Advertisements

The anatomy of an affair


Happy marriages experience affairs. It’s true. Hard to wrap one’s head around, I know. I’ve been there, and shook my head in disbelief too.

Being betrayed by your spouse, someone who is supposed to love, honour and cherish you, is the most significant betrayal of all, and cuts so deeply. Trying to understand an affair with a rational mind is not an easy task, partially because affairs aren’t usually a rational thing.

I would like to recount an experience of mine, if I can, in the aftermath of my affair, something that made me vulnerable to having an affair of my own (No, don’t worry, I didn’t, but the vulnerability was there).

A few weeks after I discovered my husband’s affair, a male friend of mine who was also working as my real estate agent, spent some time with me over coffee. I told him about the affair, and about the child. I guess, in retrospect, I wanted a man’s opinion on why it happened, not from the mouth of my husband, who, at the time, I felt would tell me anything just to clear his name. I wanted someone OBJECTIVE. My admission of something so personal, caused him to also open up to me. He told me that he always found me attractive, and that the first time we’d met, he’d felt something for me. I was flattered. When I didn’t rebuff him for that comment, he took a step further, and told me that he sometimes thinks of me in sexual ways. Again, feeling awkward, I didn’t rebuff him, but I expressed gratitude for him having shared that with me. So he took it another step further…

He ended up sending me a picture of himself naked. He also shared with me the fantasies that he had been having about me. They were pretty graphic. I will admit, it felt very awkward, but also felt so good at the same time. My husband had just cheated on me, so I assumed, as many wives do, that he must not find me attractive, and here is this man, professing his attraction for me, and going out on a limb to send me such a personal communication. I was so flattered, and wanted to spend more time with him, so that I could hear more about how he felt I was attractive. I was drawn in at a time when I needed that kind of attention.

Eventually, he asked me to send a picture of myself as well. I am pretty body-conscious, so I wasn’t prepared to provide a naked image of myself, nor did I think it was appropriate. I knew that I was married, and that my husband wouldn’t approve. But I was also angry with him, and wanted to get him back for what he has done. I ended up sending this gentleman a picture of my self in my bra and underwear. His reaction was intense. He affirmed once again that I was absolutely stunning, and I was on cloud nine. It felt so good to be appreciated by someone.

I started to feel incredibly guilty, and this had only gone on for a couple of weeks. I have not had sex with him, touched him, or kissed him. I simply basked in the glow if his loving comments. I ended up telling my husband about it, and he was incensed. He ended up calling the man, and asking him to never speak with me again. Suffice it to say, he is no longer our real estate agent 🙂

I say this because, in that moment, I was incredibly vulnerable. I was vulnerable to his advances, the attention, and the affection. I had just been told my husband had slept with another woman, and I desperately needed attention. I sought it in a very destructive way. Looking back, I loved my husband. I was head over heels for my husband. I would never want to do anything to hurt him. And yet, I found myself quickly involved in something that I couldn’t get myself out of, without telling him about it. I needed to tell him, so that he could help me get out.

All of this to say, it’s very easy to slip down a slippery slope, when you’re not feeling good about yourself. It doesn’t have to have anything to do with your spouse. Maybe you are passed up for promotion at work, maybe you feel like you’re in a dead-end job. Maybe you just experienced the death of a parent. Perhaps a new baby has come into your life, and the stress seems insurmountable. You’re looking for an escape, anything to get your mind off of your struggles. You need something new, something fresh, something different, or something completely destructive. This is how affairs happen. It isn’t because you worked pretty enough. It isn’t because you’re not thin enough. It isn’t because you don’t satisfy him. It’s because of something deep within him, that only he knows, that he needs to explore. Individual therapy around this is incredibly helpful.

