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Getting away with it

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MalibuBayBreeze posted 5/7/2019 15:25 PM

This is not meant to be a generalization. No desire to go there, this is just a thought and observation from my own thinking. My own hypothesis so to speak.

As a BS we spend an awful lot of time twisting ourselves into pretzels trying to comprehend the incomprehensible. The why and how questions regarding our spouses infidelity being thrown out as a lifeline. Something to cling to in an attempt to save our sanity.

We hear about FOO issues. Poor boundaries. Narcissism. Selfishness. Abusive childhoods. Addictions. Alcoholism. And so on.

When discovered however it seems, at least on this forum, that more often than not the BS is willing to try to R. The WS gets another chance even in cases with multiple infidelities and ranging from a ONS to having had a LTA which for some spanned decades.

Divorce is painful, expensive, messy, and splits finances, homes, businesses, child custody, extended families and friendships. Two of the top reasons for a WS being given another chance are money and kids. More often than not neither spouse really wants to walk away, divide everything and start over.

Infidelity is rampant. So much so now it seems to be the new norm. It's trending. Sick as that is. Loyalty seems to be rarer and rarer. People do not rush to divorce attorneys, despite believing they would immediately do so upon discovery of an affair, myself included.

So could this be a reason? Could the fact that so many do indeed get away with it be a factor? Is there an arrogance, a dismissive attitude that tells them that chances are good they won't lose everything?

NotTheManIwas posted 5/7/2019 15:50 PM

MBB, I think that you've thoroughly nailed it. The specter of consequences just doesn't really exist. If you want to fuck around, and possibly get caught, just weather the storm. I think about this often...

hadji posted 5/7/2019 16:00 PM

Are you sure that they aren't losing something substantially? Of course they still get to have a faithful BS, the marriage, the security, and all that.

But does that mean, at the end of the day the WS does not suffer life-altering consequences? As much as we hear stories on this site about WS from hell, we also see WS who have been taken to task even though their BS did not dump them. I mean, if a BS isn't letting the WS rugsweep, making the WS admit to themselves that they are broken, and expects the WS to show humility while also working hard to save the marriage, do you think the WS are really getting away with it?

If these are the things that the BS expects the WS should be doing for a successful R (and anecdotally speaking many BS do make their WS accountable), would you ever want to be in that situation? I mean, a WS even if s/he knows that s/he won't lose the marriage, will still not be blind to see what else s/he is losing.

[This message edited by hadji at 4:04 PM, May 7th (Tuesday)]

marji posted 5/7/2019 16:02 PM

MBBFirst off, in the interest of honesty, I have to say I don't agree that infidelity is anything new; it's a main theme of movies from the 1930's and 40's and on up; a major theme of literature--even before Shakespeare's time; it's a element of national history and politics.

What's probably new about infidelity is women being less inclined to put up with it in much the same way as they, we, are inclined to put up with men exploiting, disrespecting, abusing.

In years past women were told to accept their husbands affairs and long time mistresses in much the same way women were told to be quiet about abuse at work and at play. Political wives put up with their H's affairs for political and social reasons; at a time when women were much less a part of the paid labor force, they put up with their H's infidelities for economic reasons.

But while I don't think there's anything new about infidelity, I do agree with your thinking that these guys feel they can get away with it. I think it's common for them to think "what they don't know won't hurt . . ." and that they feel confident we won't find out.

And indeed sometimes they are almost right. I did not find out for ten years! And it was quite possible that after retirement my H would have quite his hobby and I would never have found out.

I know of an SI member whose H was having an affair, wait, scratch that, having sex with someone at his work almost daily for over 15 years before she discovered. I know a woman who has been involved with a married man for over 40 years; they are both now in their 80's and the wife passed some years ago. She never knew what was going on.

I know my H was shocked when he was found out. He had become complacent. As time passed, he just assumed no one would know. But that was just about him and his activity. He never gave any thought to anyone else's cheating or anyone else's consequences.

So yes, they feel entitled and yes, they are often, maybe usually, oblivious to consequences.

I suspect that whatever satisfaction, escape, enjoyment, they derive from whatever creepy, dishonest, disrespectful, corrupt, destructive thing they are doing, has the effect of making them oblivious; the very act of the cheating makes them feel powerful; in the cheating they are going to another world-and it's not one that reminds them of what they are doing, and what they are loosing. The world they go to when they cheat, when they lie, when they betray, is not one that makes them smart. It's a very bad world that teaches bad things.

cancuncrushed posted 5/7/2019 16:26 PM

They do get away with least for awhile...I wonder if they ever really think it thru...or just act....My STXWH thought he wouldn't get caught...he did out of state cheating...HE got away with it for many years....I suspected...the marriage was was during the recession, when travel was cut back, that he made the mistake of cheating in was her that spilled the beans...he wasn't expecting AP to be so obvious...and he basically chose her...for a time...

