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Why did you stay and what did you love?

FearfulAvoidance posted 11/7/2018 20:16 PM

There is a lot of talk about the Whys on this site, especially here on the wayward side. Figuring out our Whys is an essential part of each of our journeys whether we've been blessed with the gift of R or not.

A question I see on the other forums a lot is to the BS: why did you stay with a cheating spouse? And the questions I see here a lot to the WS: why did you cheat? I am sure there are many threads that address the question I'm going to ask, but sometimes duplication is helpful.

As the WS, why did you choose to stay?
This can be read however you want. Why did you choose to stay in your marriage AND have an affair? But more importantly, why did you choose to stay IN your marriage after the A was over?

I am not talking about practical reasons like kids or finances. I mean deep, deep down in the depths of your soul, why did you stay?
I'd imagine part of the answer is that you love your BS. Even during your A, you loved them. There is a thread going elsewhere about how is it possible to love someone and commit emotional murder at the same time. Which leads me to a follow up question...

What did you love about your BS while you were cheating on them?
Not what they did for you or what you got from them. If you feel as if you loved your BS during your A, what about THEM did you love?

My BS asked me these questions last night and it gave me pause. So here I am asking you.

Barregirl posted 11/7/2018 21:03 PM

As the WS, why did you choose to stay?

If I am honest with myself, in the beginning I stayed because it was easy. My BH and I had built a life together and unraveling it was daunting. After dday, and after the shock and horror began to subside slightly, I fell in love with my husband all over again. We began to connect emotionally and physically. The longer time goes on, the more I learn about what a genuinely good man he is, how gracious, steady, and amazing he is. Now I stay because I want to be in this M.
What did you love about your BS while you were cheating on them?

I am one of those WS who believe that while I loved my BH during the A, I subjugated that feeling for my selfish wants. I consciously pushed aside any feelings of love I had in order to commit this heinous act.

Pdxguy posted 11/7/2018 22:51 PM

These are hard questions to answer. My responses are self-contradicting. But I can try to make sense of it here....

As the WS, why did you choose to stay?

I chose to stay in my marriage while I was unfaithful because I truly felt that there was something so broken in me that it could never be cured. And yet, it felt like being unfaithful cured something in me. At the same time, I didn't want my wife to know the true me, that I was depressed, suicidal, lonely, feeling incapable, full of self-doubt, insecure. I can't resolve these perspectives. I thought that somehow I could exhaust my compulsions, sort of exercise the demons, be done with it, and find resolution with my wife. But then the cheating became an addiction. It was foolhardy, to say the least, because it's the worst betrayal and there is no going back. Essentially, I loved to her, but I lied to myself that something was wrong with me and that I could resolve it quietly on the side. Shame was the dam that prevented me from being authentic and vulnerable. I also was unable to face my own internal issues. I still love her. I was and have been in love with her since the beginning. I would also say that I stayed in the marriage because I lacked integrity and was unethical. She didn't deserve that.


What did you love about your BS while you were cheating on them?
My wife is pure, true, genuine, authentic and beautiful (inside and out). That's what I love(d) about her and always will. I will say it again. I love my wife. I cheated not out of spite for what I thought she didn't give me, but because I hated myself. I saw her as pure, myself as flawed. I love her, but I wanted to destroy myself. This is brutal, terrifying honesty.

What I did was wrong on all levels. I lied to myself and her. I was selfish. I betrayed. And I regret it. She is divorcing me now, and I deserve it. I will always regret what I did. Truth is, I needed help a long time ago. I didn't take it.

I have two wishes right now. 1) I pray to god my wife will recover from this. 2) I hope that I can tell other people who are considering infidelity to find help, be truthful, and look at the deeper issues. Society and the media glorify infidelity. But it's not glorious; it's abuse.

[This message edited by Pdxguy at 10:53 PM, November 7th (Wednesday)]

Sunny69 posted 11/8/2018 02:47 AM

These are great questions, would love to see more responses.

destroyedwayward posted 11/8/2018 07:40 AM

As the WS, why did you choose to stay?
During the progression of friendship to EA to ONS, I stayed because I was selfish and lacked boundaries. The OP validated and enabled my self-destructive, negative, defeatist attitude. There was no affection or ego kibbles in the sense that OP made me feel wanted or loved or beautiful, etc. Quite the opposite, he made me feel that not being all the things I have been all my life to my closest friends, family, and H was ok. I could be self-indulgent, irresponsible and "look the world hasn't fallen apart". I stayed because all this didn't impact my life operationally. After all, in my warped mind, BH saw me "slipping" away and did nothing about it. He seemed content with it, why shouldn't I? Classic rewriting of the narrative to conveniently fit WS's sense of entitlement.

