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User Topic: What makes or breaks an affair?
dbellanon
Member
Member # 39236
Default  Posted: 7:07 PM, June 19th (Wednesday)

So, from my WW's perspective, she had an affair because she was unhappy in our marriage. Would she have had an affair with the same man if she had found our relationship more fulfilling? I have no idea. Maybe yes. Maybe no. But it seems that we can all point to things that might make someone more likely to have an affair or give in to the temptation to cheat on their spouse.

The question in my mind is, what makes the difference between someone who is having that temptation, someone who has the chance to cheat, and doesn't, and someone who does? Is it simply a matter of character? Is it that some people are just more honorable than others? Or is there more to it? I'm sure there's no simple answer, but I would like to hear people's thoughts. From BSs, from WSs, anyone.


ME: BH, 28
Her: WW, 27
DD: 4
Married 6 Years.
DDay: Early May, 2013
Divorced

Posts: 223 | Registered: May 2013
Conflicted1
Member
Member # 39019
Default  Posted: 7:53 PM, June 19th (Wednesday)

Moral compass and honor. Sounds simple when you see it in writing but I believe it comes down to that.


Honesty is a very expensive gift. Don't expect it from cheap people.

Posts: 101 | Registered: Apr 2013 | From: Me=BW 45
catlover50
Member
Member # 37154
Default  Posted: 8:18 PM, June 19th (Wednesday)

I think that upbringing has a ton to do with it. In my family loyalty was huge. And for some reason I had a strong personal moral compass, different than my brother. (I decided I would not have sex in high school or ever do drugs and I just didn't. My brother did, but he was always faithful and loyal). I had tons of support and attention from my parents, who totally believed in me and taught me I could do anything. I was very interested in sex, but just was not interested in having it outside of a committed love relationship.

My H, on the other hand, came from a broken home with two alcoholics, parents divorced due to infidelity, father not around, mother absent, only father figure molested him from ages 8-10, older brothers routinely beat him, absolutely no one to count on or look up to, his mother dated married men and every other male around cheated. He had only himself to count on and not a single role model for healthy intimacy. Started having sex at 12 and had a string of partners.

How can I say that I am a better person because I didn't cheat? How can I know how I would have reacted under such pressure? I literally have never struggled with temptation--just don't feel it. I have also never struggled with depression, low self esteem, attachment disorders, etc.

So, clearly, I see this as complicated and try to reserve judgement when possible. However, when the chips are down and people are downright cruel I do get judgey.



Dday -9/24/2012
Reconciling

Posts: 1731 | Registered: Oct 2012 | From: northeast
wannabenormal
Member
Member # 19772
Default  Posted: 8:23 PM, June 19th (Wednesday)

I think some of it is timing too. Had XH run into OW before he was 'not happy' it wouldn't have been an issue. I think he wasn't happy, met her and it just all seemed easier, more fun and plus they have so much in common.

I can't even guess now if he would have ever or never or for sure, I feel like I don't know him at all - but the timing was right for him to cheat and it wasn't because I pushed him to it or anything. he was unhappy with himself and found someone to fix it all.



Posts: 14350 | Registered: Jun 2008
LA44
Member
Member # 38384
Default  Posted: 8:36 PM, June 19th (Wednesday)

We have spoken about this dbellanon. We were both under considerable stress, our critical events timeline as per the book, After the Affair, was off the charts. I believed it was temporary and things would eventually settle down. I did practical things ie: attend a parenting program (one of our issues), or I would read, or I would talk to friends. I was still stressed but...it never occurred to me to have an A. There was no escape altho I wanted one.

He, on the other hand, escaped. He was away from home, hotel, drinking at a conference late at night, talking to a co-worker who could drink with the boys and do the dirty talk and...it all went downhill from there.

It's incredible to me that he even did this. He was seriously messed up. Today he says that he doesn't even recognize that person and the A "repulses" him.

Guess we all get back to reality eventually.


Me: 44
He: 47 WH
Married: 15 years
D Day: December 2012
Affair: Fall 2009 - Dec. 2011
R is not linear

Posts: 2290 | Registered: Feb 2013 | From: Canada, eh
stunnedin12
Member
Member # 38141
Default  Posted: 9:11 PM, June 19th (Wednesday)

When it all boils down to the bare nitty-gritty..... I think it is a matter of character, honor, and decency.


ME - Betrayed Spouse
Him - Wayward spouse
Not sure, but trying I guess.

Posts: 464 | Registered: Jan 2013
betrayed5years
Member
Member # 37146
Default  Posted: 9:36 PM, June 19th (Wednesday)

You pose a question without an answer to me. My WS had a great upbringing, morale code/ethics, a good 35 year marriage by his own words....and it was agreed before the affair started he would not leave me. We both have been offered affairs over the years and have shared openly with each other attraction to person of the opposite sex, but never crossed the line.

The OW was a neighbor,friend of us, co-worker and had been my ICU nurse in years before the affair. She, per WS, and she has not denied it is the one that pursued him....sexual temptation including emails, cards and etc. They discussed the game plan and rules.....and WS words now he sold his soul and all he was to have illicit sex.

He did everything he perceived as a immoral person...putting his job, his family (marriage and kids), our financial situation, his health and etc in jeopardy while lying, deceiving, disrespecting our house, his job....and on and on but refused to admit until he literally almost died and I discovered the confirmed the affair.

He loved the excitement of the chase, loved the secret life, but hated himself whiling do it, the deception, the lying to me and other friends...not enough to stop though.

He hates the shame and guilt now and loss of respect for those few that know. Loss of a good friend (OW's husband) and OW...he takes total responsibility for giving in to the temptation and the hurt/pain he has caused.

We are in R, only cause I choose so far to be here.


Posts: 102 | Registered: Oct 2012 | From: Somewhere in USA
stillhere09
Member
Member # 24924
Default  Posted: 9:50 PM, June 19th (Wednesday)


Okay, take a person with a good solid moral compass, someone who is determined not to ever cheat on the spouse - that person is very likely to be tempted at some point in their marriage. Perhaps they will run into an ex, perhaps a coworker who really looks good will be very available and willing. Perhaps this all happens at a bad time in the marriage. A person with a strong enough moral compass will still resist the temptation.

