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How do you respond?

WilliamM posted 5/6/2019 08:53 AM

My wife has done an amazing job working on herself and becoming a safe spouse. I am confident that she hasn't cheated since DDay over 13 years ago. But sometimes she says things that make me go, HMMM? It happened yesterday. Her brother is actively cheating on his wife. He is a serial cheater of the highest order. Plus he is a alcoholic and drug user. Since my wife found about about her brother cheating, she has actively talking to her SIL about leaving her brother. The SIL compared her to her brother, which offended her. She said, "I am not using drugs, or rarely drink, I love my family, I don't cheat". And before I could stop myself, I said one word, "Anymore". This one word caused her to shut down for a couple of hours before we talked it out. How would you respond to a WS saying something like this? Or taking the high moral ground after knowing what they have done in the past?

Butforthegrace posted 5/6/2019 09:09 AM

A person is the sum of his actions. That is always true. Therefore, a person who has cheated on a spouse is a person who has cheated. A cheater.

However, people evolve and change. For example, people may abuse alcohol in an earlier phase of life, but then stop drinking. It is accurate for that person to say, in the present tense: "I don't drink." In fact, that person speaks from more legitimacy in a way, because he knows what it's like to abuse alcohol. He understands the slipper slope that he must avoid.

Similar with a reformed criminal. A person convicted of felony assault will, for life, be a "felon". But that does not mean his is a person who actively assaults people.

In your case, depending on how your R has gone, it feels like a cheap shot to say "anymore" in he context you describe. Like you haven't healed from her A. I don't know the background of your thread. However, based on what you say in this thread, it sounds like her statement ("I don't cheat") is true. It would have been way more productive to avoid the passive-aggressive sucker punch and discuss it head on. "Wife, I need to tell you that hearing you say "I don't cheat" was a little triggering to me."

The1stWife posted 5/6/2019 09:09 AM

I would not have said anything publicly.

It is demeaning to be humiliated in front of others.

Since she has a great track record the past 13 years - she WAS a cheater. She should be able to live in the present. Not the past.

I am only 5 years past DDay 2 and false reconciliation. Iím certain my H is not cheating either. He will share with me what a nice guy he is every so often. Howís he kind and helpful to strangers blah blah blah. I always want to blurt out ďthatís how your last Affair startedĒ but I donít.

Itís mean and spiteful. Not that he doesnít deserve it sometimes but I just do not want to hurt his feelings like that. That was the past.

idissent posted 5/6/2019 09:25 AM

I think addressing it in private is perfectly acceptable. Youíve gotten through the worst of it, but itís still a scar. It might be great that she feels she is no longer a cheater, but expressing how those words made you feel is reasonable. The thing we are most defensive about is the part of us that is most destructive, so the fact that she leaped right to all the ways sheís different from her brother rather than the similarities is tellingónot that sheís still cheating or anything, but itís a part of her that sheís not proud of. Acknowledging the work she did while addressing your own feelings is good and healthy.

WilliamM posted 5/6/2019 10:28 AM

Let me clarify one point. She was on the phone talking to her brother's son. My comment was only heard by her. She said it was a reminder of what she was and not what she is. She said that it shows that I still see her in that light, which hurt her. I did apologize for saying it. And I don't believe that she will cheat again. But it will always be in my mind that she did and from time to time it does rear it's ugly head. After thinking about it I do realize now that we are in the affair season, which began in April. Maybe I am just a bit snippy around this time. Usually I can control it. But it came out yesterday.

hikingout posted 5/6/2019 10:38 AM

I think the others have a point. And maybe what I am about to say is because I am too early out. I have a hard time thinking I would say something so sanctimonious to someone. It wasnít that long ago she was in Miami and it seemed she was tuned in then. I wonder if the son didnít know and she was protecting her image to him? Donít beat yourself up about it. It would have been more productive to address it later in a different state of mind but I do think she needed to evaluate what it was such an important profession to make.