Learning what the vulnerabilities are, and how to look out for them, is crucial. Learning how to really talk to your spouse, to communicate, to admit when you have an attraction to someone. That last one is a biggie. Most of us think that is a no-no. We’re attracted to someone on the street, and heaven forbid we actually tell our spouse!! I now understand that I was naïve in thinking before that my husband would only ever find me attractive. I have features that my husband finds attractive, and I share some of those features with other women. He’s naturally going to find them attractive as well. But it’s being able to admit that one find it attractive and someone else, and talking to your spouse about it. If that person works with you, putting up safeguards to prevent yourself from taking it a step further. Having knowledge of your vulnerabilities, allows you to protect yourself from yourself.

We are ALL vulnerable to an affair. Affairs happen in good marriages, and to good people. You don’t see them coming, the slope is slippery and gradual, and before you know it, the moral compass that has kept you on track, suddenly slides a little to one side. You don’t even know that it’s moved. You see what you are doing as OK because ________ (add your own justification here). The change is so gradual you don’t see it, like someone losing weight slowly over time. Before you know it, you are in an affair, and feeling badly about yourself, stuck, and unsure of how to make it stop without destroying your spouse.

According to Anne & Brian Bercht, there are many factors which render an individual vulnerable to an affair. They fall into several categories: Personal (work, family, self esteem, sex life), Marital (bad communication, money, childrearing, equality), Environmental (friends, the effects of others, pornography, work situations), and Opportunity factors (opportunities which make an affair more possible).

Although the list has more than 200 of them, and it is growing daily, some of the vulnerabilities include:

Personal:

