I often read how Waywards explain that it wasn't really about the AP.. "it was what I was getting from the A, the way it made me FEEL" etc etc
In the context of a CL/AM situation or a ONS situation I can see how that makes sense, but in the case of a LTA, where the A has continued for a while.. where both AP's have CHOSEN to keep returning back to THAT same person for a considerable length of time, how can it not have been about the person and only about the feelings of the A?
If that were true, perhaps, the person having the A may have gone from one AP to another and still received the "feelings" that an A can provide. Or maybe the AP is just lazy and sticks with the same person to get their ego strokes or whatever they're getting from the AP.
I understand and believe that my A provided me with a lot of the usual things but for me it was also about the person otherwise why did it last so long? If it wasn't about him as a person and just about what the A represents or the feelings it evoked then why not multiple A's?
How would it feel if my H had a LTA and basically had another life with another woman and then went on to explain "it was never about her". On some level, it had to be, how could it not be? There was something about her that kept pulling you back time and time again or are you saying it's possible for you to have deep attachments to practically anyone??!!
As it happens, the A was not always roses, especially after the 1 year mark. It was full of anxiety and stress, yet I stayed in the "relationship" because I had feelings for the PERSON I was in the A with.
As I write, I know where some of this is coming from.. it's coming from a need to believe that I wasn't "just anyone" to my AP. Why does it matter? I'm not sure but it does.
Everyone always says the AP shouldn't occupy headspace and mostly he doesn't. It's just when I read certain posts I'm triggered. On the good side, thoughts of AP have significantly decreased (so there is hope) as I've been really focussing on my M and on myself. Trying to figure out what makes me happy and making proactive steps to get there.
I know where some of this is coming from.. it's coming from a need to believe that I wasn't "just anyone" to my AP. Why does it matter? I'm not sure but it does.
This is what sticks out in your post. It mattered a lot to me, too. Much less so after coming here on SI and getting insights from the fine folks here into "our Wayward's stuff" like xAP rejection (with anthropologist Helen Fisher's work especially resonant), withdrawal (Maia's guide), and ego kibble gobbling, rainbow farting unicorns, and, ultimately...for me...putting on my big effing boy pants and fully pointing my focus on myself, my betrayed wife, our marriage, and our reconciliation.
My results: Not easy. Not perfect. And not anything I'd trade for a billion of the damaged stolen moments of imaginary magic I created with my xAP...a lying, shallow, damaged user JUST LIKE ME. The me I have left behind.
The healing, happy, loving, caring me who I give to my wife now every day - my xAP doesn't deserve and will NEVER get to meet.
Married 2.5 years
Reconciled after divorce
"Someday you'll look back on all these days
And all this pain is gonna be invisible." - Hunter Hayes, "Invisible"
Yes, you could get your unicorn farts from anywhere, but when the person making the decisions prefers to be choosy - seeking quality over quantity - then you end up seeking/grooming specific APs out of necessity, rather than out of choice.
In my case, it's six of one and half a dozen of the other. To say that I could have gone with just anyone is a lie, because I was convinced I was starting Life 2.0, and I wanted to 'get this one right.' And to say that it was entirely about the AP is a lie, because in the end, all I really wanted was attention and vindication about my one-sided life painting. Of course, this is a realization after the fact, so you might draw your own conclusions.
Like so many things, I'm not sure all As can be lumped together with any one, single truism. And, from what I've discovered, after the nuclear blast goes off and if the WS's personality goes through any drastic changes, the memories become very different because your new opinion of the situation differs so greatly from your previous opinion.
It used to make me really really angry to hear that "the AP could have been anyone." And I was thinking, "but he was special..."
Those aren't the only two options. And the unicorn farts and glitter dismisses what should very much be looked at in some situations.
I have never believed it could have been anyone anymore than I believe it would have happened "no matter what". The WS's were on a path toward cheating their whole lives and no matter who crossed it or what saint they were married to disaster was looming for the unicorn fart and glitter ride from hell. Bullshit!
