526
Default  Posted: 12:09 AM, March 20th (Wednesday)


Selfish people have affairs when they are in great marriages as well as in marriages that have some problems. If the problems were REALLY so very bad then the WS would just tell their spouse, file for divorce, be over it, and have as much sex with as many people as he she wants.

But they don't. They lie, betray, and live their secret life. Why?

Pure. Fucking. Selfishness.

I Divorced Her.

Posts: 363 | Registered: May 2012
Member # 37044
Default  Posted: 7:07 AM, March 20th (Wednesday)

Every single person on this planet has a hole of need and desire inside of them. Everyone feels that overwhelming emptiness at some point in their lives.

Some of us fill that hole with good things like family, friendship, hobbies, physical activity, fellowship, spirituality, religion, etc... Some of us fill that hole with bad things like drugs, alcohol, infidelity, illicit sex, over-eating, violence...

It comes down to ignorance in a way; a desperation, a self-centeredness, even a certain innocence.

I believe that the WS enters their M in this state to one degree or another (as opposed to the popular WS's claim that the M made them do it) after a lifetime of living and thinking a certain way, making poor choices, having poor coping skills because of role modelling, societal messages, peer groups, social class, etc...

I don't believe my fWS is evil, just kinda clueless and lost in the grand scheme of things. Now is his chance to learn a new, healthier way to cope, to think, and to handle his feelings. And to be a better role model to his DDs, whether inside this M or without it.

[This message edited by Knowing at 7:08 AM, March 20th (Wednesday)]

Me: BW, Him: fWH
Together 12 years
My EA (?) 2005-2011
His STA/PA: D-day: 19/09/12
TT: 08/12/12

We are in R.

Posts: 698 | Registered: Oct 2012
Member # 30804
Default  Posted: 8:12 AM, March 20th (Wednesday)

I dont' think there is ever going to be an answer that will be good enough to make me understand "why" A happened. I think I wanted a solid concrete answer, something that I/we could fix. Something that I could label and put neatly in a box so that I could make sense of it all. I have realized that no answer from FWH would be the 'right' answer for me to give me understanding of 'why'. In the long run, working hard to rebuild trust and feeling safe again has been the helpful things for me. At this point(6yrs later) I don't think i will ever trust anyone the way I used to but I can live with that....I suppose I was too niave anyway.

BS(me)-late 40's
FWH-late 40's
3 teens
DDay 1/07

MOW- WAS my friend,STILL my neighbor.

Posts: 67 | Registered: Jan 2011
Member # 32826
Default  Posted: 8:42 AM, March 20th (Wednesday)

I know in my situation his father passed away and then lost his job. His siblings at least four of then fell apart after that man died. Some had affairs one did not. Their father was a drunk and mean. I remember when he died and I was so surprised they were all sad because it was not secret that they all disliked their father. Well my so called friend new about the three other siblings and I feel she took advantage of that. I feel she liked him long before the death. She was playing him and other men in the neighborhood come to find out. If she did not throw herself at him he would not of cheated. He would of been in a deep depression instead. Well he was in a deep depression. I knew it I tried to get him help but he did not want help. What I did not know was every time I left the house she would see that and call him looking for me then when he finially got a job she asked if she could call him by then he was hooked. By they way his job he did get was horrible and about 50000 less then what he was making and now we are in a lot of debt. So with the money and the dad and her it was a perfect storm. We had a good marriage never really fought about stuff until six months into his affair. He was so down on himself for want he was doing he pushed me away and was sooooo mean. She was a sick person as my friend she would call me 6 to 7 times a day. She also managed to get mad at him when he could not get me and the kids out of the house. So they could hook up. He took all her shit. She was very much like his dad in a way. He was an abused child and she ended up controlling him. Until I found out. So his why was death of a abusive father, money and job. But knowing all this has not really helped me get out of this limbo I am in. I am so depressed that our marriage is not going to be what I wanted it to be. He is in IC so hopefully he will get stronger and better coping skills.

BS me
WS him
OW my former friend and neighbor
Dday 1 2/20/11
Dday 2 3/08/11
Two little ones
Married 19 years
Together 26 years

Posts: 147 | Registered: Jul 2011
Member # 37168
Default  Posted: 1:24 PM, March 20th (Wednesday)

We had this conversaion on Monday night. Tough time. He had to see her for a work meeting and told me about it Sunday night as per our agreement. I told him, I wanted a rpoert after the meeting about how he fet. Monday morning, I sent him an email to make sure he thought of me all the time during the meeting (as he hadn't done during the ONS). Monday I asked him how he felt when he saw her. We hada tough time, but finally finally got to the reasons why he thinks he did it.