  • Financial setbacks at work
  • Demotion
  • Workaholism
  • Boredom at work/feeling like this is all you will ever have
  • Feeling small, impotent, or unimportant
  • Loss of parent
  • Recent move to a new neighbourhood
  • Self-conscious about changing body (receding hairline, bulging mid-section)
  • Menopause
  • Medications
  • Boring sex life
  • Flirty personality
  • Change of career
  • Depression
  • Lack of same sex friends
  • Unresolved childhood issues
  • Naive thinking “this will never happen to me, I am not that kind of person, I would see the signs, my co-workers aren’t attractive…”
Marital
  • LAck of openness and communication
  • Feel unheard
  • Unresolved conflicts
  • Unloved
  • Lack of spousal support
  • Unrealistic domestic responsibilities
  • Feel “put down by spouse”
  • Lack of admiration/attention/affection
  • Lack of time together
  • Pornography usage interfering with marital sex
  • Lack of sex
Environmental
  • Interference from others/family into your marriage
  • In-laws or family moving in with you
  • Aging parents and the stress of caregiving
  • Are affairs condoned in the workplace?
  • Married friends who complain about their marriages/sex lives
  • Having friends who are single
  • Working shift work
Opportunity
  • Work closely with opposite sex team members
  • Out of town travel
  • 1 on 1 dinners with opposite sex
  • Work promoting non-spousal events
  • Flirting with others at social events
  • Coaching kids sports teams
  • Holding a position of authority
  • Wearing a uniform to work
  • Having outward signs of financial success
  • Being pursued by the affair partner
Although the above points are far from complete, there are simply too many to list, and I don’t want to reproduce the hard work that has gone into compiling this resource for couples who attend the retreat seminars.
What I didn’t realize was how many vulnerabilities there are to an affair. It is never as simple on the inside as it seems on the outside. Men/women don’t wake up one morning and decide that they are going to risk their marriages for a cheap fling with an easy lay. Instead, they are vulnerable for many of the reasons above, and then an opportunity exists for them. Without talking to their spouse openly about their feelings, their self-esteem, their risky behaviours, etc., they are at high risk of slipping down the slope.
Affairs aren’t always about sex. As women, we equate sex and love and assume he must love her. Not true. Men have sex for sex. Women have sex for love and connection. We can’t judge our husband’s decision to engage in sex by looking through the female lens – that will only lead to hurt when we think that we are the same. We aren’t. We need to look at it the way that THEY did, so that we can understand the intentions, because intentions matter. Affairs may have nothing to do with wanting sex or the quality of the sex they are getting from the OW. In my husband’s case, sex with her wasn’t better, in fact it was meaningless and that felt bad emotionally for him. It was mechanical. She would make strange faces which he found creepy, and his genitals burned when they were done (she is acid….are we surprised? No, there was no STD). Was her vagina tighter than mine? Yes. She’d never had children, so in that way, we were different, but the tight sensations didn’t make up for the intimacy that he was missing. Some men want to feel valued, some want to feel sexy, others want to feel young, others want to feel important to someone, others want to feel dangerous and adventurous in what they have deemed to be a boring life, and some just want reaffirmation that they still “have it”. Many times, it speaks to men lacking something emotionally, and that brings me to a whole new paragraph….
Men are not in touch with their feelings the way that women are. Men are conditioned to not talk about their feelings, and to deny them. They grow up emotionally starved and then we ask them to thrive emotionally. We wouldn’t ask a handicapped person to walk when they can’t. We wouldn’t ask a child to do something that they don’t know HOW to do, and mock them when they fail. We would understand that they are limited, and try to optimize their potential by exercising that muscle. When men aren’t in touch with their feelings, and are suddenly demoted at work, their potency, their impact, their influence are considered null and void. They are nothing. Men are also trained to be good providers, to always move forward, and to climb the ladder of success. To fail, to be fired, to be turned down for a promotion…it makes them feel shameful and embarrassed. Their self esteem is gone. Now, as women, we would say “losing your job says nothing about who you are, or how much you are loved and valued”, but men won’t come to us to gain that insight because they don’t talk about their feelings. The result is a man who feels badly about himself, and has no one to help alter this disastrous thinking for him, so it is absorbed and becomes part of his self-evaluation. All he needs now is an opportunity to meet a woman who is interested, single (or married but looking), who will shower him with compliments about his abilities (something his wife may not be doing because she doesn’t feel she needs to – we take for granted that he knows this, but rarely do we continue to reinforce this for them when life gets in the way). Now the woman who is interested is making him feel good, and he likes feeling good, so he wants to spend more time with her. She flatters him some more, strokes his fractured ego, and before he knows it, he is going out of his way to see her, and not telling you about it. He justifies it by saying that he hasn’t done anything WRONG, so you don’t need to know. He sees no need to mention something so insignificant. Slowly, his moral boundary which used to be firmly planted, with clear demarcations for proper and improper behaviour is shifted two degrees to the left. What was once close to improper is now seen as “ok” because it is justified away. Slowly, it moves further and further away, the slope becoming steeper and steeper, until he does something physically or emotionally that would devastate his wife. He is on the WRONG SIDE of his moral compass, and now can’t get back. What he needed to do was talk to his wife, when he first started feeling an attraction to spending time with her, and ask his wife to help him figure out what he is missing. If he feels supported and they can have these open conversations without her going mental, he can feel safe to tell her, and vice versa. She will help pull his moral compass back, and he won’t cross the line. It is the crucial ability to be able to COMMUNICATE that makes the difference.
My husband is a good man. He is an upstanding gentleman in a position of authority who works closely with members of the opposite sex. While his work schedule does not require travel, he does do shift work. At the time of my husband’s affair, his father had been arrested for having committed an act that he didn’t realize was wrong. As an only child of divorced parents, his same sex parent, with whom he felt most connected, was suddenly at risk of going away to jail. We had a 15 month old child at home, leaving me tired, and likely not as interested in sex. We had two other older children whose programs and schooling took up a great deal of our parental attention. At the time of his affair, he’d come to the realization that this was as good as it was going to get at work. He was bored, unstimulated and unfulfilled. Our children, who are young, prevented us from having a lot of alone time, and by the time we were alone, we were tired. It didn’t bode well for constructive conversation, patience, or understanding. In fact, we spent a lot of time competing over whose life was harder. And then he met HER. She was young, in the same line of work so they were able to have conversations about shared knowledge that I don’t possess, seemingly fun, energetic, and representational of a time in his life that was long gone (university days and all that comes with it, and she was still living that life, and he missed it). She represented fun and freedom (she is single). She praised him. She told him he was smart. She sought his advice in their field and now he was feeling important, and that he was useful (was bored before). She told him he was attractive and praised his physique. In essence, she fed his ego at a time when he needed it. He slipped, and then he justified his actions. Then he felt bad about it, and about himself, so he did it more (it’s like self soothing, I guess, but with a destructive soothing mechanism). When it got to be more than he could bear, guilt-wise, he told me, and asked for my help.
His affair happened, not because he was looking for an affair. Not because of any lack of anything on my part, not because he is a bad man. It happened because the stage was set, and we didn’t even know there was a play 😉
Advertisements

