Yes, I get triggered by this stuff too. My husband also works at a place where affairs are at least somewhat common. When we moved here a decade ago we were good friends with three couples, with all of the husbands working where my husband does. In that time frame, three of the four men have cheated on their wives, including my husband. Half of the people in my husband’s department have had workplace or industry affairs.
I’m a teacher. I’ve never known of anyone in my workplace having an affair. I guess where there’s a will there’s a way, but I barely have time to breathe, eat or pee. It’s not like i have time to sit around and chat up my colleagues. Many encounters in my husband’s line of work are little more than intellectual circle jerks where everyone is super into how smart and free thinking they are. I would say the average teacher is a rule follower, where the average person in my husband’s profession sees themself as above the rules. Pretty sure my husband’s affair partner sees me as dumb little teacher mom, not worthy of the same respect as extra special smart important humans like her.
So yeah, I get triggered. Can you tell? 😂
I sometimes get caught in a comparison trap where I beat myself up for being so devastated by my husband’s affair. After all, he’s not like friend one’s husband, who doubled down on 15 years of being a self absorbed a-hole by cheating with a 20 year old. And I’m not in friend two’s situation, where she barely survived cancer and bunches of horrific treatments only to have her husband exit affair her with a coworker. Nor am i friend three, whose husband pathologically hid a long term affair and then financially screwed her in the divorce when things came out.
Being able to differentiate between different people in different situations is valuable, and having some level of perspective and ability to count your blessings is helpful. But other people’s affairs are going to be triggering, because despite varying degrees of betrayal and fallout, all affairs have a glaring commonality: one person decided their desires mattered more than commitment, fair treatment, honesty, or true partnership. One person decided they mattered more than their partner, and that they were going to unilaterally call the most devastating possible shots.
Your husband’s “their life, not ours” approach shows he’s not attuned to the fact that he is connected to those people by a similar selfishness: the selfishness he shares with everyone who decides to step out on their spouse. He may need to work on that, and he definitely needs to be more sensitive to you.
[This message edited by Grieving at 8:01 PM, Wednesday, October 5th]