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An affair in the making


Man and woman starting an affair

Casual business lunch, or something more?

 

This past week was my birthday. Well, ok, not the ENTIRE week, but one day out of it 🙂

My husband and I went for lunch at a swanky sushi bar downtown where the tables are packed in together like sardines (I am not sure why the swankier the spot, the more crammed the patrons need to be, but that is not for discussion here). The people to our right and left were so close to us, that we might as well be seated at the same table. In fact, had I extended either arm straight out to the side, chances are I would have been inappropriate.

As we sat together, we became aware of a couple to my right (his left) who were dining together. Both were of average height with slim builds. He was dark haired with brown eyes and she was blonde with green eyes. She was facing me, so I had a better glimpse of her. She was thin, athletic, lean and tall. She wore 3-inch heels and a grey dress which hugged her curves tightly. Both had on wedding rings, and both were speaking very animatedly about their work, which I gathered must have been in the same industry or even the same office, as they seemed to familiar with each others’ scenarios and key players. Now, I didn’t mean to listen, but really….we were sitting so close, we may as well have been at the same table, and it was impossible not to catch snippets of their conversation as they lunched.

And then he said it. You know, that one little thing that someone has to say that steers your perception in a totally different direction, and suddenly makes you aware that what you thought was the picture, wasn’t the picture at all? Yes, that thing. He said, ‘My wife doesn’t know how to _______”, and for the life of me, I can’t remember what that something was, but I remember it not being something terribly complex, and the way he said it had an insulting tone to it, as if to say “can you believe it? My wife can’t even ______”. He’d set the stage, he’d put down his wife in front of another woman, and then waited for her to make her move in the game. Would she also admit to not being able to do that thing? Would she normalize that for the husband, making him realize that his wife isn’t the odd one out, and that others also share this inability? Of course not. She immediately leaned in, and started talking about her proficiency in that area, expressing subtle surprise while trying to appear non-judgemental about the fact that his wife now has a one-down.

This, dear readers, was an affair in the making, and we were there to witness it. Two people of the opposite sex, taking time out of their busy downtown jobs in the financial sector to casually have lunch together. Was this a business meeting? Didn’t sound like it. It was far too playful, and a little too personal to be a business lunch. They sat across from one another, playfully talking about their likes, their friends, the activities they like to do in their spare time…it was kind of like speed-dating….except the two of them are married – not to each other.

Several times during the lunch, the man referred to his wife. He would start sentences with “My wife will sometimes….”, and “I told my wife the other day”… Now, to the untrained eye/ear (or to the person who has not been touched by an affair), this might seem like an affair-proofing maneuver to mention the wife often in conversation, but those of us who have been there will know better. He worked his wife into the conversation several times, mentioning her here and there and peppering her name into the topic of the moment. What he was doing, ladies and gentlemen, was testing the waters with the mistress-to-be. He mentions the wife, talks about her, references their activities together like dangling a bait over the mistress head, waiting to see if despite his obvious relationship status which he’s placed out there in the open, whether she will still find the bait attractive and take a nibble. She bit. Despite hearing that he is married, and hearing about the wife, this other woman continued to use body language to signal her interest. She was playing with her hair, touching her neck, talking playfully, and leaning into the table. She would counter everything he would say with some quip of her own, and the two of them agreed with very word the other said. It was like a dance that read like:

Him: I have a wife you know

Her: That sounds great, but are you happy?

Him: I’ve been married for 6 years and we have a two year old son.

Her: I am sure he is adorable, and I can’t wait to meet your son

Him: My wife and I don’t agree about _____

Her: I totally agree with you, you are so right! My feelings on this other matter are ______

Him: I can TOTALLY see why you feel that way, I feel that way too! Look how much we have in common!”