While the marriage and the BS is NEVER responsible for the choice to cheat they can very much have contributed to the environment that existed.
Look, people have horrific coping skills. Jesus. We see that here all the time and I ain't talking about on this forum alone.
It's so funny to me to read how people don't change in other posts, yet BS's post all the time about how much they changed because of ANOTHER'S actions. Well, which is it, people?
Not putting into place healthy coping skills leads to trouble. You absolutely can meet someone that is appealing and attractive to you. While you may not give them a second glance there are times in your life they may stand out more like when you're single. OR when you just wish you were after the 500th fight from hell where you've been told you're wrong and oh by the way also a worthless POS. Somehow that smile and kind word looks a whole heaping lot better than the shit just thrown at you for breakfast.
No where in your mind is the "what did I do to contribute" to this shit sandwich I'm eating. You're too busy feeling good for just a minute and wanting more. Nowhere is the thought of "I better take a hard look at my life and my choices" first.
Why do you think so many BS's end up on this forum? Of course they are sometimes bubble wrapped with the,"oh of course you'd never done that if " insulation and you know what? They may be right. Doesn't change one fact just as the bullshit "I've never hit anyone before in my life and wouldn't harm a fly" spewed.
Deal is this. You never really know what you're capable of until you are faced with something that can drive you further than you ever felt you could go. That's why you have to make damn sure that internal inventory is up to date and you've dug far and hard to find any weaknesses. Otherwise you're deluding yourself with hubris like the Captain of the Titanic barreling across the ocean in an unsinkable ship. Spoiler alert. They sunk. With an diabetic coma inducing Celine accompaniment.
'til the roof comes off. 'til the lights go out. 'til my legs give out, can't shut my mouth
Had this special person not crossed your path, you would've remained faithful to your M.
That may not be accurate, but for purposes of a working theory, can I roll with it? Because IMO it's the corollary of another theme that often pops up here on SI: a BS opining that their WS succumbed to a predatory OP. I've seen it said time and again: yes, their WS ultimately made the choice to cheat, but only because the OP relentlessly pursued them or exploited their vulnerability.
Had this evil homewrecker never crossed their WS's path, they would've remained faithful to their M.
Coming at it from the BS or WS perspective, assigning credit or blame to the OP diminishes the responsibility of the cheater, and IMO is absolutely wrong. This is about us (the WS) and our choices: so in that sense, absolutely the AP "could've been anyone." Which is not to say you would've plucked some random man off the street.
Unlike you, I went shopping for an A (t/j which sometimes I feel casts me as "worse" than you WSs who sort of fall into As with a coworker or business associate). Even so, I wouldn't have had an A with "just anyone," either: my two APs were highly intelligent, accomplished, and slightly famous. And, obviously, damaged, selfish liars.
The "predatory OW" line of thinking bothers me whenever it pops up, because AP1 appears to have convinced his BW that I "pursued" him. Which is ludicrous since he answered my ad on AM, but whateverthat's their life. What this post just made me realize is, it's equally troubling when a WS claims that their affair was about their attraction/connection to one particular AP. Nope, I don't believe that: it was about you, your needs, your shortcomings, a hole you were trying to fill.
The AP could've been anyone.
While the marriage and the BS is NEVER responsible for the choice to cheat they can very much have contributed to the environment that existed.
How is this not contradictory? Couldn't the WS have left the environment instead of cheating? In my case, I deliberately weighed my options: (a) renegotiate the terms of my M, or (b) seek forgiveness instead of permission. Even if the non-monogamous environment of my M contributed to my choice, I damn well knew "a" was the righteous option, but chose "b" anyway.
I've been called out on my Manichean views before, though, so it could be as you say: "those aren't the only two options."
How is this not contradictory? Couldn't the WS have left the environment instead of cheating
Of course. Hence the marriage and BS is NEVER responsible for the choice to cheat. There were other options. Doesn't change the fact they may have been a contributor to the environment that existed. One doesn't support the other any more than a bus was barreling down on me so I stayed right in its path. Fucking lousy bus driver hit me. Bastard.