WilliamM posted 5/6/2019 11:25 AM

Now that I am removed a day removed from the statement, I do wish I had not said anything but I don't believe she meant any harm by it. And it is true that the nephew does not know about the affair. And to be honest, I am glad that he doesn't. He has a great relationship with her and I would not want to ruin that for him. He has no respect for his father. I think her point was that she is nothing like her brother, which is true. But in that one aspect, they both cheated. It is like a generational curse in her family. Her father cheated, fathered 16 children, her brother and oldest sister cheated. Only the middle girl has not cheated on her spouse in over 22 years of marriage. I think I might have been too sensitive in this case. But she does need to be mindful not to be overly judgmental because it does trigger me some times.

Tigersrule77 posted 5/6/2019 11:38 AM

Of course hindsight is 20-20 and you would do things differently now. It would have been better to ask her how she meant that after she was off the phone.

In comparing to the alcoholism, most people in recovery say they are an alcoholic in recovery. I know several, and they believe they are still alcoholics, but they are choosing not to drink and give in to that tendency.

Personally, I think cheating is similar. I know a few people. I think that they are flawed (we all are). I think that they can choose not to cheat, but the tendency is there.

JimmyB posted 5/6/2019 12:02 PM

I hear things my wife says that make me cringe. She was using cocaine with her AP during their first A. We were talking about past drug use with our adult children, everyone else being honest, at least as far as I know, except I knew for a fact she wasn't. I told about my marijuana use back in the day, before I met my wife as well as the fact that I tried cocaine a few times, again long before I met my wife. When it came to her and she was telling of her past drug use she skipped her cocaine use completely, not even admitting she had ever tried it. I'm not saying I expected her to admit she was doing cocaine with her AP, they don't even know about her A's, but she could have just said she had tried it and left it at that.
Her niece was recently going through some issues with her husband and discovered he was trolling tender. No proof of any further action being taken. My wife made comments to me as well as her niece and her sisters about how horrible doing that was, basically saying what a horrible person he was to her and in general.
She often says and acts upset with people and actions taken that she is repeatedly guilty of herself and appears to not even associate the two.
I resist saying anything, I know her personality and that she would be highly offended no matter if what I had to say was truth. I wish I could just hold one up and say, look in this mirror, see your reflection and say those things to yourself.

Texashunter41 posted 5/6/2019 12:11 PM

I get it William, Iíve done the same. Like reminding them you donít get to forget your may not cheat now but donít go saying you havenít. Her saying she donít cheat in that phase is a lie. She had in the past and should word it better should she chose to discuss matters like that with another person. Personally I think she should have kept herself out of it instead of trying to compare. She set herself up to be reminded sheís not innocent of her past cheating behavior.

Butforthegrace posted 5/6/2019 13:23 PM

Her saying she donít cheat in that phase is a lie.

I disagree with this. Assuming that the A was 13+ years ago, that WilliamM and his fWW have been working on R and post-R the entire time, then saying "I don't cheat" (as a present tense statement) is not a lie. People reform themselves, sometimes from horrible behavior, and become better. I know a guy who murdered somebody, was convicted, spent a long time in prison, then got a college degree and is now a respected professional. It would not be a lie for him to say "I don't kill people," because he doesn't. It would be a lie for him to say "I've never killed anybody." But he has a lot of integrity and wouldn't say that.

I understand how/why WilliamM was triggered. I just think it would be way more productive to address it that way, as opposed to passive-aggressive snooty comments.

timespent posted 5/6/2019 15:43 PM

I don't think you have to be too hard on yourself. Unfortunately these are the consequences of her actions whether one year has passed or 13. The fact that she "shut down" rather than speak up about it right away might suggest she has some lingering entitlement to you being "over" this. I'm glad you seemed to work it out. In my experience my WS battles with himself on a regular basis with his entitlement and sometimes blames me for not moving on. I think it's fine to call them out on it and maybe we don't always do it the most diplomatically but nobody said we were perfect either lol. Cheers.

numb&dumb posted 5/6/2019 15:53 PM


I know this makes me come across as an a-hole (and maybe I am), but I would have told my W that it bothered me when she said that. She might not do it anymore, but she can't really judge anyone from any moral superiority vantage point about fidelity. That is reserved for those of use who did not cheat.

