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Collective Wisdom

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NeverHealed posted 5/10/2019 14:22 PM

So let me sum up the advice of many here, to their children:

ďThis marriage thing, it's a crapshoot. If you happen to marry a good person, they won't cheat on you, no matter how you treat them. But if you marry a bad person, they are going to cheat on you, no matter how you treat them. And it's mostly hard to tell the good from the bad, going in. So make yourself Plan A, and cross your fingers. And if you do get cheated on, never forget, it wasn't your fault.Ē

I'm going to give my children very different advice.

Oldwounds posted 5/10/2019 14:49 PM

If I read another one of your posts correctly, you said cheating "is an option" in a bad marriage.

Yes, it is, but it's not a reasonable option.

Cheating is always a choice by one person to cheat on the other.

Period.

End of story.

To suggest cheating is an option is a bit like suggesting it's okay to start hitting the person who makes you unhappy. It's not okay to do physical damage, so why would it be okay to cause emotional damage?

My advice to my sons --

In a bad relationship? Your reasonable choices:

1. Walking out the front door and not returning.
2. Getting licensed, professional counseling.
3. Talking to your spouse, tell them you're at wits end.
4. Temporarily separating -- stronger message.

I would not tell them marriage is a crapshoot.

It's about staying connected and turning to each other in crisis instead of going outside the marriage and sleeping with someone else.

Dismayed2012 posted 5/10/2019 15:04 PM

Marriage isn't a crapshoot. Teach your kids the signs to look for before marriage and how to protect their futures before and after marriage. Victory loves preparation.

OptionedOut posted 5/10/2019 15:24 PM

I've often wondered if parents taught their kids what boundaries are at an early age if it wouldn't help their kids later in life. With firm boundaries in place, perhaps they wouldn't take crap early on and dismiss it. They'd dump that GF/BF and move on to healthier pastures.

And I know, boundaries alone wouldn't cut it. Maybe teach kids how to treat someone and what is NOT acceptable? Also, how to spot red flags on their boundaries, how to sniff out the dearly dysfunctional psychos, sociopaths, narcs, borderlines.

For kids witnessing the affair of a parent - if a swift and firm consequence isn't given to the WS, what message does that send? If the WS cheats again and the BS stays for whatever reason, what does that teach children?

I don't have kids, so it's all theory on my part.

Loukas posted 5/10/2019 15:26 PM

First off, the fallacy youíve created about the advice here, is childish. ďIím taking my ball and going home.Ē

Secondly, Iíd love to hear your advice to your children after you told them all the ways they could prevent infidelity and they follow it, only to learn one day that they were cheated on anyway. What then, NeverHealed?

I suppose that scenario probably doesnít exist though, huh? I mean how could it?

HoldingTogether posted 5/10/2019 15:40 PM

If you think you can sum up the advice here in one paragraph then you havenít been listening. Or, more likely you have been hearing everything said to you through a filter of your own preconceived notions and prejudices.

Itís cool though, I get it, you donít agree with a lot of what you hear on SI. And you know what? SI is entirely ok with that. Agree, disagree, take what you like and leave the rest. Itís really honestly all good with most of us here.

What I canít figure out is why you seem so heavily invested in convincing other members here that they are wrong.

Itís been my experience, and I could be off base here, that usually when someone is especially vehement and persistent in pushing their beliefs onto others it usually because the foundation upon which those beliefs is built is too fragile to withstand any sort of doubts, questions or close scrutiny.

Something to consider brother. Or not. Really ok either way.

HT

nomadlady posted 5/10/2019 15:44 PM

I'm going to give my children very different advice.

Do tell.

Darkness Falls posted 5/10/2019 15:44 PM

I donít believe any one person can prevent another from cheating except for the would-be cheater.

Adaira posted 5/10/2019 15:58 PM

There are a lot of people on this board really committed to their codependency lately. I donít say that to be snarky or cruel - itís heartbreaking to witness. The sooner we all let go (I include myself as a recovering co-d) of the idea that we can control the behavior of others, the sooner we reach peace.

Hawke posted 5/10/2019 16:20 PM

It's not black and white. Relationships (and for that matter, life in general) involves elements of skill, chance and effort.

Some people do everything right and die when they are young. Some do all kinds of unhealthy and/or risky things, and live until they are 90. For the most part, though, you increase your chances of living longer if you do healthy, safe things.

Likewise, you could do everything right in marriage: waiting until you feel like you know someone well, ensuring that fill your partner's cup (sexually, emotionally, mentally, etc.), and they might still cheat on you, abuse you or leave you. You could also rush into marriage with someone you barely know, be unaware of their needs and desires and your marriage could last. The probability of a marriage lasting (without abuse and cheating) is arguably greater if you do the former, but there is always an element of chance. You might choose carefully, but your partner becomes mentally ill and their personality changes dramatically. You might choose carefully, but your partner dies when you have small children at home. Let's not forget that cheating is not the only bad thing that can happen in a relationship.