Comments

  1. This makes it sound like under these circumstances, an affair is inevitable, and that it’s unreasonable for women to expect their husbands to talk to them instead of cheating because they aren’t used to talking about their feelings, insecurities, etc., and I’m sorry, but I don’t agree. Men aren’t inexorably drawn along and can’t help themselves, they make a choice. They choose to have an affair. At any point up to the moment a married man chooses to cross that line and sleep with a (I’ll just say it) whore, he could have spoken up about what was happening in his life. Even if it’s difficult for him, he could at least try. But he doesn’t because it’s easier and more of an ego boost to make himself feel better, even if comes at the expense of his wife. At least that’s how it feels from where I’m standing. Even if men just have sex for sex, I don’t believe for a moment a cheating spouse thinks their partner feels the same way about it. In fact, they know their partner doesn’t feel the same way about it, which is why they go to all the trouble of hiding it. Understanding the why behind an affair doesn’t change the fact that it is a vicious, selfish, cruel act, and to be honest, it has changed my view of a man I once thought was one of the best people I know. Maybe irrevocably, because I can’t separate his behavior from his character. I know that forgiveness is a process. Maybe with time, I’ll feel differently. But so far, I don’t.

    I’ve been wanting to ask you a question since I started reading your blog, but I’ve been reluctant because I worry it will be painful. I hope it isn’t and that I’m not way out of line. I know your husband confessed the affair to you, but was his motivation for doing so because the OW was pregnant and he knew there was no hiding that from you? It sounds like the pregnancy was what set the true collapse of the affair in motion. Did he feel backed into a corner? Had she not become pregnant, would he have continued on with her until he found another way to end things? Would have confessed to you? I know you can’t really say what would have happened, only what did, but I’ve wondered if the two of you have talked about that? Maybe your husband will address that in his guest posts. In my case, I don’t really feel like it was any driving need on his part to make things right, but because the OW was about to out him and inform all of my friends and family that his son had just been born. I suspect that if he could have kept it a secret forever, he would have. Maybe that’s an unfair assumption, but I don’t have much faith in the character of a man who could lie so effortlessly for so long.

    Thank you for your blog and the insight and comfort you offer to others, even in the midst of your own pain. It helps to read and talk about it. More than you know.

    • I appreciate your point of view, and know that we won’t all agree. What is important is finding out what makes sense for your situation, given the information that has been shared with you. Our situations, and our husband’s reasons won’t match.

      I don’t think that it is inevitable, and that because men are programmed not to talk about their feelings, that they won’t. It is simply that when men are in trouble emotionally, most don’t reach out, the way we do, and it is exactly at those moments, when he is feeling ‘less than’ and needing to be picked up that he needs to say so, and so few actually do, or can. Of course it is a choice and a very selfish one. They aren’t thinking of us at all, which to me almost is better in that he wasn’t intentionally looking for a way to hurt me, but that it was a selfishly motivated act to harness for himself what he was feeling he was lacking, internally, emotionally, etc. My husband is a talker, and a sharer, and an emotive person, and yet even he could not vocalize to me what was going on. The problem was, he didn’t see it as a problem. He now understands that it was a major vulnerability and he knows better how to communicate with me around how he is feeling and know that I will help him, not judge, and not fly off the handle. He feels safe to do so, and I think that is important. I don’t say that as a blanket statement for all men, that they will cheat because they can’t talk/share, but it is a major point of becoming vulnerable if you can’t seek out your spouse, and choose to turn away from them, instead of turning towards them.