But there are some who just don't resist. In my opinion, it is for one of two reasons: Either their moral compass is just not strong enough or they are not sure they want to stay with their spouse forever (which is also a rather weak compass), but I do think there are times when some WS's - some but not all - have decided that they might have made a mistake in the choosing of their mate. They wonder what they are missing. They wonder if they could have it better. Some may consider that it wasn't a mistake to marry their spouse, but now it may be time for a change; they're not sure. Of course, the right thing to do is to go to MC, but too many times, they don't.

It is true that a person who is honorable in other things, like honesty in finances, honesty when it comes to refusing to lie or cheat in other ways, a person of integrity, is far less likely to cheat on a spouse. There's no guarantee, but the chances are far fewer.


Me-50 BW
Him-55,STBXWH

Walk a Mile In My Shoes
Married 14 yrs. Now Separated & in NC
2 grown DD's - his from previous M
4 grown kids (2DS, 2DD) mine from previous M


Posts: 3020 | Registered: Jul 2009 | From: Ohio
nuance
Member
Member # 28793
Default  Posted: 10:53 PM, June 19th (Wednesday)

Character, yes. Also lack of respect for the SO.


Dday May 2000. R'ed.
People suck.

Posts: 1208 | Registered: Jun 2010 | From: California
wannabenormal
Member
Member # 19772
Default  Posted: 11:01 PM, June 19th (Wednesday)

He was away from home, hotel, drinking at a conference late at night, talking to a co-worker who could drink with the boys and do the dirty talk and...it all went downhill from there.

Yep!

Before when XH traveled, he would call us (me and kids) and LAUGH at 'those people' that acted like they were on Spring Break. Then he turned into one of them.

You know what? I sort of 'get it'. I wasn't 'fun, sexy or exciting'. I was taking care of kids, house and cleaning up catshit. I get where the 'fun peeps' were simply more fun.

But I still would have never stooped like he did.



Posts: 14350 | Registered: Jun 2008
Rise And Shine
Member
Member # 27513
Default  Posted: 11:07 PM, June 19th (Wednesday)

Is it simply a matter of character? Is it that some people are just more honorable than others?

Yes.

Or is there more to it?

No. Not really.


April 25, 2009

Posts: 3263 | Registered: Feb 2010
ChesterChump
New Member
Member # 38094
Default  Posted: 1:07 AM, June 20th (Thursday)

catlover50, with the exceptions of only having one alcoholic parent and no molestation (although plenty of other physical) your WH's childhood sounds just like mine. I was rightfully unhappy with my marriage and I never once thought about having an affair even though I probably had plenty of opportunities. My WW, who also claims to have been unhappy and had a much happier childhood, didn't hesitate to.

Posts: 26 | Registered: Jan 2013
OnAnIsland
Member
Member # 34319
Default  Posted: 1:33 AM, June 20th (Thursday)

Broken people- lots of different forms and shapes, but broken people have affairs. Because they don't have healthier coping mechanisms, because they deserve this escape, because they want to, because their spouse or partner isn't paying enough attention to them. Because married and family life are hard work that they didn't count on.


D-day: Christmas 2011
D-day 2: 3/28/2013

Married for over 15 years
2 beautiful boys in elementary school

You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them. Maya Angelou


Posts: 1478 | Registered: Dec 2011
stronger08
Member
Member # 16953
Default  Posted: 1:58 AM, June 20th (Thursday)

A mind filled with fantasy makes it. A mind filled with reality breaks it.


You cant eat soup with chopsticks.

Posts: 5661 | Registered: Nov 2007
refuz2bavictim
Member
Member # 27176
Default  Posted: 6:15 AM, June 20th (Thursday)

Don't you have to have some degree of willingness at the outset, to even be tempted? Wouldn't you "want" something from the whole thing? Validation, ego boost, sex, attention, whatever the payoff may be? I believe the ultimate decision to engage comes down to selfishness, but I'm not sure how simple it is. Why is one person primed for an A when another in the same situation is not?

The temptation part, where someone has to "resist" an affair, is unacceptable to me. If they have to resist it....it's because they want it, and I surely don't want to waste my time with someone who has this idea that being with me, causes them to miss out on something else.

It's kind of hard to tempt someone with Chocolate if they don't like chocolate. Dangling it in front of them, isn't going to make that person suddenly like chocolate.

(and for the record...I like chocolate and would selfishly take the chocolate)

Opportunities have presented themselves over the years, and I did not feel the least bit tempted. I am certain that it is NOT because I have some extra special code of higher moral character. I haven't the slightest interest in other men, and I think it's because I am lazy, and I don't *want* the hassle or the junk. The payoff isn't there for me.


BS:ME DDay: 7/18/09 Last of TT 7/11/10
MOW's EA/PA all were my "friends" but one


Posts: 2372 | Registered: Jan 2010
catlover50
Member
Member # 37154
Default  Posted: 7:35 AM, June 20th (Thursday)

Well, I guess it comes down to why do some people have the willpower or moral code and others don't? Just as science is starting to show that being overweight is not just simply a matter of lack of willpower, I suspect there is more to it with infidelity too. Or how some people get caught up in a gang, for example.

I have no trouble getting up in the morning to exercise, but I just can't do it at night after work. Other people can't drag themselves out of bed, but can stop at the gym after work. We are wired differently. And saying selfish, bad character, IMHO, is too simplistic. Just like that kid who joined the gang; what were the influences at play?

I'm not trying to not hold waywards responsible for their actions in any way; we all know right from wrong. I just think that the motivations, etc are more complicated.



Dday -9/24/2012
Reconciling

Posts: 1731 | Registered: Oct 2012 | From: northeast
Razor
Member
Member # 16345
Default  Posted: 8:55 AM, June 20th (Thursday)

Opportunity.
Can get away with it.
Desire.

In my book thats all it takes.