What did you love about your BS while you were cheating on them?
I was actively trying not to love BS or anyone. I convinced myself that that was a weakness, that love was the reason I was so lamented. But no, I am the reason I'm lamented, absence of strong enough sense of self. Oh, woe is to me, grand pity party. So disgusting.

[This message edited by destroyedwayward at 7:45 AM, November 8th (Thursday)]

hikingout posted 11/8/2018 08:20 AM

As the WS, why did you choose to stay?

We'd been married for decades and had a good marriage prior to the time leading up to the A and the A itself. I knew that we were good together for a lot of that time.

Coming out of the affair was disorienting - so many things I told myself to justify the affair, to be able to conduct it, and the withdrawal of the dopamine hits that the A readily served to me. And, I really didn't understand that's what was happening, I thought I was pining for my soul mate

So, I basically committed to seeing if we could work through it. I don't want to sugar coat this because I think lots of times a WW and a BS can feel like it's unsurmountable in early days. Just like my H, I don't think I knew what I was signing up for. But, I read and did everything suggested as if it were a prescription. I fully committed. I was emotionally numb, it took a long time (probably 8 or 9 months post Affair/ and 6 or 7 post DDAY) before I could really start to feel things properly and start showing signs of remorse. And, I floundered, and I struggled, and I learned a bunch about myself. My husband has more grace than I would have ever imagined. He did almost divorce me for real at one point and I know it was considered more times than I could count or know.

The reason I stay today is very different from early days. I can see the ways that I contributed to the Pre-A issues, I can look at myself with some compassion in that I understand how it happened and I have rebuilt so much of my life and habits that I know I am a different person than when I made those decisions. I look at my husband and marriage with such a different lens - one that is full of appreciation and thankfulness. I am painfully aware how close to losing him and we've had most everything people wish for when they get married for most of our time together. We feel truly tailor made to me - his strengths are my weaknesses, my strengths are his weaknesses, we have similar sensibilities, we enjoy a lot of the same things, we are both very level headed and capable of working things through logically together, we agree on what is important and what isn't, we have a great physical attraction and sex life, we support each other, we are equally yoked in intelligence and careers, we're best friends, and we make good business partners. I am no longer numb I am very present and very grateful. My H is getting 120% not because he is my punisher or because of contrition, but because that is what he deserves and it comes straight from my heart.

What did you love about your BS while you were cheating on them?


Well, certainly he was my family. And, he was a good dad, and he and I got a long well. But, honestly during my affair I wasn't considering him much at all. He was gone a lot, and that gave me the room I very much wanted to stay locked up in my fantasy world. I was fueling the affair with the entitlement I felt saying things to myself like "I had given everything to him and kids and my career, making everything perfect etc...It was fine that I took time to do things that made me happy"

I was mostly emotionally numb already before the affair started. I was escaping that numbness with self medicating of shots of dopamine. So, other than trying to stay in the fantasy as much as I possibility could, he was far from the center of my world, he was being madly disrespected, and thoughts of him were pushed down. No active loving happening there, and probably not for a long time prior to the A either. I often waiver as to whether I was cake eating or exiting. There wasn't a lot of self-evaluation at that time, so I don't really know that any of that was really thought out.

[This message edited by hikingout at 8:28 AM, November 8th (Thursday)]

remorseandgrief posted 11/9/2018 13:22 PM

Why did I stay in our marriage and have an affair?

When the affair began I believed that AP and I were "just friends." I reconnected through email to a former friend. I had never heard of an emotional affair. I thought an affair involved sex. I have since learned that an emotional affair is very real and can be even more destructive than a sexual affair. I never thought of leaving my husband. As the affair became more intense, and progressed to seeing AP face to face and a kiss, I focused on and magnified any little conflict in our marriage and exaggerated any little disagreement with my husband. At the same time I imagined and magnified wonderful aspects of AP. (He actually has no positive aspects. He is a despicable person.) At the same time, I always knew that my husband was a good and honorable man.

Reading and thinking about similar questions on SI, I now realize that love necessitates having empathy for and seeking the welfare of the loved one. So during the affair, I did not love my husband. I did not consider him. I was not loving to him. Deep down I knew he was the good and honorable man I had always loved, but I turned my back on that man. I focused on, as hikingout says, the shots of dopamine from AP.