      You are right – it was a choice. He wasn’t drugged, and he wasn’t raped. He was of sound mind and chose to do something that violated me, but not with that as his intention, but as a tragic consequence to a truly selfish decision.

      You wrote: “At any point…he could have spoken up about what was happening in his life…he could at least try”. I agree, and yet I don’t. As an idealist, I would say so, that in the ideal world, he would go against his natural reactions, and combat a life of programming to communicate with me because he knows that he is in trouble and that talking to me would be the remedy…but that’s just idealism. What if he doesn’t recognize that his current problems make him vulnerable to an affair? I am sure many people would read the list above, and say “THAT makes me vulnerable to an affair??? They aren’t even connected!”, and yet they are because of how they make you FEEL about YOURSELF, and what you then choose to do in order to self-soothe. So, what if a man doesn’t see his problems as a big deal, not worth talking about, not worth taking the time because he doesn’t see them as making him vulnerable? What if a man doesn’t know that talking it out with your spouse would be the remedy to the feelings that lead him down that path? If he doesn’t know that it would help, why would he engage in it, especially if he doesn’t see the problem as being that big in the first place? What if he, like many men, feel shame about needing or asking for help in an emotional arena? We all know men….they don’t even like to ask for directions. 🙂

      You mentioned that no spouse feels that their cheating partner approaches sex in the same way as them. My reality makes that statement untrue. True for some, but not for me. I firmly believed that my husband was different. He likes to have candles when we are together. He likes soft music. He sees sex as a bonding and relaxation, a time to connect. He and I used to talk openly and he would say that he needs a strong emotional connection in order to have sex. So, to discover this made me question the truthfulness of all he had conveyed. It turns out that men and women do approach sex differently, and I didn’t know that it was so extreme. A man can have an erection under duress, as was the case with my husband some of the time. No woman would feel aroused by being forced into sex, or told that not engaging will bring them negative consequences, and yet my husband did it. We now realize that my husband does see sex as gentle and intimate and loving, the way that I do – but that is the way he needs it to be when he is with me, his soft place. With her, it was mechanical and empty and by his own admission, a lot of the time he hated it.

      To answer your questions (and no, you aren’t crossing a line by asking because I am happy to share – the reason I blog in the first place)…

      My husband was pressured by the OW to tell me for a long time. He hoped that he would be able to get rid of her in a subtle way so that she would gradually drop off, no hurt feelings, just a gradual fade. He admits that he would not have told me, if she had just left – not right away. He would have wanted to wait until there was some distance from the affair to tell me. He estimated somewhere around 5 years. I was shocked that he wouldn’t have told me, but I also understand the desire to try and get away with something awful, and hope that it doesn’t bite you. Why walk into a fire you created yourself? But, it still hurts that he would have hidden that from me for even a little while. In the end, it wasn’t the pregnancy that made him tell me. She oscillated between abortion and keeping the baby, and he didn’t know what she would ultimately choose. When he decided to tell me, was on a vacation we returned from 3 days before disclosure. He says that he watched me walking on the beach, smiling at him, and holding his hand and I looked happy. He basked in how happy I looked and it warmed his heart, and then broke it at the same time when he realized that I am happy because I am oblivious. He felt as though he was allowing ME to live a lie, and that I deserved true happiness, and to know the absolute truth so that I could make my own happiness happen, even if it wasn’t with him. Those were the words he used as his opener…”You have been living your life without the full awareness and I want you to be able to make decisions for yourself based on sound knowledge…” I thought he was telling me that I needed to take some courses in money management so that I could make sound decisions for myself and be independent 😉 But then, it all came clear as his sentences continued….