All the M problems are just pig shit. Excuses and justifications.

There is a point though where many would turn back. A decision point. I like to call it the *get naked moment*. Where things have gone to a point where the deed is the next step.

At that time our morality should be screaming at us. That voice in our head telling us right from wrong is yelling dont do this. I think this is where justification comes in. The morality is shoved aside by the justification of *I deserve this because..*


Forgive and forget = Relive and regret.

Hope in reality is the worst of all evils because it prolongs the torments of man.
Friedrich Nietzsche


Posts: 3483 | Registered: Sep 2007
daledge
Member
Member # 38886
Default  Posted: 9:13 AM, June 20th (Thursday)

Yes - where was that voice in their head screaming: "This is wrong?" !!!!!

And Damn - who hasn't been tempted??? Not just by sex, by anything? Another potato chip, a piece of chocolate? An unattended purse? A mean joke at someone else's expense? There are millions of temptations all around us.

All I see is a weak character.
A selfishness, a sense of entitlement, and a "I'll deal with it later" attitude if they get caught.

I hope they all burn in hell.
Wish I could watch.


Posts: 106 | Registered: Apr 2013
hopefullromantic
Member
Member # 16652
Default  Posted: 9:13 AM, June 20th (Thursday)

Many years ago I found myself on that slippery slope. I was very happy with my marriage but found myself increasingly attracted to a man who was clearly attracted to me.

I talked with my H about it. And I prayed. A lot. An A did not happen, although it could be argued I was in the beginning of an EA that was curtailed.

My H and I both have a strong moral compass. He has great integrity, or so I thought. The difference, I think was that I communicated to my H, and others, while my H did not. Not only did he not tell me of his temptation, but when I had told him of mine he really didn't want to talk about it much. And later, when I brought it up again he acted like he didn't know what I was talking about!

My H denies his feelings. When really bad things happen, he does not talk about them. He avoids and denies. That is the difference between us.


It's not really a fairy tale 'till the witch is deposed and a few dragons are slain

Posts: 1775 | Registered: Oct 2007
AFrayedKnot
Member
Member # 36622
Default  Posted: 9:19 AM, June 20th (Thursday)

The internal battle between instant gratification and delayed gratification.

Is the pride and esteem I feel from doing the right thing worth missing out on that rush that the wrong thing can provide?

Is that rush worth abandoning myself and others?

It is a deep internal subconscious battle. So many factors play a role: FOO, habit, perception of reality, perceived self worth and on and on.

But all if those factors are inside the WS. It is not the state of the M but the perceived state if the M


BS 39
fWS 36 (SurprisinglyOkay)
DD DS
A whole bunch of shit that got a lot worse before it got better.
"Knowing is half the battle"

Posts: 2588 | Registered: Aug 2012
sisoon
Member
Member # 31240
Default  Posted: 9:40 AM, June 20th (Thursday)

The justification of the A is a differentiator, IMO.

WRT people who cheated because they were unhappy in their marriages, I suspect these folks never did the introspective work that leads to the realization that if person Z is unhappy, person Z has the problem, and only person Z can solve it.

A corollary is: if person Z thinks his problem is with his partner and person Z changes/adds partners, the problem simply won't be solved.

When I've been unhappy with my W - very rare before her A - I always understood that the only solution was to choose between 1) accepting her, or 2) raising the issue and working with her to resolve it.

IMO, a lot of As start for other reasons. For example, my fear was that I'd cheat because I got impulsive - maybe someone would turn me on so much that I'd forget my commitment, even though I was very happy in my M. (I kept my guard up.) Clearly, some As happen because a WS can't or won't control his/her impulses.

Some people cheat because they have lousy boundaries or because they give up their boundaries to a more powerful personality, even though they're happy with their Ms.

Different types of As have different reasons behind them.

I'll say this: I don't attribute it to good or bad character or good or bad morals. To make that judgment, I'd have to look inside a person's heart and brain, and I simply can't do that. I just can't evaluate motivation from external behavior.

[This message edited by sisoon at 9:44 AM, June 20th (Thursday)]


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: 10103 | Registered: Feb 2011 | From: Chicago area
Skye
Member
Member # 325
Default  Posted: 9:49 AM, June 20th (Thursday)

Character, yes. Also lack of respect for the SO.

I believe this says it all.


Posts: 5621 | Registered: Jul 2002
PeaceLove187
Member
Member # 33559
Default  Posted: 10:10 AM, June 20th (Thursday)

Character. Moral compass. Impulse control issues. But also empathy. People who have As are generally more selfish and I believe that's a function of empathy. They often are blindsided by the pain caused by the As because they aren't tuned in to the emotions of other people. They aren't in the habit of seeing the world through the eyes of others. During the period of my H's first A, I was tempted as well. Our marriage wasn't working due to my H's failing business and general depression and I was tired of trying to hold everything together. One of my clients seemed interested and the attention was very compelling but nothing happened. I couldn't cause that kind of pain to my husband so I dropped the client. Apparently my H was more focused on his problems than on my pain, so he moved forward with his A. My H lacked empathy, another way of saying he was selfish or self-focused.


BW--Me, 57
FWH--Him, 59
Married 35 years
Empty Nesters

Posts: 638 | Registered: Oct 2011 | From: Midwest
uncertainone
Member
Member # 28108
Default  Posted: 10:17 AM, June 20th (Thursday)

They aren't in the habit of seeing the world through the eyes of others

Quite true. Some affairs are very pain based coupled with horrible coping skills.

Ever stubbed your baby toe really hard? Almost impossible to sit. Pain can make one quite narcissitic. It's supposed to, actually. Your mind and bodies way of saying "focus, people, we're in distress!!!"

You match that with horrible coping skills and tools and voila. Nightmare.


Me: 37

'til the roof comes off. 'til the lights go out. 'til my legs give out, can't shut my mouth


Posts: 6795 | Registered: Mar 2010
ifinallyfoundme
Member
Member # 39523
Default  Posted: 10:22 AM, June 20th (Thursday)

Everyone is tempted but everyone does not act on that temptation.