Her: I know, I am a real catch you know, and you’d be so much happier with me

Him: I wish my wife felt that way

Her: Well, we can’t all be perfect like me, you know (squeals of laughter while touching her neck…)

So now she knows he is married, and it doesn’t seem to faze her. He’s put it out there, and she has signalled to him that it doesn’t matter. Mentioning his wife so often in conversation is just a way of saying “hey, let’s be real here. I am married. You know I am married. I am interested in you. We are both going forward here with full knowledge that I am married, and I have no plans to NOT be married or leave my wife, but I am very interested in you, so what do you say?”. When she counters with body language and compliments, she is telling him “look, I know you are married, you’ve mentioned it several times, and yet I am still flirting with you, and signalling to you that you are attractive to me, so obviously your marital status need not play a role in OUR relationship…I’m ok with it”.

We sat there, quietly sharing our thoughts on this conversation. From time to time, I would raise my eyebrows in surprise, and my husband would shake his head. At one point, my husband whispered under his breath “It’s not worth it”. I was so tempted to lean over to the two of them, excuse myself for prying, and then tell them both that it isn’t worth it. The pain that they are going to cause their spouses, their families and HIS child would be enormous. I saw myself tapping him on the shoulder and revealing that my husband had had an affair, and then letting him know to please reconsider. I saw myself doing it, but couldn’t bring myself to actually do it. I can’t save the world, but I did really want to save these two marriages a I bore witness to them on a track to unraveling. “How can I sit here, aware of something that they both are blind to right now since they haven’t seen the ending to this movie, and say/do nothing?”. Let’s face it though, it isn’t my place to approach a random stranger at a restaurant and tell them how to live their life. I just wanted to save someone some pain, but I realize that what is going to happen, is going to happen, and I can only hope that they make the right choices. I also know that while we were sitting there at that restaurant, hundreds of other ‘business lunches’ were going on across the city which weren’t business lunches at all. You can’t save the world.

Never having had an affair, I have to admit that it was interesting to bear witness to the beginning stages of an illicit relationship, to watch the flirtation, and to see the game being played. It is only with these experienced eyes that I am able to decode the true intention behind the behaviours that we witnessed at the table that day. Three years ago, I would have assumed they were on a business date, and thought of how wonderful it is that they get along so well, and seem to have a great working relationship. I am no longer naive. Now, I just know that he wants to get a little on the side, and hopes that his wife won’t ever find out, and that she will be up for it. I hope his wife is strong enough to handle the pain that is coming her way. She’ll need all the strength she can muster. I also hope the woman doesn’t end up getting attached and falling in love with him, thereby turning into a psycho when the man tells her he has no intention of leaving his family…cause that can happen you know.

 

 

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Comments

  1. That’s an interesting post you’ve written there. I can’t say I’ve ever heard it live, my experience with stuff like that has always been something that was brought up later after the affair was found out and it’s like the pink elephant in the room that nobody can see, it is so blaring obvious what was happening at the time, but nobody caught it.

  2. Oh how I would have felt the same way you did! If only I could save someone from the pain I have endured, but we can’t save the world! Sad part is that it is happening all around us! We are a throw away society! If it doesn’t just go the way they want it toss them aside when they find something better yet they know the old stand by will be waiting at home for them. I think the saying is, have your cake and eat too!

  3. Recovering Wayward says:

    I agree with your analysis, except for this point. This is not how most affairs start — they start by a gradual emotional distancing between spouses over time that creates a dangerous vacuum of unmet emotional needs such that a contact like this, a meeting like this, where signals are sent between two potential affair partners becomes possible.

    But I’m thinking you probably guessed correctly by their body language and words. This was a feeling out process. Two likely unhappily married people in a work situation (and by the way, from what I read, most affairs now occur with people met at work) at a meal, sending up subtle signals to see if they are received and accepted. It’s a courtship dance with known rituals, yet both people could come away from this with plausible deniability (if they were witnessed, or if one reacted badly to the vague signals being sent out by the other).