I know that the breakdown of my ex and my relationship was a mix of factors. I didn't understand that his attitude toward commitment was different than my own (I honestly never examined it closely until after he cheated - my parents are still committed after nearly 50 years, so that was my model). We both had poor resilience to some things that happened with our kids and allowed it to drive us apart instead of pushing us together. We didn't make each other a priority. It doesn't excuse cheating, but I think we ultimately wouldn't have lasted as a couple without making major changes anyway.

My advice to my kids would be to get to know someone well before making any commitments to them, be aware of certain red flags, act ethically, and, if something does go wrong, I will still be there for them.

Dragonfly123 posted 5/10/2019 23:57 PM

Iíll tell my children that marriage is beautiful but you have to work at it. That children, health, security, jobs get in the way but as long as you keep the lines of communication open and talk you can ride the rocky patches, itís 50:50. If the marriage is abusive, you get out!

But if they cheat on you thatís 100% on them, thatís about selfishness, entitlement and brokenness.

NH I know that youíre in huge amounts of pain. I know that your wife has tried to pin her cheating on your marriage before the affair. But please believe us when we say you canít Ďniceí someone into being happy and loving you properly (talk to anyone who lives with someone with depression). Being happy comes from within not from external factors, (once maslowís basic needs are met of course).

This isnít a political/religious debate where views are entrenched. Posters are truly trying to get you to take the burden off yourself as a husband who drove this women to cheating, to a man who realises that marriage problems happen but you donít fucking cheat and destroy your spouse!

[This message edited by Dragonfly123 at 5:47 AM, May 11th (Saturday)]

HoldingTogether posted 5/11/2019 05:37 AM

Dragonfly123,

HT I know that youíre in huge amounts of pain. I know that your wife has tried to pin her cheating on your marriage before the affair. But please believe us when we say you canít Ďniceí someone into being happy and loving you properly

Not sure if it was me you meant to refer to here. I donít see how anything I wrote here would give anyone the impression I was trying to ďniceĒ anyone back into anything. I canít think of anything Iíve ever written on SI at anytime that might give the impression I was trying to nice anyone back. Frankly I canít think of anything Iíve ever written anywhere period that would convince anyone I was even ďniceĒ at all.

HT

Dragonfly123 posted 5/11/2019 05:46 AM

Haha sorry wrong letters should say NH, have changed them! I do all my posting in between running around like a frantic lunatic with small kids! Sorry!

Good for you! No need to be nice

[This message edited by Dragonfly123 at 6:07 AM, May 11th (Saturday)]

hikingout posted 5/11/2019 06:56 AM

Two of our oldest are engaged. I love the people they have chosen. I tell all of them being married is about being the right partner, maintaining a generous heart towards the other, that sometimes to change the tide when things are going wrong that you have to grit your teeth and be the one to change it.

Thatís very different than what I would tell them if their husband cheated. If that happened I would tell them their husband on dday is sitting with the same issues that they had that led them to cheat. To not just go trusting them Willy billy, to watch them for their actions and dedication to figuring out why they did what they did. I certainly wouldnít say shut like ďyou must not have given them enough sex or treated them well enoughĒ. I would tell them to make themselves plan A - meaning know they can do without them if they have to. Eventually, if their husband seems to have gotten it I would encourage both of them to have long discussions about what they each want for the marriage and to negotiate together what that would look like.

I donít know why itís hard for you to accept that someone who cheats could have and should have made a different decision. That is what I would tell my kids. Yes.

cocoplus5nuts posted 5/11/2019 07:34 AM

When I told my mother that my fch cheated, she said, " Maybe if you had been nicer, he wouldn't have cheated." She was a cheater herself, so...

I have a child who got married and was cheated on after his wife saw how cheating had devastated me. There were red flags before they got married. We discussed them with my son. He was in love, though, and chose to ignore them. Her cheating was not his fault. She had some major issues.

Striver posted 5/11/2019 08:50 AM

Advice I've seen elsewhere is "marry a virgin." I would actually recommend people to marry a little younger if possible than I did. But there are many stories here where one or both were virgins, and someone just had to step out to find out what it was like with another partner.

Foreign brides are another. Also with numerous reported failure cases.

The perfectability of men (apparently women are completely irredeemable) philosophy that's part of the greater manosphere ethos is antithetical to my beliefs. Sin, temptation, and cheating have been part of the picture since the beginning of time. They can be reduced, but not eliminated.