As others have stated it all about the wayward spouse. Circumstances whether good or bad, are just an excuse to indulge in destructive behavior.
People have been cheating since the dawn of man and the only real difference in the mix is technology. When it comes to the behavior of human beings there is nothing new under the sun.


Posts: 180 | Registered: Jun 2013 | From: United States
20WrongsVs1
Member
Member # 39000
Default  Posted: 10:28 AM, June 20th (Thursday)

I shared your WW's perspective; perhaps all waywards do. What I'm coming to realize is, I was unhappy with myself and deeply resentful about a terrible wrong done to me at age 7. Under stress those negative feelings spiked, and I projected my unhappiness and resentment onto BH and made him the enemy, the impediment to my fulfillment. Hopefully with time and therapy I will figure out why I chose to turn away from BH, instead of toward him--as I now wish I would've.

Character, honor and decency: yes, I agree, in my poor mental health state I disconnected from those traits.


fWW: 42
BH: 52
DDay: April 21, 2013
Sweet DS & fierce DD, under 10
"Between stimulus and response there’s a space, in that space lies our power to choose our response, in our response lies our growth and our freedom." V. Frankl

Posts: 1185 | Registered: Apr 2013 | From: Redneck land
nofool4u
Member
Member # 38509
Default  Posted: 10:29 AM, June 20th (Thursday)

The question in my mind is, what makes the difference between someone who is having that temptation, someone who has the chance to cheat, and doesn't, and someone who does? Is it simply a matter of character? Is it that some people are just more honorable than others?

Yes, a matter of character IMO. There are lots of people who are unhappy in their marriages that don't cheat and wouldn't.

If you were unhappy too, maybe you can ask your WW something like, "Hey, I was unhappy as well, why do you think I didn't cheat?" I'd love to hear the answer from her on that one.


Me - fBS

Posts: 210 | Registered: Feb 2013
ifinallyfoundme
Member
Member # 39523
Default  Posted: 10:49 AM, June 20th (Thursday)

Yes, a matter of character IMO. There are lots of people who are unhappy in their marriages that don't cheat and wouldn't.

In our current state of culture we look outside of ourselves for something to make us happy or bring us joy. We should bring that joy with us into the marriage.

Happiness is based on circumstance but joy is internal/eternal.

I hear people say they are unhappy in their marriage because of their mates. What happens if a person becomes ill, unemployed, or unable to have sex.
I know of a nice woman who left her husband because his business partner cheated him out of the finances. He sounded like a good man but she was bitter because of money. Circumstances are transitory and happiness like the weather.
Two whole joyful complete individuals make a good marriage, not two broken ones.


Posts: 180 | Registered: Jun 2013 | From: United States
RyeBread
Member
Member # 37437
Default  Posted: 11:03 AM, June 20th (Thursday)

she had an affair because she was unhappy in our marriage.

She needs to dig a lot deeper than that.

The excuses/reasons for having an A are varied and convoluted. They are like swiss cheese, there are holes in all of them.

What really matters IMHO is to ask the question, why was an A even an option? There are other ways to handle perceived unhappiness. Why go for such a destructive force? With all the negative consequences that come from them, why would anyone want to do that? (rhetorical)

I also think (as mentioned by others) you have to own your happiness. It's not up to others to make us happy. Only we can make ourselves happy. if we are not happy then it's up to each of us as an individual to figure out why we are not happy and make the changes we need to get there without creating hurt and destruction towards others along the way.

My 2 cents.


Let him that would move the world first move himself. - Socrates

Posts: 1030 | Registered: Nov 2012 | From: Midwest
Rebreather
Member
Member # 30817
Default  Posted: 1:10 PM, June 20th (Thursday)

I never understand this "lack of character" definition of the affair driver. There are so many great former waywards on this site. Are they all lacking character? Or did they grow it back?

How many of us are/were married to people that we thought had great character? It is what DREW ME to my spouse. He was honest. He was true. He was not a skirt chaser. Before we ever dated and were just friends I knew he believed in "quality, not quantity."

But when the going got tough, boy did he get going! Is that lack of character? That seems like such a simple answer. We focused instead on why he decided to hit the self-destruct button. What allowed him to become selfish in that manner?

If cheating is only lack of character, how do you fix that?


Me BS
Him WH
2 ddays in '07
Recovering.
"The cure for the pain, is the pain." -Rumi

Posts: 6450 | Registered: Jan 2011
uncertainone
Member
Member # 28108
Default  Posted: 1:30 PM, June 20th (Thursday)

If cheating is only lack of character, how do you fix that?

You don't. Character isn't static, though. That's the thing.

Friend of mine is finding this out with his Mustang. 2006c 4.6l v8. Nice car. He decides he wants more hp ( dumb. It's a commuter car) so he changes the exhaust from 2 1/2 to 3 and a muffler delete. Back pressure and lower end performance vanishes (duh). Now he either reinstalls the old exhaust (which of course he doesn't want to do) or invest a shit load to get back basically what he once had.

As life happens our belief system can change. We see it on here when some post about things done après dday that never would have been contemplated pre.

RA's, DV, total distrust of all, perception as a whole. The changes can bring about or illuminate chinks not known prior.

To me, character would be shown by how experiences life brings are coped with and how what those uncover or introduce are handled. Growth happens when they're owned and fixed. Doing that is an example of character not a lack of it. For anyone. If "you" live long enough life can test us all.

[This message edited by uncertainone at 1:31 PM, June 20th (Thursday)]


Me: 37

'til the roof comes off. 'til the lights go out. 'til my legs give out, can't shut my mouth


Posts: 6795 | Registered: Mar 2010
heartbroken0903
Member
Member # 27879
Default  Posted: 1:33 PM, June 20th (Thursday)

I'm going to come back to this thread tonight when I can reply from my computer but I want to respond to Rebreather's post quickly:

We as way wards all know right from wrong. Those of us that want to make it right don't necessarily grow our character back or grow it from scratch in some cases---I feel we just make the commitment to follow it as we should have all along...to choose right vs. wrong. Leaving aside all the bullshit excuses and justifications and "why"s, sometimes it's as simple as that---choosing to do right.