    • I didn’t mean to imply that all affairs start this way, and that unmet needs or dissatisfaction in a marriage COULD play a role. However, it could be a myriad of things, of which marital satisfaction may or may not play into it. There are plenty of married men who claim to have been happily married and who found themselves in an affair. My husband also claims to have been one of those men. When I look back, sure, I could have been more available, and I could have listened more, asked more questions, taken more time. But I also need to give myself some leeway because I also had a baby at home, wasn’t sleeping through the night and was responsible 100% for his day time and night time care. I was exhausted and was doing the best I can. Did it make me a lesser wife? SUre. It probably also made my husband a lesser husband, but it wasn’t because our desire to be 100% to each other was no longer there, we had some extenuating circumstances that also contributed, as I am sure most do. Loss of a parent, job stress, financial worry, feelings of not being able to provide for the family, and fear of failure….they all wreaked havoc on my husband’s emotional and mental state.

      So yes, there are marriages in which distancing happens, laziness sets in and in some cases, attraction falls away…and then the right circumstances are presented. But, there are also situations in which men are very happy, are still in love, still find their wives attractive, are still involved sexually with their spouse, and who find themselves mired in an affair for reasons they can’t understand. It is those men who have a hard time answering the question “why” because to them, they still love their spouse – and can’t understand what happened.

      In this case, I can’t comment on HOW it started, just that the initial phases of play were underway.

      • Recovering Wayward says:

        well then your case is unusual. It’s pretty rare that spouses stray when they are happy in their marriage — unless they are serial cheaters and do it for the thrill, or sex addicts. But not when their critical emotional needs are being met. if that’s the case, then you can’t really “rescue” your marriage — only he can. Because if you are that great of a wife, there’s nothing more you can do. If he’s truly a serial cheater or sex addict, his deficits are entirely within himself and only he can deal with them in cooperation with intensive professional therapy.

        Unless it’s possible that he isn’t being completely honest as to the “why”…

        but I have to take your word for it. So facing this — that you had a very happy and satisfied husband that had an affair nevertheless, what can you actually do about that?

      • I am not saying that I am a perfect wife. Simply reiterating what I have been told in our recovery – that he didn’t cheat because he wasn’t satisfied with me as a wife, or our life together. He was dissatisfied with work, family, money, performance, finances, and feeling constrained and his wife WAS less available than usual, and he didn’t have an appropriate outlet to cope with that strain. He found the affair to be a means to escape. He called it a holiday. He wanted something so outside of reality that he could just put reality away for a little while. I would find it hard to insist that I was a perfect wife. No one is perfect. But, there were no signs to me, and our marriage was seemingly happy. His admission is that he was happy and couldn’t have expected more from me…he just expects more from himself.

        I would agree with you that it is rare indeed.

      • Recovering Wayward says:

        I see. But if that’s true, there’s actually not much YOU can do to “rescue” your marriage, because all of his issues are not about you, correct?

      • I would disagree with you. I can rescue my marriage every day from the potential of this ever happening again, by learning more, opening my eyes, putting in the work, improving my communication and ensuring that both of us are honest and open about how fulfilled we are in this union. In that way, I am protecting my marriage. By choosing to stay with a man who lied to me, deceived me, fathered a child with another woman and hoped I’d never find out, I am making a choice to rescue my marriage from being a statistic. I am rescuing my family. I am rescuing us. He is doing the same…he just doesn’t have a blog 😉

        http://www.thestar.com/living/article/764219–when-your-spouse-cheats

        Brian Bercht loved his wife. They had nightly sex, and it was passionate and great sex by his own admission. He loved his wife and family, and yet felt unfulfilled in his LIFE, not his marriage. He found himself attracted to another woman and started an affair – something he never thought he could do. It happens to perfectly happily married people. Not always, but it does.

      • Recovering Wayward says:

        well, good luck to you then!

        And I agree – the story you posted is not very typical.