We didn't weather the storm...the storm was constant....I didn't get over it...he didn't was very ugly...things were far from being a marriage.

When I didn't D him....he really believed he could get away with it....I had proven just that...and it did continue...I could never catch him...he had no set schedule at work...

It not always about getting caught, or getting away with it...some know clearly they are being cheated on...and still choose to stay....For me it was more about living Divorced....This was my second 36 years....I remember what it was like to be divorced...I remember in detail...I was never happy....holidays are terrible...mostly spent matter how much I plan...etc. Its a lonely place.

I dreaded our marriage ending...I did prepare.....WH left me...because he relapsed...and cheated marriage was horrible...I remember being divorced as horrible...

now I have been separated for 1 year....I cant decide which is worse. They are just different..Neither are what I would have chosen for my life...only one has the option of improving...and I am following that route...Im Ding. I guess he didn't get away with it forever...He lacked morals...he lacked empathy...he was entitled. It would never end.

If I didn't hate living the divorced life so much, I would have Divorced him years ago....Neither choice was good for me. I do appreciate the peace. I have to recognize that... Im left wondering why cheating is worth it? they lose so much...they cause so much pain.....for what? really...

[This message edited by cancuncrushed at 4:38 PM, May 7th (Tuesday)]

hikingout posted 5/7/2019 16:42 PM

I can only speak for myself...I just plain thought I would get away with it. Meaning he would never know.

But despite that when it was over I told him. It does not feel like I got away with anything. I donít think a ws gets away without pain and consequence unless they are a sociopath or carry an equitable mental illness.

ChamomileTea posted 5/7/2019 16:47 PM

By the time I busted him, I honestly don't think my WH believed he cared whether he lost everything or not. I'm sure he was thinking, "fuck her, I'd rather live in a cardboard box" or whatever. But just like I had always believed I wouldn't entertain thoughts of R after adultery, I think people can sometimes surprise themselves about what really matters to them when the chips are really down.

For cheaters who do get dumped, a lot of times they're truly astonished that there were consequences. Surely they must have known that what they were doing was wrong and that they could end up divorced over it, but they're often unaccountably shocked by the outcome, defensive even.

I have to wonder if our human imaginations are really up to the planning on this issue. We imagine we'll react one way, but when the time is actually upon us, we often do the opposite.

AbandonedGuy posted 5/7/2019 16:48 PM

I'm half on this train. I see people say "things won't change until we stop letting them happen" about other types of why not infidelity? By staying with the cheater, you're implicitly sanctioning their behavior whether you feel that way or not (I'm sure most don't). They cheated, they kept their spouse, albeit with some extra headaches along the way to R. What did they really learn? What did they really lose?

I say this as unjudgmentally as possible because of course I had no say in the dissolution, plus I'd be right there putting up with a cheater to save my marriage if I had the chance--I know it's complicated. BUT...this is food for thought.

Edit: I posted before reading hikingout's post. Obviously I'm talking about the WSs less inclined to assign blame to themselves.

[This message edited by AbandonedGuy at 4:49 PM, May 7th (Tuesday)]

emergent8 posted 5/7/2019 16:56 PM

I can only speak for myself...I just plain thought I would get away with it. Meaning he would never know.

My WH swears up and down that he had the same (lack of) thought process. It boggles my mind, but there it is.

Chaos posted 5/7/2019 17:06 PM

They did get away with it - at least for a period of time [some short - some long]. They lived the best of both worlds. Some may argue that - but I am of the opinion of if it was such torture and such an inner conflict - it would have stopped. Every hook up, call, text, even thought was an opportunity to keep it alive or stop it. They chose to keep it alive. Fog be damned - you can choose to remain there or navigate out.

The betrayed are innocent victims that will never get their innocence back. They will always carry scars. R, D or in-between - it will always be carried with them in one way or another. The "choice" is one that shouldn't have to be made - we chose marriage and fidelity. Now we must choose the Devil we know vs the Devil we don't. Either way - we are forever changed.

I can't speak for the wayward mindset. And I won't give a generalization as I haven't walked in their shoes.

But lives are forever changed. I am walking collateral damage in other's selfishness. I had no choice. That was stolen from me over and over and over.

Much like the Littlest Mermaid I dance without anyone realizing that each step is like a thousand knives. Except the Littlest Mermaid chose knowing the possible outcome. I had no choice.

There is nothing that can ever make my scars go away. I can bedazzle the shit out of them and make them look like the most beautiful part of me. But they are still there. And they hurt.

Paraphrase the following movie quote at will. It sums it all up for me.

Inigo - Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.

Rugen - No!

Inigo - Now! Offer me money!

Rugen - Yes!

Inigo - Power too! Promise me that.

Rugen - All that I have and more. Please...