Temptations of all kinds will always be there in the world. I'd love to eat cake every day, but I don't want to be fat. I'd love to tell 'em "take this job and shove it" but I don't want to be homeless. Bad behavior stops when the payoff is less than the cost. I learned that the hard way.

[This message edited by heartbroken0903 at 1:34 PM, June 20th (Thursday)]


Me: XWS, 30s, 5-month EA/PA in '09-'10
Husband: XBS, 40s
No kids

Married 2.5 years
D-day 3/6/10
Divorced 5/14/10

Reconciled and remarried.


Posts: 2150 | Registered: Mar 2010 | From: the cat's meow
copingdaily
Member
Member # 34713
Default  Posted: 1:42 PM, June 20th (Thursday)

defenitely morals but I find it intresting that years before the affair my husband met the ow at a concert once, I didnt introduce them but she stopped and chatting with me for a minute.He never gave her a second look that night, timing I guess also


Treat others as you want to be treated

Posts: 296 | Registered: Feb 2012 | From: Texas
Rise And Shine
Member
Member # 27513
Default  Posted: 2:05 PM, June 20th (Thursday)

But when the going got tough, boy did he get going! Is that lack of character?

Rebreather, yes!

It doesn't mean that having poor character is a life sentence...for most people, anyway.

A person who bails when the going gets tough may or may not qualify as a person with poor character.

A person who deceives qualifies as a person with poor character.

They aren't in the habit of seeing the world through the eyes of others

If that were true then how come most cheaters try to hide their affair?


April 25, 2009

Posts: 3263 | Registered: Feb 2010
nofool4u
Member
Member # 38509
Default  Posted: 3:48 PM, June 20th (Thursday)

Redbreather
I never understand this "lack of character" definition of the affair driver. There are so many great former waywards on this site. Are they all lacking character? Or did they grow it back?

Well if you have one person unhappy in a marriage that doesn't cheat and would never cheat, and one that does, what do you think the difference is?


Me - fBS

Posts: 210 | Registered: Feb 2013
nofool4u
Member
Member # 38509
Default  Posted: 3:51 PM, June 20th (Thursday)

Rebreather, yes!

It doesn't mean that having poor character is a life sentence...for most people, anyway.

Yes, this ^^

Perhaps temporary lack of good character. Its fixable, just lacked character when doing the deed IMO.

Like you said, not a life sentence.


Me - fBS

Posts: 210 | Registered: Feb 2013
Phoenix519
Member
Member # 26186
Default  Posted: 4:50 PM, June 20th (Thursday)

So..your wife was unhappy in the marriage..well whoop de doo...who isn't at some point in a relationship? That has nothing whatsoever to do with her decision to cheat, IMHO.

I grew up with parents that cheated on one another. My father was an alcoholic, my mom had mental issues, I was molested as a child..and so on and so forth. At the time my FWH cheated I was unhappy too.

I think that people that cheat are self-centered and selfish people that lack humility.

I've never been a selfish person, I've never been someone that could justify hurting another person and I'm humble.

My FWH grew up in the brady bunch family. A wonderful, supportive, financially stable loving family.

And he was a selfish little shit that could justify his affair because he felt like he "deserved to be happy" without the hard work it sometimes takes to get through the ruts of a normal long lasting relationship.

So, add lazy to the list as well.

Just my 2cents.

ETA grammar, until I got bored with fixing grammar and typos.

[This message edited by Phoenix519 at 4:51 PM, June 20th (Thursday)]


Posts: 581 | Registered: Nov 2009
dbellanon
Member
Member # 39236
Default  Posted: 5:08 PM, June 20th (Thursday)

Lots of fascinating responses.

I am as sure as I could possibly be that I would never cheat (especially now), but to be fair, I've never really had the opportunity. Part of this has to do with the fact that I am always very guarded and conservative with my interactions with the opposite sex. I never even really let myself become friends with other women unless it's in the context of a relationship with both husband and wife.

Part of this stems from the fact that before my wife and I were married (before we even started dating), I was very close friends with another woman. It was as platonic as a friendship could be, but it was intimate nonetheless. When my wife and I began our relationship, I was a little too slow to realize that I couldn't be friends with this other girl in the same way that I had been, and I ended up hurting them both. After that, women were basically off limits as far as close personal interactions went. And I've stuck to that.

So when I ask myself what I would do if, let's say, I found a mutual connection and attraction between myself and another woman, it's purely hypothetical. I've never let myself get close enough to anyone to even find out. But I have to ask if I really do know what I would do in such a scenario?

I am fairly certain, though, that whatever attraction that I felt could never overcome the disgust and shame that could accompany acting on that attraction. So it seems to me that in order to have an affair, either the opposite has to happen (that the attraction does somehow overcome the shame and disgust), or somehow the shame and disgust are not felt at all.

What I don't get is that my wife says that she did something that made her happy. But how can doing something that brutalizes and traumatizes another human being make you happy? If you're happy doing something that harms someone else, doesn't that make you a psychopath?

I've actually compared my WWs current state to temporary psychopathy. In order to do it, she had to be completely disconnected from any capacity for empathy. And I wonder when that happened. Was she always stunted in her capacity for empathy (She certainly has not always been the most sensitive person in the world)? Was this, as someone suggested, a response to pain, that she turned so far inward that she simply wasn't thinking of anyone else? Was it a defense mechanism erected specifically in response to the affair, to prevent her from feeling the full weight of guilt for her actions?

What has to happen inside a person to make this possible?


ME: BH, 28
Her: WW, 27
DD: 4
Married 6 Years.
DDay: Early May, 2013
Divorced

Posts: 223 | Registered: May 2013
uncertainone
Member
Member # 28108
Default  Posted: 5:41 PM, June 20th (Thursday)

If you're happy doing something that harms someone else, doesn't that make you a psychopath?

Yes...or human. Ever read posts on here wishing tread marks on OP?