      • Recovering Wayward, No, her case is not unusual. It’s just different than some other situations. I see both those situations you describe:
        “most affairs start — they start by a gradual emotional distancing between spouses over time that creates a dangerous vacuum of unmet emotional needs…”
        And those Rescuing describes:
        “…it could be a myriad of things, of which marital satisfaction may or may not play into it. There are plenty of married men who claim to have been happily married and who found themselves in an affair. …there are also situations in which men are very happy, are still in love, still find their wives attractive, are still involved sexually with their spouse, and who find themselves mired in an affair for reasons they can’t understand. It is those men who have a hard time answering the question “why” because to them, they still love their spouse – and can’t understand what happened.”
        At my forum I see some that are due to distancing through time, some that are going on within otherwise happy or satisfying marriages, some that are sudden–no distancing or none before a major recent (1-3 years) trigger event (often the death of a parent). Some affairs are superficialy rooted in differences in sex drives or openness–there are deeper roots too. I neglected Sweetheart and yet I will not claim that we were growing distant and living separate lives either. Rescuing describes a very common affair situation that is in the context of a tired new Mommy.
        We can apply labels and I find them quite helpful, but we are still unique and going to have differences even within the labels.

        Recovering,
        I thought your post of types of affairs was excellent. I use slightly different labels or see the blending in a different way–I think you described our situation as crossing a few labels, but I saw that idea of crossing as simply the process and progression within one label.

        When we claim something is rare or unique, it is a form of dismissing–well most aren’t like that, so we don’t need to give that unique situation the same degree of attention. We are often wrong about what is common or uncommon–especially since those terms are relative. some articles claim Midlife Crisis is a myth and go on to cite a study that claims only 26% of people over 40 surveyed reporting having had a crisis. That is the study used to claim MLC is uncommon–26% sounds like it’s common to me! are other serious flaws with that survey, so I don’t find it credible. But people would be up in arms if we started ignoring cancer because only 1 in 3 or 4 will get it in a lifetime!

    • Recovering Wayward,
      It sounds to me like you are not talking so much about how the affair starts–the affair is the illicit relationship between two people. You are rather talking about the roots or the marital/relational conditions between the spouses that facililtate an affair.
      This date Rescuing witnessed was an excellent example of how an affair might begin–and this might not be the first dance step, but a few steps in where the possible partners are still testing those waters and it may already be an emotional affair. It could be leading to a few different types of affairs–we do not know, nor can we tell, that this man was signalling that he was willing to have an affair and yet unwilling to leave his wife. He may be still questioning that sort of leap and this may be his way of testing it.

  4. Happy birthday to you!!! Isn’t it funny how we are always hypersensitive to affair situations now. It must have been so hard for you not to say something considering they were right next to you!! I don’t know if I could of kept quiet though. My husband actually told a mutual friend of ours (in not so many words) who he thought could potentially be an affair risk, don’t do it, your wife in funny and nice and you don’t want to risk it all. It’s so not worth hurting the people you love!! It made me feel good that he understands enough to pass this important information on to others at risk!!

    Hope all is well with you and your family!!! Went to my first ban meeting and I got a lot out of it. Just chatting with others in the same sitch was so nice. Planning on attending the next one in August.

  5. This is interesting. As someone who is a woman business owner, I actually do have a lot of these types of lunch meetings. Since I am unmarried, I always find it doubly tricky. I have to be extremely careful about what I wear and how I say and present things. I sometimes wish I were married just because it would be easier to have a ring and an extra wall between me and the business man (it is almost always a man I am pitching new work to or working with on a project.) Since I used to be married, I know that being married helps make it easier to be a professional; you can choose to use your marriage as a shield.

    That said, there have been a few men over the years who ended up becoming my friends through these very kinds of business relationships. I find that one of the best ways to become a friend with a man in a professional setting is to ask about his wife and children with respect. And also, when appropriate (especially when you feel a question or comment may have been too personal or too revealing), ask, “What does your wife think about that?” or if you feel he’s presenting his wife somewhat negatively, saying something like, “That situation must be very hard for your wife. I can see her point.”