It is painful, it is ugly, but it is also the truth.

I would hope that after her feelings were hurt that she understood where your head was at. Doesn't matter if it was yesterday or 13 years ago. It was a trigger and she needs to help you through that trigger. If she appreciates the grace you've shown her that maybe she remember it and thanked you for not judging her anymore. Hopefully she would understand that others are also deserving of that grace sometimes too.

No I don't think you were being to sensitive. She needs to remember that she too walked that path and hopefully can empathize with those that are hurt by infidelity. You included.

Wool94 posted 5/6/2019 20:31 PM

I know this makes me come across as an a-hole (and maybe I am), but I would have told my W that it bothered me when she said that. She might not do it anymore, but she can't really judge anyone from any moral superiority vantage point about fidelity. That is reserved for those of use who did not cheat.

My thoughts exactly...

ThisIsSoLonely posted 5/6/2019 23:27 PM

This is an interesting topic for me. I overdosed on a cocktail of illegal drugs and ended up in a coma almost 30 years ago when I was very young. Luckily for me I was not addicted, I was just stupid, young, trying to impress people, and didn't think enough of myself. Stopping was as easy as waking up from the coma, saying "holy shit!!!" and being "scared straight" and not having to grapple with addiction. It was EASY for me to give it up precisely because I didn't, luckily, have an addiction problem although I was involved with highly addictive drugs. It was a blessing of the highest order.

That being said, whenever I talk to someone about drugs, I premise it with what I did, NOT to impress them, but to give extra emphasis on my ability to understand certain circumstances and to let someone know I am not judging that which I don't understand on some level.

The lack of accountability for her cheating is a bit of a mindfuck because for me, I totally understand that some people will judge me harshly for my past. My own WH had a bit of a problem with my rather sordid history when we met as I was the "bad girl" and he was a bit of a "goodie goodie" (ironic isn't it?) but I simply do not care about the judgment at all because that is ME. That is my history. I own it. I have learned from it, a lot. I have a pretty fantastic career in spite of it even though I have had to explain it to 5 different bar committees.

If your WS is having trouble owning it - that's a problem IMO - because they are ignoring who they are in order to be perceived as someone who they quite simply are not. It's perfectly fine to address that from your side so long as you don't take it personally - don't. It's your WS's desire to be seen as someone they are not that is the issue.

You have every right to raise your eyebrows at that and be concerned as owning your shit is a huge (and easy I might add) step and a necessary one.

[This message edited by ThisIsSoLonely at 11:28 PM, May 6th (Monday)]

OwningItNow posted 5/7/2019 05:13 AM

If after 13 years of her being great in R you still need to be snarky, that would be a problem. Is she allowed to have any boundaries? If so, she should consider that she has literally done everything right for a very long time and you still can't forgive her. Is this a life sentence for her? Then maybe it's not working out.

There is no snark (also known as passive aggressive crap) that I am going to listen to for the rest of my life no matter how hard I work. I would not stick around in that R.

Sorry if I sound harsh, but at some point, you need to let the passive aggressive go. If you can't, I understand. But then it's not a healthy R.

20yrsagoBS posted 5/7/2019 05:22 AM

Please understand that I am bitter. Why would we Betrayed still want a WS after what they did? They have some nerve to portray themselves as decent people after DDay. I would have corrected my cheater too. You cheat, youíre a cheater. Thedestruction is still there. Murder victims are still dead long after the murderer completes their prison sentence.

[This message edited by 20yrsagoBS at 5:24 AM, May 7th (Tuesday)]

WilliamM posted 5/8/2019 11:24 AM

OwningItNow: I hear you. I normally dont do that. Rarely, in fact. But for some reason, it came out. I did apologize to her for that. It is not something that she has to pay for for the rest of her life. But I still trigger from time to time. Normally I can regulate it much better than I did that day. I have learned positive speech and different coping skills to help me when I do trigger. But that time got me.

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