Sometimes the affair itself is a nuclear revenge bomb that fucks everyone. Kind of a murder suicide thing.


Me: 37

'til the roof comes off. 'til the lights go out. 'til my legs give out, can't shut my mouth


Posts: 6795 | Registered: Mar 2010
Ostrich80
Member
Member # 34827
Default  Posted: 6:52 PM, June 20th (Thursday)

In mt sich, it was the perfect storm.. DS 17 at the time was spiraling into a horrible drug addiction. WS and i conflicted on how to deal with it. He wanted ti disown him, i desperately wanted to save him. IMy co dependency inflated. I remember the night He screamed, choose ds or i. I told him not ti ask me ti do that bécause i could not give up on him. So he left me in the trenches alone when i needed him most. Add financial ruin to it and our home became à warzone.
Ow knew what was going on and helped fuel his thoughts that i didnt care or appreciate him. I felt so scared and alone. He became emotionally attached to her and soon
stopped talking to me, it was her he became close to. The choice was his
i can see how it happened and why. Not excusing him, i mean i was hurting too and i didnt go looking for someone.


BS..me
WS..him
Been with him over half my life
4kid
DD1 10-01-09 DD2 02-12-12 discovered it never ended
OW..nothing special. Just your average skank
Status..#$%@????

Posts: 5048 | Registered: Feb 2012 | From: midwest
dbellanon
Member
Member # 39236
Default  Posted: 6:54 PM, June 20th (Thursday)

I'm not going to pretend that I haven't fantasized about forcibly sterilizing the OM with my boot. This is, of course, a sadistic fantasy, and it's probably not healthy or even right, but I think we're talking about something different when we're talking about affairs.

My WW has frequently asserted that she didn't do what she did in order to hurt me. I believe her. I don't believe she had the affair because she wanted to traumatize me. After all, if everything had gone according to her plan, I never would have found out. That's why I called it psychopathy, not sadism. A sadist is someone who derives pleasure from someone else's pain. A psychopath is someone who just doesn't care.


ME: BH, 28
Her: WW, 27
DD: 4
Married 6 Years.
DDay: Early May, 2013
Divorced

Posts: 223 | Registered: May 2013
heartbroken0903
Member
Member # 27879
Default  Posted: 8:33 PM, June 20th (Thursday)

OK, coming back to the thread (as I warned I would ).

From the original post:

So, from my WW's perspective, she had an affair because she was unhappy in our marriage. Would she have had an affair with the same man if she had found our relationship more fulfilling?

My mindset at the time of the affair: I wasn't overjoyed with my marriage, but I certainly wasn't unhappy either. However, after 3+ years of introspection, I know that I would have had an affair with the same man no matter what. No matter if I was over-the-moon happy (does such a state ever exist outside of Disney fairy tales?) and perceived my marriage to be the best in the world; no matter if it were horrible and it was the shittiest marriage in the world. And I would have also cheated with the same man regardless of who I was married to, had the "perfect storm" of circumstances that led to the A still been in effect.

The question in my mind is, what makes the difference between someone who is having that temptation, someone who has the chance to cheat, and doesn't, and someone who does?

As I said in my post on page 2: we all know the right thing to do. Yes, I do believe it's a deliberate choice not to do it---to do what's wrong. I think it's a matter of one's character at the time, along with many other things: level of emotional maturity, one's priorities in life, one's level of basic respect for others and for societal rules, and so forth.

But I agree with Uncertainone in that character can change. Or, at the very least, people can change their crappy behavior...and the desire to change that behavior is in the first place, IMO, an indicator of character evolving into something better.

[This message edited by heartbroken0903 at 8:36 PM, June 20th (Thursday)]


Me: XWS, 30s, 5-month EA/PA in '09-'10
Husband: XBS, 40s
No kids

Married 2.5 years
D-day 3/6/10
Divorced 5/14/10

Reconciled and remarried.


Posts: 2150 | Registered: Mar 2010 | From: the cat's meow
Fallen
Member
Member # 4313
Default  Posted: 8:54 PM, June 20th (Thursday)

What makes it? The lies.

What breaks it? The lies.

That was my experience.


You can't heal what you won't feel.

"There would be no grand absolution, only forgiveness meted out in these precious sips. It would well up from his heart in spoonfuls, and he would feed it to me. And it would be enough."


Posts: 23484 | Registered: May 2004
mchercheur
Member
Member # 37735
Default  Posted: 10:01 PM, June 20th (Thursday)

Everyone is tempted but everyone does not act on that temptation.

When I got married, my Dad told me that it will happen,that it happens to everyone, but that " You can look but you can't touch." I am not male, but I have always been under the impression that men can be sexually "turned on" just by looking at an attractive female. My parents were married for a long time, & I know for sure that my Dad never cheated.

WH & I have been married a long time. There were ups & downs, & for sure a lot of stress. During all this time, I have felt physically attracted to 3 other men, & I knew this attraction was mutual. (I don't know, is it wrong that I even felt attracted to them?)
But always the thought came into my mind that I could never do something like that to WH. It was wrong. And so I removed myself from the situation where I would come into contact with them .

I think the difference is, in my case, that WH didn't care what it would do to me. WH did not have any empathy for me. He felt entitled to do it. Also, WH's mother cheated on his father, & told WH his whole life that " she didn't do anything wrong" , so that gave WH permission.
Whereas, I know that my parents would disapprove of my behavior if I did it to WH. So that stopped me.
So, I guess what I am saying is that FOO makes a big difference.


together 25 yrs, married 24 yrs, 4 children;Rebuilding
D Day: 5/10/2011 PA
OW: WH's co-worker,divorced, no children, 20 yrs younger than I-----& she knew he was married, had met our kids, but that did not stop her from trying to destroy our family

Posts: 1391 | Registered: Dec 2012
jb3199
Member
Member # 27673
Default  Posted: 12:13 AM, June 21st (Friday)

I am as sure as I could possibly be that I would never cheat (especially now), but to be fair, I've never really had the opportunity.
Part of this has to do with the fact that I am always very guarded and conservative with my interactions with the opposite sex. I never even really let myself become friends with other women unless it's in the context of a relationship with both husband and wife.