    • Susan, thank you for your comment. I don’t think that you can ever use your marriage as a shield. Men who are interested in an affair won’t care that you are married. Only YOU can prevent yourself from falling into an affair by learning what makes you vulnerable to one, and surprisingly, the biggest vulnerability my husband and I had was the feeling that “this won’t ever happen to us”. We were naive to how easy it is, and how slippery that slope can be. Before he realized it, he was on it, and it was too late to turn back. Seeing a ring on a finger means nothing nowadays. Talking about the wife, simply lets him know that you are aware of her, but whether you care or not is what he is interested in (if he is looking for a relationship). If you are married too, he can hope that you are still just as interested. If you aren’t, then he will just hope that you will have the same motivation as he does to keep quiet.

      Our mistress actually invented a boyfriend in order to make my husband believe that she had as much invested in the secrecy of their relationship as he did. The man didn’t exist. There was no trace of him. A concoction. Ideally, they want you on the same page, but if you’re not, they just want to know that you are OK with their ‘situation’, and willing to keep it hush hush for your own reasons.

      Knowing what makes you vulnerable is key, whether you are married or not. You could wear a fake ring to these meetings, and invent a husband or family. In the end, it won’t be the existence of this fictitious person in your life that renders you immune. It will be the knowledge of your vulnerabilities and how to decrease them in order to keep yourself safe from an affair.

      You attend a lunch with a man who is attractive, funny, witty, athletic and really kind. He is smart, financially successful, and married. He confesses he isn’t happy in his marriage, and is thinking of ending it. What was a moment ago a shield against you showing any interest, has now been lowered, because it appears that whether or not you show interest, his marriage is doomed either way. You are led to believe that he intends to leave his wife, and it’s only a matter of time. HE starts to compliment you, it feels nice. He smiles at you, tells you things he notices about you that make you feel good. At the end of the lunch, he invites you to meet up again next week. The lunch was fun, nothing happened, he’s really cute, I like the way he makes me feel, and I am not doing anything wrong because even without my involvement, his marriage is doomed. Lunch sounds like a good idea, and a lot of fun. My ego wants to have lunch with this guy. You set another lunch date. Wash, rinse, repeat. Only next time, he tells you how much better you are than his wife, and you smile to recognize the compliment, which sends the signal that you are aware of the wife, but agree with him that you are better than her (otherwise you’d have defended her right?), and you’re now playing the game. By the end of lunch, after some laughter and shared stories, his hand brushes yours and you find yourself curious….it’s just that easy. But all the while, you don’t think you are doing anything wrong, because you haven’t slept together, you haven’t admitted the attraction, and you always have the fallback of his admission to being in an unhappy marriage….or is he lying to you too?

      Anyway, all that to say that while I respect your opinion, I think you need much more than a marriage in your pocket to stop an affair 😉

      • Henry Adams says:

        Discussing reasons for the affair…like you, I thought I was a good wife, but by no means perfect. However, I had always supported my husband emotionally and financially. The crunch came when my father died in very upsetting circumstances (he’d been in one of London’s major cardiac hospitals for a year, got discharged for convalescence to his local hospital and contracted MRSA). I was so focused on getting my stepmother and my brother through this that I didn’t even have space for my own grief. My husband’s answer to ‘Why?’: ‘You didn’t pay me any attention any more.’ That sentence is the one thing I will never, ever, forgive him for.

      • I don’t think of a ring or marriage as my only protector, just a part of the protection, a part of the shield that we can consciously create for ourselves. Since I am divorced (from a man who cheated on me with someone he worked with) AND I am the survivor of an affair that resulted in an OC (from my long term post-divorce live-in boyfriend), I am painfully aware of the bad choices that people make and that I often see in today’s professional world.

        Quantitatively speaking, it is my experience that when I am not wearing a wedding ring a lot of men (married and unmarried) try to pick me up in the professional world. When I wear a ring, a lot less do. It’s a law of averages. Marriage in and of itself is not a protector. Only I can be my own protector. But in this one regard, the very fact of a marriage is partially protective because it reduces the amount of people willing to try to break the breach.