      Brian Bercht mentioned this weekend, how after a man (or woman) crosses the line, and they realize it, it is now too late. The guilt sets in, and they can’t remove it or back up. They start playing the “hoping game”. They hope she will lose interest. They hope she will get hit by a bus. They hope someone else will show interest in her and she will transfer to a new guy. They hope they can hold the secret. They hope….

      Some men disclose due to coercion from the OW. In my case, she coached him through a “breakup speech”, to end things with me. He had months to do that dance with her, and went back and forth on telling me. He almost told me months before she got pregnant, but didn’t because of my reaction to a friend’s affair. I was disgusted by her, and voiced it to him that if anyone ever did that to me, so help them….he clammed up. I wish I hadn’t said that, because he would have come clean and there would be no baby.

      • I just have to say, I find it so reassuring that you seem to have reached a place of such peace and happiness in spite of this devastating experience. There’s no bitterness in your words, just healing. I admire that so much.

        I should clarify that I didn’t mean an approach to sex in general, but specifically to the sex that takes place in an affair. A man (or woman) might justify their actions by convincing themself it’s just sex, but their deceived spouse feels very differently about it. It’s not “just” anything to the person they hurt.

        Also, I think you’re taking on a burden that rightfully belongs on the shoulders of your husband when you blame yourself for the baby because of something you said. That isn’t fair or right. He made the choice, not you. Maybe its your way of sharing the burden with him, though. Even though I don’t think any of this is your fault.

      • I should clarify my final statements, I guess. I don’t shoulder ANY of the responsibility for his actions. HE acted alone, and what I said or did or didn’t do had no bearing in that. I am just regretful that due to the affair of a friend and the circumstances at the time, that he didn’t feel he could come to me and tell me…so he held it in, and the affair continued and a child was conceived. I don’t hold any blame, but I do regret that circumstance.

        I understand what you were saying before about the sex for sex. For his affair partner, it wasn’t just sex either – she was emotionally connected, and he just wasn’t. With her, it was just sex. He didn’t even really LIKE her, thought she was immature eventually, and just saw her as a means to sex. It didn’t matter WHO she was, it mattered that she provided him with something he wanted, emotionally and physically. For him, it was all about sex. He never wanted a relationship, he didn’t want a commitment, he had one with me. He just found himself embroiled in something he never planned, and then felt trapped in it.

        Part of our healing comes from learning how the other views things. True empathy comes when you can step into the shoes of the other. He knows that I equate love and sex, and intimacy. Therefore, I would judge his affair through that lens. THat would not be accurate, because he didn’t see it that way. I had to look at the affair through his eyes, to see that he (and other men) can compartmentalize so well.

      • ‘Rescueing my marriage’, I feel like you and I are on the same page now.

        When you responded to “At any point…he could have spoken up about what was happening in his life…he could at least try”. I completely agree. In my case, my husband didnt recognize that he was in a vulnerable place, and he didnt know how to talk about it. He never was one to talk about ‘feelings’. Our marriage counselling has taught him that he needs to do this, otherwise he cant expect me to be able to read his mind about what’s bothering him. And now when we do talk, we do our best to listen and hear eachother so that we both feel validated in our feelings.

        Also, in my situation, my husband said he most likely wouldnt have told me if there had not been a child involved. There was lots of pressure before the child was concieved to “tell your wife or I will” but nothing ever came of it. He too, hoped that the relationship (if you can call it that) would just fade away. He had tried to end it with her in the past, but again, she threatened to ‘tell your wife’, so he was hoping to wait it out until she tired of waiting for him. Unfortunatly she decided to take matters into her own hands and go off birth control without telling my husband, thinking this would solve all her problems. My husband said if there wasnt a child involved, he wouldnt have told me becuase he didnt want to risk hurting me. Although I may not agree with this, I’ve come to understand why my husband made many of the choices he made.

        Maren, I think it takes time before you can learn to separate your husbands character from his behaviour. Lots of counselling, hard work, and dedication to my marraige has taught me how to do this.