Inigo - Offer me everything I ask for!

Rugen - Anything you want!

Inigo - I want my father back you son of a bitch.

onthefence123 posted 5/7/2019 17:15 PM

So could this be a reason? Could the fact that so many do indeed get away with it be a factor?
It's hard to say. Let me propose that most cheaters actually do not get away with it. We see here where people divorce the cheater immediately or after some reflection.

Then, there are the betrayed that reconcile with the WS. But, they aren't getting away with it, using my situation as an example. I don't consider us reconciling yet, either, but I sure as hell wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of what he has had to put up with from me, POSOW, or himself. For reconciliation to happen, the BS needs to see action and commitment and if the WS is remorseful, they end up so deflated that they can't even look at themselves. I don't think that's getting away with it...

Last, there are some cheaters that are allowed to stick around for the reasons you stated. Again, though, are they really getting away with it? The cheater now lives with someone that can barely stand them just for the sake of said reason(s). The cheater is now the one being used.

I have absolutely no stats or references, just submitting some thoughts.

Considering the thoughts above, I am wondering if not getting away with it is not the reason for the upward trend but rather it more relates to the answer to the following question:

Is there an arrogance, a dismissive attitude that tells them that chances are good they won't lose everything?
First, yes, they are extremely arrogant, but it's not about losing anything, it's way more simple: they don't think they will get caught. With all of the new technology available right at their fingertips, it makes the communication, lies, and build-up soooooo easy and because you can "lock" and "hide" such technology, cheaters convince themselves that they will be able to keep it a secret forever because of the perception of secrecy and protection.

And to offer one more thing, no WS could ever understand the devastation this causes until they actually live it. So, whether or not someone else "gets away with it," whether or not someone else is outed to every person in the world, it would not matter. I don't think anyone can assimilate what will actually happen. It doesn't matter how many movies, books, documentaries, friends' stories, etc. that you are exposed to, no one gets it until they live it. I never realized the trauma this causes the BS until I became one. I always had sympathy for others' situations, but damn, I was completely blindsided by the aftermath. I think many not directly exposed to it simply think, "Yeah, WS had an affair, BS divorced them," and they think everyone moves on.

No one has a fucking clue.

stolenyears posted 5/7/2019 17:31 PM

This point flummoxed me for a long time in recovery. She got to have all the fun. She got the excitement of a new relationship. She got the dopamine rush from the limerence. She got to fuck strange and new. I just got fucked...

I can only speak for myself...I just plain thought I would get away with it. Meaning he would never know.

My fWW said the same thing, Hikingout. I was never going to get hurt because I was never going to know, until I did.

After looking at the middle school lines that the final AP used that she bought, I asked her how it felt to be played like a fiddle? I would not want to live with THAT humiliation knowing I killed my marriage for some lies that a teenage boy could have written. Knowing that there is nothing special about Schmoopie, and the lines he used were right out of the Playa handbook on how to seduce married women, it has to be a sad realization that hits when the fog clears. "You mean, I am not special like he told me?" "We are not soul mates?"

MalibuBayBreeze posted 5/7/2019 18:24 PM

I am aware infidelity has always been around. I just believe it is much more prevelant, easier, and easier to accomplish. Temptation is everywhere, 24/7. In real time. The amount of people willing to film and photograph themselves in sex acts is stunning to me. I'm no prude, love sex, and am very confident in my abilities, but I also have personal integrity and self respect.

Social media and hook up sites are in our homes. Every day. All the time. Down to a simple online game. Infidelity has taken root like never before IMO.

I have to wonder if our human imaginations are really up to the planning on this issue. We imagine we'll react one way, but when the time is actually upon us, we often do the opposite.

I know I fully imagined myself reacting completely differently. Never would have giving him a second chance been an option. I saw myself going full on nuclear. That obviously didn't happen. But as slow as it is coming the winds of change are blowing.

I do believe my WH was very smugly believing he wouldn't get caught. To me a LTA reeks of that. As if he and the MOW comfortably settled into their relationship. The look on his face as I dropped each new crumb I had said it all. The way it fell when I said her name saw that smugness vanish.

He has gotten away with it because we are still married but I no longer see it as a marriage. I don't think he realizes I feel that way. My feelings have changed dramatically over the past 3 years. He doesn't have the love from me he used to. If he senses it all, he likely doesn't care being a narc. If anything it's losing me as a cheerleader that would bother him more.

On DDay when I ridiculously and in an out of my mind state decided way too quickly not to toss him out the shift in his demeanor and emotion was palpable. I could almost feel him thinking just that, he got away with it. Because I'm sure he believed I would toss him out.

At this point he can think what he wants. Whether it's still feeling like the man for accomplishing what he did and for years, or realizing the damage that was done by seeing my detachment. It is what it is.