On Dday, when my husband confronted me, I was hit in the face with the reality of what I was doing. Then began to realize what I deeply valued and what was most important to me. I began to recognize how much I valued our marriage. I again recognized what a good and honorable person my husband is. He has always been thoughtful and has tried to make the world a better place. I recognized that he had always been loving and supportive of me. He is a wonderful father and grandfather. I wanted to be a part of his life. These realizations came in bits and pieces, hindered by selfishness and denial and blame-shifting. I continue to try to understand all these factors.

As I continue to try to fully understand the depth of the pain and trauma I caused my husband, I can see more clearly from his point of view. I try now have empathy and to focus on his welfare. So, perhaps for the first time, I am coming to fully love him. Of course we initially fell completely and overwhelmingly in love when we first began seeing each other. I thought of him continually and never wanted to be apart from him. But that is a different aspect of love.

I say for the first time, because, in exploring my character issues, I sometimes doubt whether I have ever loved anyone. My whole life I tried to please the other person and to gain their approval. I had no sense of self apart from the approval of others. Including my husband. I am now trying to develop a sense of authentic self and to be a decent person.

These answers to the questions have veered from the original questions because the issues are all related.

I now want to be worthy of my husband. I want to live the rest of my life with him and to become the loving person that he always was with me.

hikingout posted 11/9/2018 13:43 PM

I say for the first time, because, in exploring my character issues, I sometimes doubt whether I have ever loved anyone. My whole life I tried to please the other person and to gain their approval. I had no sense of self apart from the approval of others. Including my husband. I am now trying to develop a sense of authentic self and to be a decent person.


I deeply identify with this. Maybe not to the extent that you describe it, I don't think I haven't loved...but definitely aspects of this. Maybe I could have loved better? Or more deeply experience love if I felt it was just based on me and being worthy all on my own.

I have to often times really stop and ask myself if I want to do something or not or how I really feel about it. That's how deeply people-pleasing and far from authentic I was. I still have to talk myself out of feeling guilty about me time and saying no to things.

And, I know it feels like you veered off, but you did not...those questions could really beg for a deep answer when you see all the webs of how it's all inter-related. I want to think more about this statement that you made, I think it's profoundly true and I bet you will find that many who cheat have struggled with this.

Gravycake posted 11/18/2018 13:56 PM

As the BS why did I choose to stay?
In the beginning, e/a only, i was told my ideals were wrong. That I wasnít truly being betrayed. I was convinced that I was creating a betrayal that wasnít really there. We spent years going around and around over what was appropriate and what was not. Once it turned PA, one minor indiscretion led to a LTPA, I think I stayed because I was mentally destroyed and truly scared to move. I felt that I had primed myself for this over the years, and by being a workaholic, image and success driven individual, I had robbed him of something heíd been seeking. I moulded this result and somehow summoned it. I knew at this point my entire person had been changed no matter how I tried to deny it. I hated it. I discounted it. But it happened. All I cared about was appearing strong and indestructible whilst I was truly being shredded.
As a WW why do I stay? I have realized sadly that we can do things that we feel gratify us, and we get a rush from. For no reason that comes near hurting our spouses. The result does. But the intention does not. I didnít believe for years, anything other than he did what did to hurt me. No other reason. And itís so not true. I get that now. It makes nothing easier, or better. But I get that now. How I wish I knew it years ago! My love and my heart and soul belong to my husband. I will never have a bond with anyone like I have with him. Which does my heart crave? Gratification or the stability of a mature secure relationship? My marriage will always be what I choose. I had to learn this the very very hard way. Not all paths are straight forward.

Zugzwang posted 11/20/2018 09:06 AM

But more importantly, why did you choose to stay IN your marriage after the A was over?

Because I was always in the marriage. I cake ate. I always wanted my marriage, but I wanted more because I was a bottomless pit of shit.

Guess this question is better for the exit affair people.

Again. Not about the marriage. Just about if I could get away with cake eating because I was a selfish, entitled, boy-man with no self confidence or self esteem that wanted to stay 20.

I didn't want to give my wife up because I knew she was the best thing out there. I was happy with my marriage. Just not myself. That is why I married her. In the beginning I loved her for her, then it began to be replaced by value or more like object love as I chose to grow used to her unconditional love. Why? Because I was selfish and immature. I chose to not grow in the relationship while she progressed and moved on through the stages. I chose to take it for granted and take advantage of it. It was about what she could give me. Who gives up the highest percentage 95%(spouse) for 5% of an AP? There are plenty of women looking to be APs. Who gives up a lady for easy? Yeah, that is how self absorbed I was. That is how cruel and selfish I was back then.

Zugzwang posted 11/20/2018 09:09 AM

Gratification or the stability of a mature secure relationship?

Why can't it choose to be enough for yourself? Having a mature secure relationship being the payoff to being a self sufficient person.

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