      • Even I feel that sometimes they won’t wnt to tell because it is for the better. Just imagine, if she had not got pregnnt or not kept the bby and faded from his life like he was expecting it was because he wanted to spare you the pain of years. He wanted tot take the pain on him for rest of life wihout hurting you.
        I also beleive that you should write more about what kind of crisis are these so that healing couples or otherwise can understnd the better.

  2. Becky Benjamin says:

    Strange how the blood flow to the man’s penis defines the moral character of his brain and the lack of obvious human capabilities of caring and love and compassion these all go with fidelity, morality . in marriage infidelity is like murder as the act of infidelity requires death. the murder of the cheaters spouse would be far less painful . The cheater kills his own self that is capable of faithful love he destroys every loving part of the marriage ,the spouse thekids the job it all leaves a feeling of desperation to suddenly be less than he ever has been to be lower than whale shit at the bottom of the ocean . So off he goes to play in the dump of his life. It’s never enough for them to have your heart cause you play by the “rules” while all their childish wants go unfulfilled not fair to the immature selfcentered cheater. The only rules they have are I see I WANT I gotta have sounds like a few toddlers we all know or have raised. WOW so how does an adult (hands over ears yelling lalalala ) justify heartlessly dehumanizing their spouse, utterly nasty, disgusting,deliberate cruelty(yes cheating and lying) as if that will make whoring around respectable? Yea and shit don’t stink . When did any spouse commit to more than the spouse they married ? My husband can take his whores back to the county landfill where he dug them up he can plant them deeper than he found them otherwise he can stay and play in the sewer with his skanky adultering whore rats. I personally don’t dig up trash nor will I have any skanky nasty trash . SO wash off the skanky smell of cheating ,lying clean up your life or we won’t have one together.

  3. Wow so much to think about here … great post.

    I am a man who equates sex and love. Physical enjoyment is heightened by intimacy and shared experience. A one night stand is hard to imagine for me. So I think the ’empty sex’ thing about men is a generalization.

    I am also a man who never shared his feelings until after discovering my wife’s 2+ year sexual/emotional affair (both a contributing factor and a positive from the rubble). I share much now that my wife cannot talk as much as I need and I have made new friends and talk openly.

    I have become emotionally closer to people other than my wife. She knows this and encourages it because she knows I need it to recover and I have learned at the age of 45 that I really like people. Slow learner. 😉

    I especially like women as they are way more open, less judgemental and more comfortable with emotional topics than men. Sorry women … I never appreciated how truly wonderful you are!

    I will also freely admit (and tell my wife every time it happens) that I find other women beautiful in one way or another and I am attracted to them. It could be physical, intellectual, emotional or other qualities but when people open up there is an undeniable pull. I have to stop myself from telling a woman I am talking to “by the way, you are exquisitely beautiful because …” and list all her wonderful qualities.

    I could never do to another guy what my wife and her affair partner did to me. I have never had an affair myself. My closest friend now is a woman at work. She does not know about my wife’s affair. I not only tell my wife about her but we go out as two couples. I also have a night out with her husband alone just to talk. Without that it becomes secret and secrecy is one of three crucial elements in affairs. The other two are emotional intimacy (I need that from other women as my wife struggles with it due to child sexual abuse) and sexual tension (which is there but never acted upon).

    I have never kissed, touched or in any way sexually engaged with anyone other than my wife. But the fact that I *want* to do this with some women I meet and talk to does not stop me from having a friendship with them. These feelings are natural and normal, it’s the actions taken that matter most.

    My wife encourages me to seek relationships with women but she also worries and I want to Iisten and respond to her concerns.

    We are rebuilding our marriage, I am recovering from my wife’s affair and she is exploring her abuse history. I could not cope without my cross-gender relationships, which are intimate in a way. I have also discovered I want to have those relationships (regardless) as long as everybody is aware and OK with it.

    So far so good … one day at a time.

  4. One more vulnerability is watching Pron. My husband developed that habit while travelling for his job and that led to an affair with co-worker who too was watching Pron like him.