EFFING EXACTLY.

Maybe I'm a prude, but I have never cheated for two reasons:

(1) as so eloquently stated by debellanon, and

(2) I never wanted to.

Believe or not, sometimes it is that simple. And please don't give me the *never say never*, because infidelity is a choice....and I choose not to cheat.

Again, I sound like and old fart here, but I get confused when I read about BSs saying that they have had several opportunities to cheat, but have opted not to do so. My question is, how do you get in the situation where this happens----yet repeatedly? I don't believe in flirting(bad boundary), so that rules out one angle. I have conversations, particularly with the opposite sex, with respect and courtesy. One more angle removed. I don't talk about sex with any of my male friends, as I believe it to be disrespectful and degrading.

We are not only talking about our lifestyle, but we are also looking at moments in time, when something could go astray. But that is kept in check with good boundaries...not a white knuckle effort to resist temptation.

With the exception of a few, I believe that most people are good. And even good people make bad decisions. It is more than obvious to me that people do change; characters are dynamic, and learn from mistakes. My WW was as good a wife, mother and friend for way more years than not. Her poor coping mechanisms didn't surface until later in life for a multitude of reasons, but she chose to make poor decisions---just as she currently chooses to make wise decisions.

It is entirely up to us.


BH-46
WW-44
2 boys-17 & 20(special needs)
Married 21yrs.(together 27yrs.)

All work and no play has just cost me my wife--Gary Puckett
D-Day: 9/18/09 D-Day#2: 2/19/10 The Marriage Killer: 6/6/11
Heading for D


Posts: 2052 | Registered: Feb 2010 | From: northeast
Skye
Member
Member # 325
Default  Posted: 7:56 AM, June 21st (Friday)

I don't believe character changes. I also believe there are very few tests for character. It is a word very loosely used, imho.

Saying that, I do believe behaviors can change. If that's good enough, so be it.


Posts: 5621 | Registered: Jul 2002
struggling16
Member
Member # 33202
Default  Posted: 8:49 AM, June 21st (Friday)

This has made fascinating reading. The revelation that my husband was not the person I thought he was for 29 years has been so painful.

I had to come to the realization that he
"acts" empathetic but isn't truly empathetic. He was utterly selfish, self-absorbed, and invented a world that had nothing to do with the reality of our marriage in order to justify his selfishness. My dilemma as we move through R is to watch his behavior for signs that he has learned from his destructive choices. At almost 30 months since Dday he is walking the walk. If it's a facade, I'm out of here.


Posts: 716 | Registered: Aug 2011
TrustGone
Member
Member # 36654
Default  Posted: 10:12 AM, June 21st (Friday)

I don't think it is nessarily a total lack of character or morality. As often WS's have character and are moral in other areas of their lives. They do not steal, sell drugs to children, commit assaults, or murder.

They know it's wrong to cheat, but they do it anyway. Why?? Because they are just being selfish people. They want to, therefor they do. It has nothing to do with the state of the marriage because people in happy marriages cheat. They may use it as an excuse in their own minds, but that's all it is, an excuse or justification.

The facts are they want it and they go for it. Most of them think they will never get caught and what the BS doesn't know won't hurt them. They want fun, they want excitement, they want their ego's stroked. Infedelity provides all those things, whereas a marriage doesn't. They don't stop and think, "Oh, I can't do that or it will distroy my spouse/marriage." Most don't think that at all. Why?? They don't want to and/or that would make what they are doing not as much fun.


BW-50
WH#2-51
M-9 yrs T-11 yrs
4 children-none together
DD#1-9/5/11 LTA 2yrs
DD#2-7/3/12 False R
DD#3-4/29/13 (OW broke NC)
Status: Your guess is as good as mine.

Posts: 2420 | Registered: Aug 2012 | From: Texas
20WrongsVs1
Member
Member # 39000
Default  Posted: 10:27 AM, June 21st (Friday)

I had to reply again, because I so resemble this:

I've actually compared my WWs current state to temporary psychopathy. In order to do it, she had to be completely disconnected from any capacity for empathy. And I wonder when that happened. Was she always stunted in her capacity for empathy (She certainly has not always been the most sensitive person in the world)? Was this, as someone suggested, a response to pain, that she turned so far inward that she simply wasn't thinking of anyone else? Was it a defense mechanism erected specifically in response to the affair, to prevent her from feeling the full weight of guilt for her actions?

Discussed these very topics in IC yesterday! I've always considered myself "empathy challenged," and insensitive. My C says I'm capable, but I cut myself off from emotions I perceive as weak (e.g. trust & vulnerability) as a defense mechanism. My underlying cause is "easy" to pinpoint because I'm a CSA survivor and (while not inevitable or excusable) my reaction to that trauma is common. Did your WW experience any childhood or adolescent trauma?

What I hear in your posts is that you care deeply for your WW, and you want to make sense of all this, and that's normal. So is wanting to punch OM in the face...or elsewhere.


fWW: 42
BH: 52
DDay: April 21, 2013
Sweet DS & fierce DD, under 10
"Between stimulus and response there’s a space, in that space lies our power to choose our response, in our response lies our growth and our freedom." V. Frankl

Posts: 1185 | Registered: Apr 2013 | From: Redneck land
uncertainone
Member
Member # 28108
Default  Posted: 10:53 AM, June 21st (Friday)

It has nothing to do with the state of the marriage because people in happy marriages cheat

Right, and that's exactly why simplistic one word single thought answers are so meaningless.

Everyone is different. They have different belief systems, different coping mechanisms, different skill sets, different childhood experiences, different adult experiences, different intelligence levels, different personality traits...you get the idea.

The, well I was unhappy and I never cheated, could be said by many WS's here as well. I never cheated on anything or anyone in my entire life. Over 30 years on this earth is a fairly strong resume.

Hell, I never lied about the affair, either. Volunteered, donated, put myself on the line for others so the whole character lacking, empathy challenged, selfish, weak thing kind of falls apart.

