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Infidelity, divorce, children, families

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Darkness Falls posted 8/20/2019 18:00 PM

Perhaps that's one reason some people become waywards in the first place, this attaching your identity on to your role as half of a partnership. I don't know.

This is a good point. Your entire post was.

Striver posted 8/20/2019 22:21 PM

The other thought I have when reading threads like this is that some of it reads like people NEED a partner at all times. Therefore, if one partner isn't performing in some way, they need another one to overlap in terms of time so that there's no gap where they're in danger of being alone. I find that interesting, as I don't NEED another adult in order to function. I know that if I were to divorce, I'd be alone at least for a while. Perhaps that's one reason some people become waywards in the first place, this attaching your identity on to your role as half of a partnership. I don't know.

I'm sure in my ex's case it was an ego boost to her that she had two men that wanted her. Keep that in mind. So you get a nice shot of feel goods going into the next relationship. Providing you don't give a shit about your ex, just about yourself.

I know exactly who wields all the power in that relationship, and it ain't the AP.

As far as the PA and divorce go, it is two separate things. Since people reconcile after PAs, they don't always lead to divorce. Even when the WS thinks they are having an exit affair.

I was not on the receiving end of a PA. I was blindsided by the divorce. I have no idea what will actually make for a working relationship, because I cannot trust a partner. I can be open, be my best self, but it truly is all up to the roll of the dice in picking someone else.

humantrampoline posted 8/22/2019 10:37 AM


Thank you for replying. I'm sorry I haven't been prompt. I have other things going on.

I wanted to address this first.

I have not avoided the repercussions, that's been a joint decision.

Let me clear. I don't want you to suffer repercussions. I don't want your husband, your children, your AP, his BS and family or all WS/APs to suffer or pay some dues. I believe suffering in the world leads to more suffering, and if there's a Hell out there, it's probably of our own making.

I certainly understand your joint decision not to tell your children.

My point was more about what is in your control and what is not. To me, your ideas portray an attitude of, "I've done this right to a large extent, and that's why it's all worked out ok for us. I was a good wife. I raised my children well and was a good person, mostly. I had a small period of a very selfish affair. I used condoms. I didn't choose a crazy AP or one with a crazy BW who will reveal the affair to work, friends, family, or pursue and hurt me and my family. I stopped. I confessed. I married the right man who can forgive and heal. I did the work. It's all worked out just as I deserved. " The implication is that if it doesn't for others, well they did something wrong or they're damaged.

Yet the essential nature of this trauma for many of us is that we have learned almost everything is out of our control, except our own behavior. That's the gift we've received, and I don't mean that sarcastically.

When I look at your situation, I can see that some of your choices were positive. Also, I can see you risked a lot and were lucky. You can't predict the future repercussions either.

When you talk of what would happen if your children find out, I cringe. Sorry, I do. It's something about you knowing all the right/wrong things to do and your values and thoughts being right. You speak about your husband behaving correctly and your children behaving correctly. You know, because they're mature and you raised them right, they'll fall in line like you want them to and think and feel like you do. Some of the words you use come dangerously close to the phrase many WS who move on with their AP use.-- It's time we all grow up and get over this.

I do wish the best for you and your family no matter what happens. Again, thanks for the interaction. It has helped me.

Zugzwang posted 8/22/2019 11:01 AM

I was a goldfish. I wanted everything. Noting would ever be enough. Though I agree. I think there are many people that live life with the "if the grass might be greener than what I got". My wife is watching Bachelors and Bachelorettes in Paradise and they majority of them act like that. This one is good, but there might be that other one that might give me 2% more.

Luna10 posted 8/22/2019 13:05 PM

My FIL divorced his first wife to marry his single AP (my MIL). His two daughters were grown up. When they witnessed their mother’s pain and felt he was abandoning everything one of them called and threatened my WH (who was then about 14) to burn their house down. And no they were not violent people and never did do anything pointing towards that.

This was over 30 years ago and they have no contact with their dad (my FIL) and he never met his 5 grandchildren. This is apparently because their mother poisoned them against him (right, two adult women were poisoned and not even when their mother died they didn’t reach out to maybe introduce their kids to their grandfather).

In the meantime I have first hand witnessed my MIL poisoning him against them. One called him once asking for some money as she was in trouble. I’ve witnessed my MIL’s bitter words.

waitedwaytoolong posted 8/22/2019 13:46 PM

Divorce is ALWAYS a betrayal and a rejection. It is the manifestation of “I don’t want YOU anymore”. Even the most cordial divorce between amicable parties started with one person telling g the other that they wanted out.

I totally buy in on the rejection part. The betrayal part not so much. The betrayal takes place on the WS ledger. The rejection is just a result of that.

Zugzwang posted 8/22/2019 13:49 PM

Agree. Divorce is not a betrayal. Unless, you are cheating still and don't tell the betrayed and then divorce.

hikingout posted 8/22/2019 20:22 PM

Human trampoline,

I am sorry, I do feel I try on things people say but your narrative of the situation is not my view of it at all.

First, I want to say I made a lot of really bad decisions that outweigh anything good that I was able to recover in the situation. And I kept making them. I learned a great deal of pretty shitty things about myself after years of fooling myself on a lot of it. I have suffered deeply over the last couple of years and At the peak of it I was told that I had emotional exhaustion and was almost hospitalized. I have watched a man who Has had my back in every way writhe in pain and burst into anger tears and heart wrenching sobs. And watched him struggle and wrestle with divorcing me. I have worked my ass off to correct some very ingrained thought patterns and behaviors and raised the lid to heal sexual and emotional abuse that I never dealt with but buried.

I don’t say it all that way on a day to day basis because I work very hard to get every morsel of positivity and silver lining from every situation I can and I try and relay that to others. Because people here already know how to struggle.

What you hear is the self confidence that I have gained in the process of this. I am confident if I have to come to another bridge to cross I have the skills to deal with it now. I am confident that I will do everything in my power to work towards healing my relationship with my kids if it ever comes to that. And yes I do have a confidence in them because they are extraordinary people. Some of that might have been from me and their father - they were raised in a stable and loving environment and We poured everything we could into them but some of it is just them - they hold a light and an energy that I wish I could explain. Kids are born with unexplainable traits. I know their outlook, their beliefs, and I know them deeply as people. I can’t guess the reaction (I am certain it would be ugly to start) or what we would have to do but I know I would cross heaven and hell to do it. I have seen the darkest parts of myself so please do not look at the light that I try to stay in make you paint this as some whitewashed or cartoon of my situation.

If you read anything in this read that I am confident that I will do what is needed but that I can also handle whatever outcome or consequence even if it isn’t what I want them to be because I do know that I caused them. I don’t have to know what the outcome is to know that.

I did have advantages that helped along the way that others here may not have had and I will agree I am a very lucky and blessed woman. I do have an awesome husband, and I do have awesome kids - but at times that’s been at odds that what I had to give back to them was a fucked up mess of a woman who as you rightly put risked too much. And traded far too much of our lives for it. But it was not a series of near misses it was a full in collision with crisis that I made bigger with the affair and for a long time I couldn’t even begin to see my way out of it. I have come out the other side of it now, as best as I can tell and if that is somehow wayward, then I am certain I will recognize it just up ahead in my path because my eyes are wide open and I am looking for it. But at this time I think your assessment misses a lot of notes.

Striver posted 8/22/2019 23:30 PM

In my case there was never evidence of a PA, so some people would not consider that an affair. Definite EA. Never looked at her phone, don't know what was on there. The AP had been in the house, it certainly could have been a PA.

I think the scene where the divorcing party calmly walks up to their spouse and says "I'm fallen in love with someone else" is one of those "only in the movies" deals.

With mine it was a word salad of one thing I could have improved on, one incident repeated endlessly where I said nothing and I should have had these perfect words to comfort her, a bunch of stuff like not emptying the dishwasher enough, which was false for one, also she was a SAHM AND we had a cleaning service, so by paying for the cleaning service really I did more of the housework anyway. Ex actually said to me "I never thought I'd get a divorce." Even lying to herself. Bitch, you are getting a divorce because you want to satisfy your tingling girl parts by fucking this dude, then marrying him. A man she could have married instead of me anyway, and left me to find a better woman. IT'S A BETRAYAL.

If I marry someone I love them like family. Among other ways. Obviously not everyone feels this way. It's why I likely will never marry again.

oldtruck posted 8/25/2019 10:29 AM

It is not the destination but the road taken to
get there that matters.

Ending a marriage without an affair keeps the
betrayal from having an affair from ever harming
the BS and the children and close family.

Having a broken home causes enough pain. No need
to add the pain from an affair.

josiep posted 8/26/2019 11:06 AM

This conversation has bothered me a lot. There seems to be a fundamental lack of understanding about how some of us live our lives.

I am loyal. I am steadfast. I would NEVER, no matter what, have cheated on my H. NEVER. I would have put a bullet in my head first. I'm not saying that makes me better than anyone else, I'm just explaining the type of person I am. Because I'm not sure everyone believes that there are people like me who live according to a moral code that is as important to them as taking their next breath. We exist.

Did I ever wish I was single during my Marriage? Of course I did. Did I ever think about getting a Divorce? Of course I did. Did I ever find someone else attractive? Of course I did. But the difference in people is, I never acted on any of it. When I had those feelings, I went home and doubled down on my own self, practicing gratitude or praying more or whatever I needed to do to get my head back into the marriage properly. It was on me to do so and I knew it.

Had I ever not been able to work my mind and heart back into where it was supposed to be, I would have been honest with my H. Actually, there were a couple of times that I started the discussion about were we happy and was this going where we wanted it to, etc. Had those discussions gone differently, I would have been honest and suggested we either go for counseling or else consider breaking up. There is no way in HELL I would have waited until I loved someone else before I did the right thing.

So some of the arguments here about the fallacy of getting divorced before cheating are missing the fact that cheating doesn't usually happen in a split second. There's usually a buildup to it and fair warning that the slippery slope is nearby.

The other thing I'd like to mention, just as clarification for those who don't seem to understand that people like me truly exist: My H and I stood in a church, in front of the priest, witnesses, our friends and families and, most of all, God and we promised certain things to each other. They were vows. They were sacred. They were the template for my future life. I was committed. I'd made promises.

So I ask those of you who are sort of skeptical to just try to set that aside and believe me that having my H break those vows to me in an underhanded, lying, cheating, stealing fashion and then blame it on me was totally and 100% beyond my comprehension and it destroyed me. I left me useless on every level of my life. I can't handle my finances; I can't remember names; I walk down the aisles of stores crying. I sob when I drive. I walk out of parties because I have to go be alone so I don't bother the other people. I've become a burden. I've lost my sense of self. I don't trust anyone and it'll be a long time before I ever do again, if ever. I don't trust store clerks to tell me the truth. I don't trust my neighbor when he tells me it's OK that my flower pot blew into his yard and he's not mad.

Things that might bring a nostalgic smile to the face of someone who got a regular divorce bring me practically to my knees with doubt and questions and self-blame. I was at the Zoo the other day and a tank with Great Lakes fish almost did me in because I started to remember how fun it was when we used to go to Lake Michigan every weekend and sleep in our camper van and WH would fish and the kids and I would play and have fun and then at night we'd all sit around the fire and tease each other and crack jokes and the guys would pretend we were in the Blazing Saddles movie and it was just a happy, carefree time. But now? Now I cry because I don't know if he was just faking being happy then? Did I not bring the right clothes? Had I made the coffee the right way? I question my own past and that's what his cheating and lying did to me.

I know a lot of you can't understand it and I understand that. But please just believe me when I tell you this is how it is for me and, without generalizing too much, I'd say for many, many betrayed spouses.

I'm a strong woman. I'm stoic. I survive shit. But this? This was not necessary. He could've been honest before he let it go to where he took it. But he wasn't . After 49 yrs. of being together, I didn't deserve one ounce of honesty and THAT is what will always remain with me and leave me unable to be a normal person ever again. So anyone who thinks the end result is the same, please think again.

DevastatedDee posted 8/26/2019 12:31 PM

That was well-said and devastating to read, Josiep. As far as the marriage is concerned, sure, divorce ends it whether cheating is involved or not. If you care about the psychological and emotional well-being of the non-cheating spouse, it's not even in the same ballpark. I have one divorce that wasn't about cheating under my belt. I was not destroyed after the first one. I was still me and still able to trust people. It was a tumultuous marriage, so it isn't as if there weren't strong feelings and challenges to be overcome, but it didn't rock my view of the world. I had small kids with my 1st husband and it was still a ton less emotionally-taxing than ending the infidelity marriage. I didn't have to rebuild myself the first time like this. This infidelity marriage though? This one changed me fundamentally as a person. It's not even close to the same experience.

I can laugh with my 1st ex-husband about things we did together and we can reminisce about some of our times together. Like you, Josie, I doubt that I will ever do that about my 2nd marriage. We had some really great times, but those memories are always followed up with "wonder if he was fucking around then too". Kinda takes the shine off of all those memories.

[This message edited by DevastatedDee at 12:34 PM, August 26th (Monday)]

Striver posted 8/26/2019 13:15 PM

I feel somewhat unheard on this thread, because I only know of a 9 month EA. Coulda been a PA, but I don't know. I feel unheard because some do not consider EAs cheating, probably including my ex.

It was still a betrayal. I would agree that a divorce based on what is actually going on between the couple is easier to deal with. Because that can change. I can find a different person, change my habits, have options.

With the betrayal based affairs and divorces, the WS is picking someone instead of you. Second place is first loser, as they say. Well, anyone can do that. If I have to compete against the universe of men, well there's always some guy that will have some quality that is better than mine. I have not been able to shake that. PA or no PA.

Darkness Falls posted 8/26/2019 13:34 PM

Striver, I don’t want you to feel unheard. I understand that you can’t know for certain if your ex had a PA along with the EA, but even if she didn’t get physical, it’s not for anyone else to dismiss or invalidate your feelings about what constitutes an “EA” or whether it’s “as bad as” a PA. I do hear what you’re saying about feeling betrayed especially as your ex seemed to have done similarly to what I did—married you even though her heart was elsewhere—your point of view does help me empathize for that reason.

Josiep, your post was extremely powerful and drives home the point I feel many if not most are making on this thread and that is that divorce due to infidelity and divorce for other reasons have a very different effect on the ex-spouse if infidelity was in fact involved.

I want to state to everyone that I did not at all mean for this thread to be flippantly asking “what’s the difference?” with a shrug of the shoulders. I would not be on SI for 10 years after I cheated if I believed having an affair was NBD.

hikingout posted 8/26/2019 13:47 PM

I just want to say there seems to be some sort of misunderstanding because I don’t think I saw any wayward answer this as they thought it was okay? And all seemed to agree infidelity is by far worse than just plain divorce.

Darkness Falls posted 8/26/2019 14:33 PM

Hiking, that’s why I put my clarification at the end of my last response—possibly just the fact that I started this thread asking the question made it sound as though I were searching for a justification of it being all right to cheat first...idk?

[This message edited by Darkness Falls at 2:33 PM, August 26th (Monday)]

DebraVation posted 8/26/2019 14:52 PM

Josie, I just wanted to respond that I can relate to your post so much.

I think sometimes when I post on here I must come across as a bit pathetic, I did things like have to quit my job after DDay because I could not cope, and spent day after day in bed, just thinking.

And yet I am normally NOT like that. I am a capable person. I used to earn more than WH. I ran the house. I did things like decorate the house by myself. I just used to get on with things.

Slowly I'm getting back to that. But infidelity flattened me for a good while, and that took me by total surprise.

And even now it can hit me when some random thing reminds me. I feel your pain.

thatcantbetrue posted 8/26/2019 15:34 PM

At some point I think we can legitimately ask, then, what it is you were asking about?

Because right now it sounds like, "of course we know it is extremely bad. What we're asking is, isn't it same difference?"

... Which really means "Of course we know it is extremely bad, but when you think about it isn't it not particularly bad after all?"

So, if the question was not that, then what was the question?

Darkness Falls posted 8/26/2019 16:35 PM

The question was, is the final end result— by which I mean the dissolution of the nuclear family unit, the shuffling back and forth of children (if minors), the financial hit to the household, the feelings of betrayal and abandonment by the spouse who does not want the divorce—not look similar no matter the reason for divorce? And if it does in fact look similar, then why are so many people so quick to say that it would have been “so much better” if the cheater had just up and jumped ship before cheating? It seemed to me that it would all amount to huge levels of suck regardless.

As I have said numerous times now, I have been educated as to the contrary.

Darkness Falls posted 8/26/2019 16:42 PM

To follow up (and treading carefully so as not to run afoul of the guideline against speaking for others): I am extremely unhappy in my marriage. My H does know I am unhappy. We have a somewhat unspoken understanding that it’s generally better to be as nice as possible and keep the family intact for our very young children. I am sure he wants a better marriage but he will not put forth effort to make it better, and we both seem detached and checked out. Despite that, if I were to either get my ducks in a row and then spring a D on him or in an out-of-the-blue off-the-cuff fit of frustration tell him I want a D (and mean it), I believe his reaction, and emotions, would be extremely similar to when, 9 1/2 years ago, he caught me cheating with the OM and divorced me. Ergo, “just D then” is not a great option for some people’s psyche any more than “cheating and D’ing” is.

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