        Business lunches are key in many industries and with many businesses. Business lunches make or break the deal sometimes. Other times it’s a round of golf or some other event. These are necessary to do the business that I do so I don’t think there is anything wrong with them. What is wrong is when some people consistently make a breach and others aren’t protecting what is important to themselves and those they love.

        And, yes, I totally agree with you that it’s a slippery slope and one small thing that seems harmless at the time can then add to another tiny breach and so on. I have experienced such breaches and I have made them myself. We are human, afterall. It’s what we do about the breaches when they do occur that is critical. A small breach fixed or sidelined is a matter of mindful practice and it could make all the difference in the world.

        I just think that business lunches, golf, events, etc. are critical to landing the deal in some businesses and industries. I know they are critical to my business (just try being a woman entrepreneur in a male-dominated industry). And I know from experience that a ring on my finger would just make my work at keeping it professional a little bit easier.

      • I completely understand what you are saying, and agree with you…both in your post and in your comments. People who haven’t had affairs have no idea how vulnerable they are at any given time. It is unacknowledged vulnerability that makes you even more susceptible.

  6. Great post……now being on this side it is easier (sadly) to see the signs of someone about to start an affair. I have now been able to speak in to a few lives about NOT doing it. I pray my words helped them.
    To Wayward….yes there are extenuating circumstances that may contribute to an affair…but it is no way the fault of the spouse… think of this: for as many people (well, to use your stats I will say for as many as 75 -80 that succumb there are still 25 -30 that do not) . My point is this… There are many people that are feeling stressed , tired, depressed, dissatisfied by their spouse, feeling not supported and heard by their spouse, life not going they way they want. Somehow they do not have an affair.
    Another example is this….for all the reasons I stated above, some people pick up a drink and then drink to much…is that the fault of the spouse?
    For some people that experience all the above, they start to do drugs….is that the fault of the spouse?
    No it is not ,It is something that is within that person that decides to ‘cope’ with life by having an affair , drinking , or using drugs.
    This may be considered a stretch (I do not think so) and I mean no disrespect to the tragedy that has happened (praying every day since for the families)…..but who’s fault is it when someone is stressed out and snaps and decides to bring a gun in to a movie an annihilate innocent people….
    Just think about it.

    ~~ S

  7. I have read about people that do this ….and actually have great, successful businesses. It may be difficult to implement , but seriously worth look at…read this blog:
    http://michaelhyatt.com/what-are-you-doing-to-protect-your-marriage.html

  8. I found your post interesting for two reasons. First and foremost, you jumped ahead to the discovery of the affair. I believe most research shows that affairs are in fact less likely to be discovered than not, with some statistics showing that as few as only 20% of affairs actually come to light. Secondly, you mention that the woman at the restaurant also had a wedding ring, putting her in a very different situation than the other woman in your case. I actually suspect the two are related – many affairs probably remain secret because both people involved are married and have a stake in keeping the relationship under wraps.

    So my question to you is – if in some alternate universe, the other woman in your marriage had in fact gone on her merry way when your husband first ended the affair and he had, for all intents and purposes “gotten away with it”, would you have still wanted to know? Or, in an example that may be a bit easier to fathom – if someone who had an affair and ended it successfully without having been found out asked for your advice, would you counsel them to tell their spouse any way?

    I have never been in the exact situation you I’d very much value your position on this.

    • In our situation, my husband wanted to end the relationship with the other woman approximately 6 to 8 weeks after it had started. At that time, there had been mass flirtation, admission of mutual attraction, kissing, touching, and they had slept together less than a handful of times. The way he describes it, his curiosity had been satisfied. He was no longer intrigued, no longer drawn in by the curiosity of what his mind and imagined it would be like. What’s he knew, he sobered up. He tried to get her the relationship and number of times. In fact, it was she who had initially told him that the relationship would be casual, a friendship with benefits if you will. She went so far as to say that either one of them could, at any time, told the “out” card, and get out with no questions asked.

      When it came time for him to draw that card, she wouldn’t allow it.