1) He is a classic KISA, always helping any little lost girl. Last week, another work colleague asked him to take her shopping at lunchtime as she had forgotten to get an outfit for a hen night she was going to. He took her shopping and they went out for lunch. he told me about it afterwards. I told him that that was unacceptable. I know he is not having an A with this girl, but this was really overstepping boundaries. H said he had a car, she needed help. WTF!! he does this all the tim with girls who act all weak and defenceless. he thinks he is being nice and gentlmanly and helpful. We had a good discussion as to why this kid of thing can so easily lead to rouble, particularly if some scheming madam is eying him up.

2) He lacks self esteem and does not value his acheivements, his work, his life. he says he was a bad so and didn't care for his mother. This is totally untrue, he is clever, kind (too much perhaps), very highly regarded by everyone, well loved, but he doesn't believe i. When OW threw herself at him, he couldn't believe anyone could be interested in him (even though I was right there loving him and we had a great relationship - I thought).

3) There was an element of that he thought he could get away with it and in a sense he would have done if it wasn't for the OC.

Thing is that finding out about A has really hit my self esteem, so we are in the same position and feel we can grow together to regain our mutula self esteem.

Findingout the whys has really helpde me this week. I hope it is sustanable, but at the moment I feel confident we can get through it together. I think our converstaion about the whsy wasa breakthrough moment.

Posts: 266 | Registered: Oct 2012 | From: UK
Member # 20157
Default  Posted: 2:14 PM, March 20th (Wednesday)

H had many why's and in all honesty most of them were valid reasons to end our M not seek an A.

He had the A because he felt he deserved some happiness and he wanted to.

it doesn't matter where you go in life ,it's who you have the beside you

Posts: 8493 | Registered: Jul 2008
Member # 39214
Default  Posted: 1:03 PM, July 2nd (Tuesday)

No why is good enough there won't be a " oh I understand now"

If its self esteem - you cant help them that's on them
( your opinions and compliments don't matter to them , outside ppl do because they feel those ppl aren't obligated to them)

They wanted to - well what can ya do , gross right it suppose to be you and only you they know that !

Selfish - of course you think if they put your needs first we'd be here no !

No good reason, excuse, and why will change what they did and if they will do it again because you can't tell the future and they believe they won't do it again and really all you can do is take a go at it and see if shit gets better or not sucks yes !

So even though my mind searched why everyday nothing I come up is good enough either I was in the same marriage and I didn't cheat , actually he was the one consumed with hobbies and had his career and ignoring me cause all his success at work IM the one that felt unwanted , ignored, belittled, my opinions were void ...yet I was there waiting for him to notice me.

I now think if he can't see how badly I hurt and what he's done and does this shit again I'm not wasting another breath ,making anymore effort to love him and will not cry over it because then I will know he never cared that seeing me depressed and unsure of myself and sick didn't phase him . I won't let his next offense phase me either I will find someone else better and he will have to see my happiness with someone else and our kids seeing around another man

[This message edited by huRtZ413 at 1:08 PM, July 2nd (Tuesday)]



Posts: 278 | Registered: May 2013
Member # 29184
Default  Posted: 2:45 PM, July 2nd (Tuesday)

Right after d-day his reasons were: we fought all the time, we had financial problems, we didn't talk, he thought I didn't love him, he felt like a paycheck..... I know I'm missing a few but, the bottom line is these are not reasons, just excuses.

After about a year he finally hit rock bottom and admitted he had an affair because he was stupid and put himself into a situation that felt pretty good at the time and didn't want to get out of it.

I don't think we will ever have a "why" answer that will please a WS. But, we can have an answer that doesn't sound like an excuse.

I always told him that WE included them so of course WE were having problems, I was being compared to HER.

Me:BS married 29 yrs.
5 kids

Time really does heal.
EA D-Day May 2008
PA D-Day May 7,2010 (same A)

Posts: 885 | Registered: Jul 2010
Member # 26465
Default  Posted: 2:59 PM, July 2nd (Tuesday)

Because they allowed it. That is my answer. I am the BS. Can't remember what mine said.

There are degrees to which you let people back into your life and degrees to which you let them back into your heart-which, of course, are not the same thing

Posts: 3188 | Registered: Dec 2009 | From: Indiana
Member # 39588
Default  Posted: 3:27 PM, July 2nd (Tuesday)

Our MC said I will never really understand why and that's hard. WS said he was selfish and that's a tough thing to accept. She wanted him and he gave in, no excuse and it pisses me off to think he didn't walk away or stop. It was only 7 weeks ago and is still so very fresh.

Me (BS): 35
Him (fWS): 36
Married 16 years 6 kids ages 15-6
DDay #1 (EA) July '08
DDay #2 (EA/ONS- different OW) May 15, 2013

Finally this is R 8/14/13

"Forgiving is a journey; the deeper the wound, the longer the journey".

Posts: 299 | Registered: Jun 2013
Topic Posts: 30