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Once a cheater....

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Rideitout posted 4/30/2019 07:39 AM

RIO Iím not talking about men currently engaged in affairs. Iím talking about retired men looking back on their lives, time with their children etc. I used to work in pubs and they talked a lot about their regrets and yes I believe them. Iím sorry that it wasnít clear so Iíve amended it.

That makes more sense, and I could see that being a regret of the guys I know. They spend so much of their time either pursuing A's or mopping up the damage from an A, I'm not sure they actually do much else; it's a cycle between the high of the A and the low of the R process with not a lot of time to actually, you know, live life in the middle.

I do wonder however, what do these men you overhear regret? The A? Or getting caught? Because I've literally never heard a guy say "I regret doing that" if they haven't yet (or ever) been caught. It's the fallout they want to avoid more than some introspection on the "why did I do that". They know why they did that; so do I, IMHO. It seems there's a lot of existential crisis here (and in my WW) that doesn't seem to exist in the men I know who've had A's IRL. There's no "digging for the why", they why is blindingly obvious. It's more the "can I deal with the fallout when/if it comes" that seems to drive most that I know either to have (or not) an A. Speaking for myself, I know it's more the repercussions than "I couldn't live with myself" that stopped me. Past tense. Now it's different, because I realize that women entering into A's are different than I am and are doing so for different motivations (that are likely to go unmet by an A, certainly by an A with me). I would have trouble living with myself now.

cocoplus5nuts posted 4/30/2019 08:48 AM

Addicts in the throes of addiction do not love. Certainly not in any way other than what that person can do for them.

As an addict, I have to disagree with this statement. As a physical addict, I have a really hard time accepting psychological and emotional addictions. I have a really hard time accepting the idea of SA. However, who am I to say it's not real? I've never experienced it, so I don't know.

Anyway, my fch insists he always loved me. His A actually started in an attempt to help our M. He thought he had found a friend who understood and was helping him with his problems. He didn't realize that the MOW was just saying what he wanted to hear to get what she wanted. Yes, he's stupid like that.

For me, love is a feeling that leads to certain behaviors. It's also a choice. For example, when I'm angry at my fch, I choose to stay and continue to love him rather than walking out. However, with my children, it's not a choice. I just love them. I don't even consider walking out on them.

DevastatedDee posted 4/30/2019 09:03 AM

However, with my children, it's not a choice. I just love them. I don't even consider walking out on them.

Honestly, that would make you a rare addict if you were able to feel that way while acting on addiction. That's a good thing.

secondtime posted 4/30/2019 11:12 AM

For me, love is a feeling that leads to certain behaviors. It's also a choice.

What are those behaviors?

My husband is a recovering SA. While he was getting high and slipping his behaviors included lying to me for 18 years.

Now, I understand that being a liar is part of the expected behavior set of an active addict.

But, I really would like to know how I should equate my husband lying to me...looking into my eyes and not flinching to be a behavior that indicates he loves me.

My husband can't seem to provide evidence that lying to a person equates love. He couldn't even provide an articulate response.

And make no mistake. He had no need to lie to me. I told him that I EXPECTED him to slip. All I asked is that he say something so I could take on more so he had more time to work his recovery,

I said to him...if one of our kids was partnered with someone who continually lied to them, would you advise them to stay with that partner, because the lying was a clear demonstration of love?

Funny, he said "no."

Sure, my husband has demonstrated his love for me in other ways..he's arranged the occasional date, buys the occasional flowers, and makes sure to acknowledge valentine's day, Christmas, my birthday. He will let me have the first cup of coffee for the day, and will remember to buy my favorite food once in a while.

That's all nice. But, I'd rather have a spouse I can trust at this point. And because I'm not convinced that he's capable of ever being honest with himself, let alone me..I'm not convinced that he's capable of loving me.

josiep posted 4/30/2019 11:28 AM

This is just my opinion, based only on my ruminating.

Once a Cheater, Always a Cheater I believe was coined to resemble the Once an Addict, Always an Addict phrase. Applied to an addict it is, IMHO, 100% true. The addict (or alcoholic or whatever the item might be) might never ever ever use another drug as long as they live but their body, their soul, their essence of something is an addict.

I'm not sure wht I think in cases of cheating. For sure the cheater crossed a line into an area that was wrong, forbidden, unholy, insert word of your choice here. That they were able to do that indicates to me that they are some fundamental human element and I don't believe they can fix that.

I do, however, believe a cheater can put in the same kind of work that an addict or alcoholic does in order to not have it happen again. Because no matter what, they got a thrill out of the forbidden, a thrill that cannot be replicated in any other way. And even if today they look back on it with disgust, if they're honest, they'll admit that the excitement of it was very thrilling. Maybe not the actual sex they ended up having but the lead-up to it.