For me, it was obviously a question of timing and vulnerability and yes, a chain of events that led me to the AP. Lot's of why then's and why him?? Ultimately, it doesn't really matter.. Today I feel like, who fucking cares.. it's over now and it's done with. Does it really fucking matter.
I am on that roller coaster of things really meaning something and feeling stuff so intensely to being totally nonchalant. Not really sure why it peaks and troughs so acutely..
The actual point of the original post was more in relation to a thread that's running right now about a WH who had an A with his wife's BFF. She's having a hard time understanding why her (meaning why that particular AP) and she's being told "it could've been anyone". I kind of felt bad for his wife as if that's the case why eff her best friend, why not just find "anyone"? Why make it so so much harder for her with the double/triple betrayal if it could just have been anyone? Easy for me to say I know, but just the thoughts that go around in my head. I know things are not always as simple as what we read.
I sometimes think saying stuff like that to a BS can be patronising and insulting. That's just my opinion. But then again, for that particular Wayward maybe that's the truth.
Before I go further, I want to say that I'm not feeling hostile or defensive about this topic. It's important, applies to my position and is worth participating in.
There were a lot of things that contributed to my affair. I would like to offer a few things that made it specifically her.
1. She was a friend. Emotions matter to me and I've never been into random hookups.
2. Pre affair, I began getting inappropriately close emotionally with AP and her husband. Not sexual stuff but my walls and windows were getting rearranged.
3. In general, it's been a hard few years and I've been propping up pieces of my identity with external validation. During a time prior to the affair, she had a chance to see me at a particularly successful and charismatic moment. She was having a bad time herself at that moment and liked the image; I enjoyed it being reflected from her.
4. My AP and her husband subscribe to a polyamorous worldview. This allowed her to make me a sincere offer with his support.
5. They were involved in much of our lives. This permitted regular reinforcement of connections.
6. I'm a flirt and a recently abandoned social environment treated that as normal and people knew the difference between flirtation and a serious offer. To my best guess, in AP's world flirtation was strongly associated with intent. Months on the slippery slope put us in Affairville. (A side note: flirtation is one of the things that I am discarding from my life. It's risky, inappropriate and kind of tacky from a 43 YO married man.)
It took all or most of these circumstances to lay the groundwork for the affair. So, no, it couldn't have just been anyone. However, the core failure does lie in my problems. Environmental factors matter and changing any of these might have prevented the affair, but the ultimate responsibility was still mine. I could have said 'no' at any moment and didn't.
[This message edited by NoGoodUsername at 5:38 PM, September 29th (Sunday)]
Yes, it could have been anyone.
In my case - I never pursued it, but if the attention came, I didn't turn it away. Maybe the timing for me was just enough that it *was* enough.
I have zero emotional attachment to this person...when s*** blew up and we stopped, there, at least to me, wasn't a feeling of loss for that at all. I couldn't care less.
However, the core failure does lie in my problems. Environmental factors matter and changing any of these might have prevented the affair, but the ultimate responsibility was still mine. I could have said 'no' at any moment and didn't.
This is very well stated and I can completely relate. This was the case with me as well.
It took all or most of these circumstances to lay the groundwork for the affair. So, no, it couldn't have just been anyone.
And I guess here is the notion that's so hard for BS's to accept. The A wasn't about the OW it was about the brokenness of the wayward, however, when all the stars were aligned it came down to HER getting "you".
Thanks for taking the post in the spirit it was meant in. It wasn't a dig or insult, after all that would be the pot calling the kettle black.
Environmental factors matter and changing any of these might have prevented the affair, but the ultimate responsibility was still mine. I could have said 'no' at any moment and didn't.
I totally relate to this too.
Sure, there are characteristics to the means and the opportunity that are uncommon, or even rare. But I'm fairly certain that I would have found other means, if it hadn't been him.
The means and the opportunities are still out there. It's motive that needs work. That's where I directed my energy, at least.
I was stupid for not bringing these issues to my husband. For not dealing with my problems. But there were a lot of unknown unknowns.