      To answer your question, had she simply walked away, and let him go, I still would have wanted to know. Because it isn’t the aftermath that makes the difference. I am not deeply saddened by what I have learned since the affair. I am saddened by the affair itself. I have a hard time rectifying within my own mind the fact that the man that I trusted so deeply could just deceive me so easily. I believe I deserve to know where I stand in my marriage. If my husband Tim I have pledged fidelity is lying to me, and sleeping with another woman, I deserve to know. Whether it’s happening right now, or happened five years ago, I would still want to know. I need to know exactly where I stand, where I stood, and what was real.

    • To answer your second question, I would always advise someone to tell their spouse, regardless of the situation that I am in. In fact, a good friend of mine admitted that she was cheating on her husband six months before I found out my husband had been cheating on me. I was grossly disappointed in my friend, and felt such an intense sadness and sorrow for her husband, I was blissfully unaware of what had transpired between his wife at her work colleague. I saw how hard her husband worked, how he was struggling to show her how much she meant to him, all the while knowing that she had slept with another man. It made me sick. It seems so selfish. I just wanted to wrap her husband up in a blanket, and take care of the poor fellow. So, to answer your question, yes I would always advise someone to tell their spouse, because I believe it is about respect. People deserve to be respected. People deserve to know when they have been disrespected, that they can make the choices that they make, and the alliances that they have, with absolute knowledge. Otherwise, we are all just living in fantasies and lies.

      • That’s very well said and amazing insight from someone who’s lived through it. I had a friend who’s marriage fell apart after she discovered her husband’s infidelity. She often said she wished she’d never found out but when she delves deeper into it, it becomes clear that what she wishes is that the affair had never happened – it wasn’t the “finding out” that led to the end of her marriage, it was her husband’s infidelity.

        In any event, thanks for your reply, and happy birthday!

      • I think a lot of times people say they wish they had never find out, because they want to shield themselves from reality. You think you live in a perfectly happy marriage, and then you realize that you don’t. Sometimes it’s easier to just pretend you’re back in that other place, the place where there is no pain, no heard, no devastation. So, when people say “I wish I had never found out “I don’t think they wish they didn’t know the truth, but rather I think they simply wish they were back to what they thought were better times.

        In your friends situation, she says the infidelity led to the affair, not finding out. I think that’s always the case though. It’s not her reaction to the affair that’s going to end their marriage. It’s her husband’s actions, and the fact that he had an affair, has the potential to end the marriage. I say “potential”, because affairs don’t necessarily have to end the marriage. As I have said many times throughout this blog, I firmly believe that it is the wayward spouse’s actions after the discovery of an affair, and their ability to act as a healer to their spouse, to be truthful, remorseful, honest, and willing to lay all their cards out on the table. If they’re willing to lose it all, say it all, reveal it all, and do whatever it takes to win their wife back, there is a chance. I like to believe that a marriage’s success hinges entirely on the degree to which the wayward spouse is willing to do the above-mentioned things. If the wayward spouse denies responsibility, blames the wife, blames the mistress, or tries to hurry his wife through the grieving process, he’s not truly acting as a healer. If he’s not taking any ownership, how could she possibly trust him moving forward that he understands the degree of pain that his actions have caused? If he simply blames a mistress by calling her alluring, or manipulative, then he isn’t taking any personal responsibility for his lack of judgment, his poor coping skills, and his lack of integrity as a man.

        Sure, the mistress has a 50/50 role in the creation of the affair, but no man should blame the mistress entirely for his actions. He made the decisions, not her. The most powerful word in the English language is, after all, “no”

      • Hear, hear! (and Happy Birthday!)

  9. I'm The Prize says:

    I know this post is almost a year old but…. I would have said something. It would have went like this: I know what I’ve been hearing is the start of an affair. You need to reconsider what you are doing before you ruin not only your lives but the lives of your families. By the way, if I see you together again I will take note and if I run into you with your spouses after that I will tell them myself. No lie, I’d do it.

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