[This message edited by josiep at 11:34 AM, April 30th (Tuesday)]

hikingout posted 4/30/2019 13:24 PM

There's no "digging for the why", they why is blindingly obvious. It's more the "can I deal with the fallout when/if it comes" that seems to drive most that I know either to have (or not) an A


It still selfishness. Whatever was selfishly wanted has really nothing to do with the deeper issue. The deeper issue is why are you so selfish that you feel entitled to break your promises to get more sex?

We often confuse the motivation with the why. They are two separate entities:

Example one:
Your wife's affair (or even mine) the motivation started with "he makes me feel good about myself, he thinks I am special" that motivates for the upper stages.

The Whys: Why did you need that? Why did you need to feel like someone thought you were special? Why did you feel it was okay to break your promises and lie to get that?


Example Two:

These sex starved men you know - the motivation started with either a salacious thought, or just as often "it seems like she'll have sex with me. I mean if it was a salacious thought, there might have been "she's hot" or "I like her___" but just as easily I think it's she's low hanging fruit, she's making herself available, she's flirting, etc...Motivation, yep to get more sex.


The whys: Why did you need that? Why did you need to feel like you were desired by someone other than your wife? Why did you feel it was okay to break your promises and lie to get that?


That's where it's all the same or similar, Rideitout. There is a reason that you haven't had an affair and why you are over on other strings telling another guy it's a bad idea for him to have a RA. It's not that you don't have the motivations, you don't have whatever feeds the WHY's.

cocoplus5nuts posted 4/30/2019 15:15 PM

Honestly, that would make you a rare addict if you were able to feel that way while acting on addiction.

Where do you get this assumption? Maybe we have a different definition of love. It's hard for me to explain what love feels like, but I always felt it even when I was in the throes of my addiction. That love is actually what finally motivated me to get clean.

Second time, no, lying does equate to love. For me, lying does not necessarily mean the person doesn't love you, though. I'll go back to children, they lie to their parents, usually because they don't want to get in trouble. They still love their parents. They are just trying to protect themselves. Children don't lie if they don't have that fear.

Honesty is definitely one way to show love. You need honesty in a healthy relationship, especially after infidelity. Caring, being attentive, giving of my time, doing things for people that I know they like. Giving gifts can be a show of love. It's not one of mine.

Have you read, Love Languages? It might give you some insight into how your H expresses love. It will also help you determine how you receive love, which may be very different from how your H gives and receives love.

DevastatedDee posted 4/30/2019 21:47 PM

Cocoplus, I cannot make any assumptions about you and I apologize for doing so. You are your own individual person. My experience with addicts has been that when they are active in their addiction, they will destroy you even if it hurts them to do so because they cannot love you in a healthy way. They cannot care more about not hurting you than doing what they want. It's not quite the same as a kid lying, but there are similarities. Kids are emotionally immature and though they love you deeply, they don't love as one adult to another. You are a part of them and often lying to do what they want is an act of separating themselves and becoming individuals. I've had a few addicts in my family and life, but I can focus on my WH. I believe that my WH believes that he loves me. I believe that he always believed it, even when he was completely wrecking my heart and life. If his version of love allows him to cheat on me and risk me losing custody of my children by smoking crack in the house and give a life with me and his daughter up for drugs, that isn't the kind of love that I have space for in a sane life. He'd want to fuck me over and then crawl into bed and have me hold and comfort him. That's hardly love. That's an attachment, sure, but it isn't love. I've seen him go through recovery twice. Both times I see him go through the process of seeing me as a separate human with my own thoughts and feelings whom he has severely harmed. He can't see it when in the haze of addiction. He can see it in recovery, and only when he's truly working a program.


OwningItNow posted 4/30/2019 21:50 PM

That's hardly love. That's an attachment, sure, but it isn't love.

Ah, yes. You are so right. There's a lot of attachment here on SI, but there's much less love (if you define it as focused on the best interest of the object of your passion, not on yourself).

[This message edited by OwningItNow at 9:50 PM, April 30th (Tuesday)]

cocoplus5nuts posted 5/1/2019 07:03 AM

DD, I was not upset with your statement. Just curious. I agree that, when the addiction takes over, the addict cannot love in a healthy way. That doesn't mean that they don't love, though. They didn't act lovingly. I guess that's where the difference between love being a feeling vs. being actions comes in.

I also agree that there appears to be a lot of unhealthy attachment here rather than healthy love.

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