    • It can also be a symptom of an affair. Sometimes people in affairs take on a whole host of other atypical behaviors while they are in it. For some, they do it because they’ve already passed the line of forbidden, others do it with the AP in order to add spice. In some cases it is also a vulnerability, when one feels they have to look outside the marriage for excitement.

      • No in my case he started travelling for a job from Aug 2010. Mon – Thurs every week from NJ to MA. He started watching Porn which was shown in hotel to releive stress since then and the affair started in Sept 2011 when his company placed him on other project in Austin TX where again he travelled from Mon -Thurs. every week. I could feel the change and had doubts but no proof. He used to pick fight, keep his cell to his heart, find excuses to be alone frequently but after 18 yrs of marriage I had no idea that this might be an affair. I THOUGHT THAT travelling and job is giving him stress due to which he is irritated. He is very successful at work making good money and this junior of his was tempted to milk him.THIS OW was also Pron addict and my husband started giving ride to her from hotel to work and from work to hotel. After a week or so she started talking about Porn which she had watched and that tiltilated him as he too was watching it. So he kept giving her rides and eventually started fantasicing about her and the Porn which he watched. Soon he went down the slippary road. She manuplited him telling him that your wife doesnt love you because she does not talk trashy like this with you. She told him that she is the only one who can give him pleasure like the way people in those movies have. She told this is fun with no frills attached. No commitment and he was so stupid to beleive. Within 2 months of starting the sexual relationship, she started comparing herself with me and slowly started to work towards replacing me. In Aug 2012 he came across some website and realized his stupidity by the grace of God. Stopped watching pron. Left that Job which made him travel and found a local job in NJ but still that addiction which was in his mind due to the Porn which he had watched for so long did not go and he could not cut all the ties with this women. He came back on Oct 12th but still kept in touch with her by emails, calls and txt. I always do the accounts and as he had left his job, I had to settle the credit card which was given by his employer for travel expenses. He told me to pay 9000 in the card and close the card while we received 1900 from his employer as expenses. I asked for the statement because this did not make sense. He refused so I called the card company got the statement and everything fell apart. Lots of gifts, cards, expensive dinners on company’s credit card. At that point I was at work and felt like my world is shattered. I then logged on to wireless a/c to check call logs and text logs and was shocked to see that some 300 plus texts sent and received per day to same number. In the evening I confronted him and he refused stating it is just a friend. But I showed him the printouts of credit card statements from 2011 – 2012, call logs and text logs so he admitted. Since then I am on this roller coaster ride. I had blind faith on him and he used it in his favor. It’s a long sad story. We are attending therepy and planing to attend healing from affairs weekend in north east. He is showing remorse. He cries with me . He has told me all the truth. He got caught on 23rd Oct 2012 and since 25th Oct 2012 he has cut all the modes of contacts with OW. Closed the secret email id, we changed our phone numbers and right now he is working hard to restore trust but I still am stuck in past. I cry every day. I haven’t slept peacefully since Oct 23rd. I badly need help. I often get sucidial thoughts. At times I want revenge on the OW and it seems I am going crazy. I badly need help. Please pray for me.

  5. And not to mention… the OW who was intent on getting your husband from the starting.
    Really, there are women out there who just don’t care. They just set off to get a man, say the right things and do the right things to get the man and when they can’t get it, they try to get his money using the baby card. Thanks to the so called child support system which is no longer meant for children but a means of revenge and stalking and causing trouble in the marriage by the OW. because neither the wife’s children get their rightful money nor the money is spent on the child by the OW and still there is no restriction on the OW on how to spend the money…. If this is for the child then why do they do this? NO its all about money and revenge.
    Hey RMM I wanted to inform you that there is a group on http://www.dailystrength.com which consists of ladies who have dealt with an affair and a child. If you can help them out in some ways….

  6. Little bear says:

    This was a very helpful read. Bang on.

Trackbacks

  1. […] then started to learn about what makes a man (or woman) vulnerable to an affair.  There are so many things.   I found myself looking at a list of real reasons for why he had done […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: