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Are WW's just good people who do bad things?

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marriageredux959 posted 5/13/2019 14:11 PM

I've not read "Not Just Friends" (yet) because my husband's infidelity was so impersonal that it was almost anonymous. LOLOL "Not Just Friends" seems to, 'not apply.' Maybe I should read it...

Coco, I get what you are saying. I too have felt, invisible? ignored? diminished? martyred? to Husband's apparently insatiable need for self-actualization. It's like I was married to his level of comfort and security, and he was married to his level of comfort and security. If I wasn't happy with that, I could go fuck myself.

His need for ego kibbles has been so strong as to be overwhelming for both of us. I can say honestly that it has easily caused him more pain than it caused me over the years. It's been like a devil chasing him through his life. That being said, it has certainly taken its pound of flesh out of my ass as well.

I blame FOO issues. I know the FOO and it's not a stretch.

Interestingly enough, his one physical infidelity had nothing whatsoever to do with ego kibbles. The woman wasn't stoking or stroking his ego. She was merely physically available. The point on which that transaction turned was "permission." Husband gave himself "permission" to partake- something I've never done (despite an amazing number of opportunities.) (Dicks falling out of the sky- literally.) (And despite a huge motivation for doing so- if anyone actually needed a dose of ego kibbles in this marriage, it was me.)

Most of Husband's early acting out has subsided. There were a myriad of other inappropriate behaviors as well back in the day, that manifested themselves in a Jekyll/Hyde fashion. We've been talking about this now for months and this concept is finally getting some traction with Husband.

Husband has spent a literal lifetime treating every. single. transgression. as a discreet incident, separate and unrelated to any other incident, with no overarching character issue.

I see it *exactly* as a maturity and character issue, perhaps as deep seated and as intractable as a personality trait. I don't yet know how I feel about that- which is causing no small degree of angst and instability here. Husband wants to see these behaviors as maturity issues, as "mistakes" he's outgrown.

Oh, he 'outgrew' them alright, and transitioned neatly into a mid-adulthood workaholism. Unassailable ego kibbles abound! No suffocating ties to a relationship! My job was to be a very attractive all purpose kitchen appliance- like a toaster who could also vacuum, balance the checkbook, shop for groceries, cook dinner, manage whatever (limited) social connections he deemed appropriate, and also (for a large part of our marriage) bring in a substantial supplemental income.

He came home almost every night, and (as far as I know) kept his dick in his pants- what else did I want? But the overwhelming portion of his emotional and psychological energy was focused on work and the people who occupied that sphere of his life- because that's where the ego kibbles and the self-actualization lived.

There are many, many people in Husband's life who would be surprised to shocked to learn of this, and the other inappropriate, immature behaviors that disrupted our early marriage. To the world at large, Husband is the epitome of responsibility and accountability. To me, he was reliable 90% of the time, and the other 10% of the time was anywhere between terrifying and making me question my sanity.

Midlife became All About Work and we've stayed stuck there for years, decades.

He's servicing, has been servicing, some self-esteem issues at the expense of the marriage and virtually the entire landscape of his life. I've merely been infrastructure- his relationship with me has more resembled that of a teenager with a driver's license and his parents. I swear the man got stuck at that age emotionally and that's where we've stayed, more or less, for the duration of this marriage.

I used to say that I was married to a perpetual 14 year old, which was perplexing to Husband, who gets up and goes to work every day of his life. Well, 14 year old Husband did that as well- for his own benefit. It provided him with spending money and got him out of the house, away from authority figures whose rules and restrictions he found suffocating, put him in an infrastructure where the rules and restrictions made more sense to him, seemed less arbitrary, and bonus round, he got paid for following them!

I feel like I've been trapped in this same dynamic with him for decades. I don't think the rules and restrictions for marriage are arbitrary- keep your hands off of other women, get your ass home before dawn, etc. but in our early years, he seemed to think any "rules" or boundaries at all were an afront to his enfranchisement. =/

Now it's like I'm married to an 21 or 22 year old. College is over, adulthood is finally beginning, stupid hangovers are ridiculous and disruptive, and if he works and works and works he gets ego kibbles and a paycheck!

It really is all about him, and has been for years.

And I'm in the process of parsing out whether I'm OK with this version of Husband and marriage, and if it will ever really change (doubtful.)

Is this the best one can hope for? Maybe. I don't know. He is his own distinct enfranchised person. It's not up to me to dictate what works for him. I decide what works for me, and I stay or go depending on that.

What became apparent early on upon our much belated true DDay, and remains true now, is that an episode of actual physical, sexual infidelity is more than I can absorb. I can absorb, tolerate, process, even ignore one hell of a lot of selfish, self-centered behavior, but at some level, physical/sexual infidelity was and is a deal breaker.

I'm still here, but Marriage #1 is over. I'm deciding if the possibility of Marriage #2 to this person is worth the investment. Truth in advertising- Husband gets to decide that as well.

So far we're deciding it on a day by day, and sometimes minute by minute, basis.

Apparently, Perel and Glass are saying pretty much the same thing: the person less committed to the marriage for whatever reason is the one who cheats.

I feel like the poster child for that concept. If I hadn't had two babies hanging off of me, I'd have probably walked years ago based solely on Husband's sanitized, minimized, Disney-fied narrative of what happened. Narrative Lite, especially couched in the surrounding circumstances of the choices Husband made that landed him in the situation, was enough of a reason to walk. Husband was obviously less married than I was, and his choices and actions screamed that from the rooftops. I have no doubt that he was being the best version of him that he could have been at that time- and I have no doubt that he was less married than me.
Regardless, I had two babies and I stayed. There is no doubt in my mind that it was the right choice for those babies.

Was it the right choice for me? Arguments abound in either direction. To this day I still heavily consider that I missed my exit years ago.

Is Husband a different man now? I don't know. What is the right choice for me now? I don't know.


[This message edited by marriageredux959 at 2:17 PM, May 13th (Monday)]

SisterMilkshake posted 5/13/2019 14:59 PM

@marriageredux959, I really enjoy your style of writing.

I feel you would gain some insight into infidelity if you read "Not Just Friends" by Glass. It did more for FWH and I than a lot of MC did. It was eye opening for him and could see himself so much in the real life experiences that Glass shared in the book. There is also quizzes to take and they were eye opening to FWH. Especially the one where I came out as the one most unhappy in the marriage and was more vulnerable to infidelity. However, I didn't commit infidelity. Because...boundaries.

Now my FWH's LTA was a FWB's/NSA LTA. At least on his part. OW said It was okay with the deal but It actually was hoping to step into my shoes when I died from the cancer I was battling at the time. We read the book together. We were to read 1 or 2 chapters a week (depending on how big the chapters were) and we made notes and highlighted what we wanted to discuss with each at the designated time we made each week to discuss the book. It was actually quite awesome and brought us very close and gave us new insights into each other. It also helped FWH realize how wrong he was and how to change those behaviours.

I think "Not Just Friends" by Dr. Shirley Glass is the bible on infidelity. It will answer the questions of are WW, WS's, AP's good people who do bad things. As she is a therapist she doesn't like to label people as "good" or "bad" either, but she describes different types of people. You can draw your own conclusions. I think every member should read it. I will caution, though, it was very difficult for me to read some of it. If I had read it too close to d-day, I don't feel I could have handled it. We read it about 10 months post d-day and some of it was still difficult to handle. (the describing of our WS's sliding down the slippery slope... )

barcher144 posted 5/13/2019 18:05 PM

I have met truly horrible people. I would not describe my WW as bad, but neither would I describe her as good.

I used to think that my WW was a good person who did something bad.

It turns out that she is a horrible person. She was lying and gaslighting all along.

rambler posted 5/13/2019 20:55 PM

It is not good versus evil but staying married versus not.

Not a good person doing bad things but someone indicating they no longer want or should be married to you.

marriageredux959 posted 5/13/2019 21:00 PM

SisterMilkShake,

Thank you!

I have looked at the table of contents for "Not Just Friends" and I see what you mean. It's going on my Kindle tonight.

I've actually felt guilty all afternoon/evening about my previous post. It concentrates on all of Husband's worst qualities with nary a mention of his many good and great qualities.

Also, the vast majority of his acting out behaviors (including the one incident of infidelity) are ancient history.

Is he stubborn? As the day is long, but OK.

I can think of a lot of women right off of the top of my head who would consider a workaholic husband a blessing. (Believe me, it has implications and downsides, but overall, it's not the worst vice a man can have.)

AbandonedGuy posted 5/14/2019 00:31 AM

The weird thing is there's still a notion rattling around somewhere in here that wants to give her a little benefit of the doubt. Despite all that she did and was. I guess I habitually try to see the "good" in people, or maybe it's just not wanting to feel like I was used for so long, or maybe I feel sympathy for such a broken person. Ultimately, I just don't like being dismissive of people because there's that "but what if I read that wrong" feeling that pervades my reflection on things. Still, it's hard to misread an affair-abandonment I guess. You'd think that those Cluster B's would make this easier on you to sort out emotionally, but it doesn't work like that.

Rideitout posted 5/14/2019 06:10 AM

You'd think that those Cluster B's would make this easier on you to sort out emotionally, but it doesn't work like that.

There are certainly a contingent of cheaters who fall into the "Not Just Friends" category. But, and I think this is important, there's another group of cheaters who fall into the "cluster B" category. I know a LOT of "cluster B" cheaters in my personal life. People who get into a "friendship" with a woman with the express intent of bedding her. People who plan and create opportunity for themselves to find new partners/engage with existing partners. Figuring out which your cheater is does, IMHO, color the path of your R. And I have no idea how to tell them apart, everyone sounds like "Not Just Friends" at d-day, because admitting the "cluster B" stuff that my friends talk to me about would be a very bad answer to the "why". "NJF" and "slid into the A, didn't realize what's happening" sounds a whole lot better than "Suzy wore a cute dress to work, realized I'd like to f**k her, went about formulating a plan to f**k her". But there are at least some, and, IMHO, a lot of cheaters who fall into that 2nd group. Taking it further, I think most A's have at least 1 (and perhaps 2) "cluster B's" in it. Because without someone driving the bus, it doesn't go anywhere. Yes, you might have some off color banter, or even some mutual attraction to someone your friends with. But, at some point, someone has to formulate a plan. "I'm going to wait until after dinner and see if I can get Suzy alone, then ask her to come to another bar, then see if I can get her to my hotel. I picked up some condoms this morning and will put on my best suit, etc, etc". And once that happens, once one or both partners are formulating "the plan" to cheat, that's when the cluster B stuff is on full display. And for the other partner, it can feel like "Wow, that "just happened" and I guess we are just friends who got to close" where, for the other partner, it's not that way at all, it was a formulated plan and script followed with a goal in mind.

To the OT, I think that much of the time, women aren't the "cluster B" partner. That's not because they are good people, it's just that they don't have to be that person to have an A, someone else can take the more "active" role. But not always! Sometimes there's plenty of planning, female looking to mate poach the boss; probably the most typical example, but there are plenty of them you can point to. So this "cluster B" type stuff isn't restricted to men, but I do think it's more common in men than women in an A.

Is one worse than the other? Only you can answer that. I find it pretty awful on both sides, a man plotting and then executing that plot to bed my wife and rip my marriage apart sounds bad, yes. But then looking at my W, someone stupid enough to rip our M apart for something she didn't even get and to fall into a relationship like this and be another man's f**ktoy? No, not at devious, but stupidity isn't exactly an admirable trait either. Both are terrible.

hikingout posted 5/14/2019 08:05 AM

But then looking at my W, someone stupid enough to rip our M apart for something she didn't even get and to fall into a relationship like this and be another man's f**ktoy? No, not at devious, but stupidity isn't exactly an admirable trait either. Both are terrible.


I don't disagree the decision to have an affair has is it's own stupidity. But, I think the way you continue to frame this isn't accurate.

I can't speak for your wife. Maybe she did just go looking for love somewhere else. I don't think so, but I will speak for myself. If I boil it down, I wasn't looking for love, I was looking to escape my reality. I got what I was looking for in the affair, I just should not have been looking for it. I think you frame the value of it based on what you would value, and that's a big misunderstanding. I just don't think anyone has an affair saying "I want to fall in love with someone else", I DO think some have an affair because they want to have sex with someone else.

You keep painting the picture that these women (you say your wife) but I will keep it to me..that we were just over here minding our own business and this person came along and talked them out of our panties. That's a level of stupid I don't think most women have. We know when we are being hit on and when a man wants to have sex with us. We know the deal. We aren't these little bunnies who innocently hop into a danger area. I think if there is any advantage being taken is that it happened to me during a very dark place in my life. It felt good, and I hadn't felt good in a long time (and THAT is MY fault - I am responsible for my own happiness).

Yeah, he might have told me some shit that wasn't real to get into the panties. But, I told him shit that wasn't real too. There is manipulation and using on both sides of the affair. Look at your wife's hypersexuality during - I don't think that was her for a minute. You have to ask yourself why she was doing all that stuff to manipulate him back.

You keep thinking it's as simple as words. I would tell you it's far more complex than that. I tell you that for two reasons, you have a very simplified view of what happened that makes one person in the affair seem like a victim. And, two, I think it really hinders you in knowing what to look for in your wife that she is now safe (besides the pain she experienced because of the affair), and it hinders you in really understanding that your wife chose to isolate herself from you just as much as you might have been not "paying attention" at the wheel. I know you have stated that this gives you a better sense of security if you think it was something you could have done to prevent it. But, I think it's a false sense of security.

I won't tell you that you might see the signs earlier next time because you probably would. A BS isn't going to trust blindly again. And, I think you can influence your wife some by having a good marriage with her. But, this stuff about her not getting anything out of the affair and painting her as a victim, eh, I just don't buy that for one minute.


[This message edited by hikingout at 8:07 AM, May 14th (Tuesday)]

turnthepage posted 5/14/2019 15:43 PM

Every time this question pops up my wife always says that she was a bad person when she was having an affair. It did expose bad parts of her character. There are good parts of her character as well. No one is all good or all bad.

Darkness Falls posted 5/14/2019 16:43 PM

SMS, I have to disagree with Shirley Glass as itís a generalization. In some very major ways my husband is and was by far the less invested partner. However, my decision should have been to divorce rather than monkey-branch to a more compatible replacement.

[This message edited by Darkness Falls at 5:13 PM, May 14th (Tuesday)]

SisterMilkshake posted 5/14/2019 18:05 PM

I think Dr. Glass probably didn't say it as a generalization. I am sure she expressed it as the one less invested in the marriage is the one most often or more likely the one that commits infidelity.

Darkness Falls posted 5/14/2019 18:09 PM

Itís probably true. Iíd also like to add that although he has always been the least invested, he is a truly good person. I, while more invested, am not.

20yrsagoBS posted 5/15/2019 05:48 AM

This sparks the question:

Are narcissists good people?

Isnít that an oxymoron?

Cheating is bad. Cheaters are morally corrupt. To me, yes, they are bad.

That said, those who cheat, then ACTUALLY do the work to fix their shot, ARE good people. They became good people. To cheat, you need to be broken, corrupt, bad. To discover why you chose that path, then fix that broken thing inside you? That makes you a Super Hero!

SisterMilkshake posted 5/15/2019 15:06 PM

@DarknessFalls I understand why you would feel that way about yourself. I feel you are a good person, though. The greater good, maybe?

Also, about Dr. Shirley Glass. Not only was she a therpist she is also a researcher. She backed up her observations with evidence and stats.

LivingWithPain posted 5/15/2019 15:57 PM

My fWW isn't a bad person. She just decided to be an idiot for six months.

Darkness Falls posted 5/15/2019 16:09 PM

Thank you, SMS, but itís not just limited to having cheated. I donít think of others first. I find it difficult to empathize in certain situations. Doing the right thing doesnít come naturally to me in some ways; I have to constantly check myself and work at it.

stolenyears posted 5/15/2019 16:54 PM

It took me a while to wrap my head around what my wife had done. I was in denial for a month or so that she could have even been in a situation where her clothes came off with some asshole. Not MY wife. There is no way SHE could have perpetrated such a heinous betrayal, much less multiple times. Which led me to the crazy thought that Hikingout mentioned earlier...

that we were just over here minding our own business and this person came along and talked them out of our panties.
I was sure this was true because I had put my wife on a pedestal and no way was she capable, so this delicate little flower had to be a victim of some playa. Then reality set in.

Yes, there are some bad people in the world. Was what the US did bad? Hell yes. However, I would think that most people fall in the middle of the bell curve and while not good or bad, what they did was horrendously awful.

I see it now for what it was. My wife was not a victim at all. She was an active participant, and wanted to have her cake and eat it too. Anything aside from that makes her a victim and allows sideways energy towards the AP, which I want no part in. I don't know why this post was specifically about WWs. Some are bad people, yes. But maybe it is because some of us BHs put them on a pedestal and is in denial that their wives could do what they did. One interesting point in my story is that after she broke off AP3, she told herself that she would NEVER do it again, which she had already told herself the 2 previous times. And I would never find out, or there would be so many 'good years' between the last one and her telling me that I would be convinced she was a good wife and loved me. Is that manipulation worse? Of course it all came crashing down when I caught her with AP4 and then learned about 1, 2 and 3...and nobody that knows her would ever think she was a bad person.

hikingout posted 5/15/2019 17:11 PM

WW -= wayward. It wasnít specific to wayward wife. Itís confusing because we use ww for both.

And I agree with everything you said. I donít think people would think Inwould do it either.

[This message edited by hikingout at 5:17 PM, May 15th (Wednesday)]

stolenyears posted 5/15/2019 17:27 PM

OP said he saw a thread about a WH and then wondered about his WW...

Unbroken78 posted 5/15/2019 17:44 PM

Life gets a lot happier when you stop trying to nuance square pegs into round holes.


There is a difference in what a person wants to be true...and what is actually true. Accepting the actual truth is generally the first step to dealing with it and finding happiness.

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