Adlham posted 5/11/2019 10:56 AM

I just tell my kids that Disney is bullshit.

That "happily ever after" fails to mention work, bills, the zombie-like state you find yourself in the first few years after a child is born, etc.

That communication is key, my kids don't read minds, they shouldn't expect their partners to have that ability.

And the big one, marriages are hard work. It takes a lot of effort, learning, and growing. For the rest of your life. Life is always going to throw changes your way. Learning to navigate challenges together is lifelong.

You know, stuff like that. But mostly, don't take inspiration from Disney!

NeverHealed posted 5/12/2019 07:58 AM

Oldwounds - I don't think we disagree.

Dismayed - signs to look for, I agree. Stay away from charming players; they'll never change. But there were no red flags with my wife.

Optionedout - that all sounds good to me.

Loukas - not sure what fallacy you're referring to. My advice? Same as for all of life:

ďDo your best. Yes, doing your best is hard work, but always do your best. Will your best always be good enough? Nope. But if you've done your best, you'll have fewer regrets.Ē

My advice, if they've been cheated on? No kids, walk away. Kids, much more complicated.

HT - what have I missed? As to the rest, I agree that no one shouts that the sun will rise tomorrow. I feel the same way you
do about the crowd shouting ďit wasn't my faultĒ from the rooftops.

Nomad - see above.

Darkness - disagree. If the would-be bank robber wins the lottery the day before, would he/she carry on with the robbery? Probably not. But that's not 100%. Like RIO, I know men who hunt married women for sport. Nothing their wives can do.

Adaira - I put pop psychology right next to diet advice. Something for everybody.

Hawke - you and I certainly agree.

Dragonfly - I came to this site looking for insight into my wife's behavior (not getting any from her). This debate about ďit's not my fault, there's nothing I could have done, she was a bad person, not a good personĒ is peripheral. But I think it is unhealthy. Too much like slacker thinking, for me. I do agree, however, that you can't ďniceĒ somebody back. But that's not the same as ďnice'ingĒ somebody to keep them from going.

HO - not sure what I might have said that would make you think that I don't think a cheater should have made a different decision. Perhaps we disagree on the extent to which I could have influenced her decision.

Coco - as I stated above, I know that cheating may not be the fault of the spouse. And cheating is never justified, never the right answer. I just don't agree that a spouse never contributes, or provides any motivation.

Striver - my wife claims to have been a virgin. I'm no longer sure about anything she told me. And I guess I wonder, a little, if curiosity is a motivator.

Adlham - hear, hear. And, watch out when those initial infatuation feelings fade.

To sum all this up:

I didn't do my best in my marriage, and now I'm left to wonder if doing my best might have made a difference. Many of you would assure me that it wouldn't have; what happened was inevitable. Maybe you're right, but that thinking is just too pat, too self-serving for me. There's a lot of advice here to not let WSs blameshift. Perhaps BSs should think a little about that.

If my wife and I stay together, I am darn sure going to do my best, this time.

edited to correct numerous typos.

[This message edited by NeverHealed at 8:05 AM, May 12th (Sunday)]

cocoplus5nuts posted 5/12/2019 08:58 AM

I know I've said it before in another thread. There's a difference between a BP looking at there part in the M vs. thinking they had a part in the A.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with you trying to be the best you can be. However, you can never be everything to someone else.

My fch does many things for me. However, I know he will never provide me with the intellectual and soul searching stimulation I crave. I stopped expecting him to be able to do that. He's just not a deep thinker. I find friends and other family members for that. What I don't do is look for a boyfriend.

hikingout posted 5/12/2019 09:04 AM

Neverhealed- I think thatís commendable- we should do our best in our marriage.

The argument is really - we all go through different things- life is long- we have deaths of loved ones, Job ssues, personal crisis, all sorts of tradgedies mixed in with the good times. As a cheater, I need to be abke to cope appropriately. No one copes with those things perfectly. Cheating is a form of bad coping. If the bs takes any responsibly for that they are fooling themselves into believing they have any control over anyone elseís behavior. But I think what I hear you saying is not control but influence. That could be right to some degree in some situations. However, as the cheater I feel I am the one who put myself in the situation that I was isolated and lonely by not reaching for my husband rather than someone else. So all I would say is yes move forth and try in your marriage, I think we all should try for the things we want, love, want to achieve. But do it with eyes wide open that no matter what you do she may or may not have bad coping (or whatever it is in her case) in the future. The shit needs fixed - the things that made her able to cheat other than making the numerous other choices instead were her own issues.

[This message edited by hikingout at 9:05 AM, May 12th (Sunday)]

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