Bottom line affairs are like a twisted Disneyland ride from hell, with out the "you have to be this tall to go on this ride" sign. All kinds of different people climb on and some decide they hated it and never will ride it again and other's are frequent fliers.

I also have never understood the whole, "I've had opportunities and never partook". I doubt most WS's jumped the first time they were hit on either. I know I sure didn't and haven't since. My good friends that share that label also hadn't and haven't.

If "your" WS never did anything like that before or since how do any of the familiar potpouri fit? If they have than that's something else that needs to be looked at, I'd imagine.


Me: 37

'til the roof comes off. 'til the lights go out. 'til my legs give out, can't shut my mouth


Posts: 6795 | Registered: Mar 2010
dbellanon
Member
Member # 39236
Default  Posted: 11:49 AM, June 21st (Friday)

20Wrongs: My WW did have an experience in her adolescence which she has only recently started to confront in a substantial way.

Her high school boyfriend was emotionally and psychologically manipulative and pressured her into sex when she didn't want it. She was then scandalized by her family (told her she was damaged goods). There was a lot of religious guilt piled on her for what had happened, all of it amounting to some pretty significant issues that my wife had coming into our marriage. One's that she had kept barely liminal for many years and only just started dealing with openly.

I'm still not sure exactly how that past affected our current situation. It certainly affected our "intimacy" on a physical level, and I do think that she has thrown up emotional barriers. Most of all is the fact that when someone suggested that she was experiencing emotional abuse in her marriage (I've been trying to listen to the reasoning for this, but as of now, I still call bullshit on that), I think that this may have triggered some kind of extreme defensive response. Heck, it might be at the root of the whole thing, though I hesitate to try to identify one root cause for the fantastic clusterfuck of a situation that we're in.


ME: BH, 28
Her: WW, 27
DD: 4
Married 6 Years.
DDay: Early May, 2013
Divorced

Posts: 223 | Registered: May 2013
Rise And Shine
Member
Member # 27513
Default  Posted: 12:32 PM, June 21st (Friday)

I don't believe character changes.

We're not empty slates at the time of our birth. We're born with specific character traits. Some people are born with character traits so fucked up that not even the child-raising experts can change. God help us not to marry one of them and help us if we do.

I still believe that most people are inherently good despite having gone through infidelity. But I also believe that most inherently good people have nurture-related poor character that interferes with their goodness. Of those people, some will find their way while others will take their poor character to the grave with them.

It's not always easy to spot poor character in an inherently good person. I unknowingly married an inherently good man with very poor character but it took a specific situation to discover it. I only cared about what was behind his poor character to the extent of being able to determine if it was inherent in him or not.

Poor character is the bottom line. Inherent or not inherent is the only question.


April 25, 2009

Posts: 3263 | Registered: Feb 2010
20WrongsVs1
Member
Member # 39000
Default  Posted: 12:39 PM, June 21st (Friday)

db, I'm sorry she (and you!) was abused and marginalized like that, but given our similar symptoms--it fit. It doesn't excuse our behavior, but it provides a framework for healing, and for me IC has been a Godsend.

FWIW, these two things really helped me make the decision to start therapy:

1) I read "The Sexual Healing Journey" by Wendy Maltz, which made clear the A had zero to do with my M, and everything to do with my own damage.

2) I was scared to start IC. So I went to rainn.org and had a (free, confidential) chat session with a counselor. She said this:

You were hurt during your developing years, repressed those intense feelings and memories so when you were triggered it sounds like they resurfaced with a vengeance. You were not sure how to handle those emotions and feel they consumed you, so it makes sense that you've had a difficult time building relationships and trusting others. When you were hurt he not only violated you but violated the trust you had towards others. Some people live their entire lives never addressing their past and emotions, and instead try to forget about it or continue to use unhealthy coping mechanisms.

Sound familiar?


fWW: 42
BH: 52
DDay: April 21, 2013
Sweet DS & fierce DD, under 10
"Between stimulus and response there’s a space, in that space lies our power to choose our response, in our response lies our growth and our freedom." V. Frankl

Posts: 1185 | Registered: Apr 2013 | From: Redneck land
Skye
Member
Member # 325
Default  Posted: 1:33 PM, June 21st (Friday)

It's not always easy to spot poor character in an inherently good person. I unknowingly married an inherently good man with very poor character but it took a specific situation to discover it.

You said that so much better than I could have. Thanks.


Posts: 5621 | Registered: Jul 2002
nofool4u
Member
Member # 38509
Default  Posted: 12:31 PM, July 5th (Friday)

I also have never understood the whole, "I've had opportunities and never partook".

That is spoken by those of us who can say it and mean it.

[This message edited by nofool4u at 12:31 PM, July 5th (Friday)]


Me - fBS

Posts: 210 | Registered: Feb 2013
Sad in AZ
Member
Member # 24239
Default  Posted: 12:45 PM, July 5th (Friday)

As best as I can tell with the X, it was a case of arrested development. The OW was one of the 'cool kids' at work. The X always wanted to be part of the cool crowd in school. She was his ticket to popularity.

That's pretty much how he described it.


I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.

Posts: 20180 | Registered: Jun 2009 | From: Upstate NY
sisoon
Member
Member # 31240
Default  Posted: 1:06 PM, July 5th (Friday)

What broke my W's A is that ow made so many demands that my W exhausted herself. On D-Day, she had committed to doing something with ow but felt she couldn't do it without causing a car accident and hurting herself badly.

I asked a question that led her to reveal the A. Morality and the understanding of how much she was hurting me and our M played at best a small part (5%) in her ending the A.

She couldn't eat or sleep out of fear of being outed by ow. I odn;t know if that was related to knowing she was violating promises, vows, etc.

Yup. I'm still angry about her ignoring me during the A - but my anger diminishes as time goes on.

ETA: oops, I didn't realize this was an old thread to which I had already responded.

[This message edited by sisoon at 1:07 PM, July 5th (Friday)]


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: 10103 | Registered: Feb 2011 | From: Chicago area
Topic Posts: 57