The danger with a WS believing they got away with it lies in the possibility that it will make them feel confident rolling the dice again. Hence the many posts about multiple DDays and discoveries of new affairs.

Perhaps I view the world and people differently now. How much can they get away with? What's the biggest get over they can accomplish? For a WS to so fully submerge themselves in outside relationships there has to be that confidence. Maybe in some cases a mindset of what their spouse doesn't know won't hurt them since so many insist they never intended to leave the marriage nor wished to hurt their spouse.

But it all boils down to the individual. If you think you could commit the perfect crime of infidelity (yes I consider it criminal), would you?

For me, the answer is no.

Mene posted 5/7/2019 19:00 PM

Itís what haunts me every day since DDay. She got away with it I feel. There is no justice. Whether you R or D. The BS gets a life sentence they have to live with for a crime they didnít commit. As one of our most wonderful Presidents said (just ignore his infidelity issues for a moment): ďthe world wasnít meant to be fairĒ...

staystrong101 posted 5/7/2019 19:41 PM

I agree. Most do get away with it. They get their fun, hot sex, exciting secret life. When they get caught, thereís drama for awhile and things are uncomfortable at home. But after awhile, things settle down. Yes, people usually stay for kids, money, and usually (letís be honest) the BSís fears of being alone. The WS always know they got away with. My XWH told me pretty much this - he thought Iíd vent for awhile but Iíd eventually get over it. He was wrong.

hadji posted 5/7/2019 19:42 PM

"You mean, I am not special like he told me?" "We are not soul mates?"

Not to digress. But isn't that one of the greatest consequences for the WS? Not that she now knows she wasn't special to her AP, but she is no more special to the one who really mattered - you.

If your WW is remorseful, she probably realizes that the one chance she had at finding a "soulmate" was with you, and she probably believes now that you were that for her, but now since you don't believe in that anymore, she has lost that once chance at a soulmate relationship.

Of course, you lost that chance too for no fault of yours. But in the end you don't believe that she's special to you while she probably believes that you are special to her. Not to be loved as much as by the person you now realize that love and blowing away that chance forever - Isn't this imbalance of love/specialness a pain forever?

sassylee posted 5/7/2019 20:36 PM

I know, when I held my WHís face in my hands, told him I loved him but wanted a divorce - he was gob-smacked. It never occurred to him I would D him. Ridiculous right? He has an affair, sees my devastation, promises to end it - and yet when i catch it gone underground - he couldnít believe Iíd end our marriage. Iím sure he figured heíd get yelled at or have to deal with some tears - but divorce???

I think some WS think we love them unconditionally like we do our children. Thereís nothing my children could do that would make me stop loving them. Disappointed, heartbroken and hurt - sure...but never could I stop being their Mom. But I donít love my husband unconditionally. My love for everyone else absolutely comes with conditions. Respect, loyalty, basic human decency are the minimum to earn my love.

Once that little misconceived fairy tale in my Hís head was deflated - he stepped up. Love is a choice...itís on him to make that choice easy for me.

[This message edited by SI Staff at 8:39 PM, May 7th (Tuesday)]

CaptainRogers posted 5/7/2019 20:41 PM

I'm reminded of a bit by Bill Engvall several years ago. In it, he recounts a visit to the doc for his annual physical where his wife joined him. The doc was discussing his blood test and told Bill that his cholesterol was high while his wife was in the room. In the bit, his response was "Thanks, doc. It would have been better if you had told her I was cheatin' on her. Then I'd only have to take some garbage. Now I gotta eat it."

I used to think that was a funny quip. Now it pisses me off.

As to the whole "get away with it" mindset, I know that my wife didn't exactly have that. She had the "I thought our marriage was over, so it didn't matter." mindset.

[This message edited by CaptainRogers at 8:44 PM, May 7th (Tuesday)]

Adaira posted 5/7/2019 21:41 PM

I divorced my cheater, so he did lose everything. An amazing woman, time with his kids, his home, the respect of those who know what he did. Meanwhile I gained so much - freedom from abuse, self love, new found confidence, and peace. I refuse to ďserve a life sentenceĒ for what he did. Does it still hurt sometimes? Of course. But not as much as living with somebody who would willingly destroy me for the whims of his dick.

stolenyears posted 5/7/2019 21:50 PM

This is the biggest loss for me hadji...

But in the end you don't believe that she's special to you while she probably believes that you are special to her. Not to be loved as much as by the person you now realize that love and blowing away that chance forever - Isn't this imbalance of love/specialness a pain forever?

The loss of 'the special' is the hardest part for me. And I think it is gone forever. I don't believe in soulmates, or that there is only one. There are over 7 billion people on the planet, so odds are good that there is more than one 'only one'. I'm not looking for anyone else, but the loss of the special has been the source of many IC sessions...and if that is what it means to get away with it, I don't want to live that pain.

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