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Cheating in the future

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hikingout posted 9/25/2019 13:19 PM

On a recent thread, I made a statement that I would never cheat again. A few BS folk pointed out why that would be a dangerous statement for a WS to make. I can see their point but I am not sure that it changes my feeling. Still, I want to explore it further and not dismiss it completely out of hand in the case there is something I should be inspecting more thoroughly.

So, fellow WS (preferably ones who might consider themselves reformed) - would you say "I would never cheat again" and can you follow up with why or why not?

TX1995 posted 9/25/2019 13:24 PM

I'm a BS, but this is a great question and am interested to see responses from your fellow WSes.

(As an aside, my WH would answer the same as you - that he wouldn't cheat again - but he also said the same in his vows when he married me, so words are cheap in a BS' eyes.)

BluesPower posted 9/25/2019 13:24 PM

Well why not err on the side of caution... and not say it?

Just another opinion, not saying I agree either way.

But while I am different than you, as a cheater, I can say that with my Fiancée and at this stage of my life, I will never cheat again.

I just won't and I have been tempted repeatedly, and I am not interested.

I value the current relationship too much, and I don't want to jeopardize it.

I value her more than any other, I love her and I love the way the she loves me.

I would really have to be a moron to cheat.

I am not that bright, but I am not a moron...

KingRat posted 9/25/2019 13:27 PM

Sorry not a WS. But I don't think there is anything wrong with the statement. I think there is a difference between hubris and just stating that is how you feel.

I used to smoke. I haven't smoked a cigarette in over 20 years. A few years out I made a similar statement, and almost 20 years later I have never had the desire to smoke a cigarette. I always had a healthy respect for the addiction factor but I never wanted another one. When I was done; I was done. I'm not arrogant enough to believe I could have a cigarette every once and a while or take a hit if I were drinking or anything. I can be around people who smoke, and I am completely indifferent.

[This message edited by KingRat at 1:28 PM, September 25th (Wednesday)]

hikingout posted 9/25/2019 13:43 PM

BluesPower,

Not saying that you will or won't, but are these really your only reasons?

I value the current relationship too much, and I don't want to jeopardize it.
I value her more than any other, I love her and I love the way the she loves me.

The only reason I ask is because you know in a long term relationship, it's peaks and valleys. What happens when times are hard? What sustains you at that time?

I remember your story - you cheated at the end of a marriage that you were done with but said you didn't realize how done you were - is that right?


Amarula posted 9/25/2019 13:50 PM

Hi again Hiking Out,

I was a cheater, in a previous life, from 1985 to 1996. In my first marriage to my equally very young cheating husband (18 and 19 when we started dating). We were both totally f*** ed up, although living a normal life (no drugs, alcohol, violence, pornography, etc.) I loved him, he did not, but married me because he did not have the courage to say no. Our life was the life of two very co-dependent immature individuals until the day he finally decided to end this nightmare. I ended up in a psychiatric hospital, went over the rails until a suicide attempt (not for my now ex-husband but because I just could not live anymore with this internal fragility I had) that left me in a coma. And then I was sent an angel to save me: my psychiatrist who became, as I said, my “mother” for two years. We were talking of boundaries earlier on. I remember towards the end of my psychotherapy walking on my my own one day, and suddenly I felt almost physical boundaries around me. I felt one. It was a very bizarre feeling which I related to her. Later on, I expressed how I felt inside, and I talked of this internal fridge. She said to me on that day: “We can now say goodbye Mrs Amarula”.

I met my current husband 4 years later. I stayed on my own all this time, to finish growing up on my own. I never cheated on him. In the state of vulnerability I was after his affair last year, my first thought in my previous life, would have been to have a revenge affair, or to meet someone immediately. I did not because, despite my despair, despite the blow to my self esteem, despite my life crumbling all of a sudden, there was my internal fridge inside.

So yes, dear Hiking Out, as a reformed cheater, I can say I will never be a cheater again. And here I disagree with Zug. The Amarula of the past died a long time ago. She does not have a Scarlet Letter stitched on her anymore. She is not “reformed”, she is no more.

ff4152 posted 9/25/2019 14:10 PM

I’ve always felt it was dangerous to speak in absolutes. Fate always seems to have a way of throwing a monkey wrench into our plans.

I always loathed cheaters and I was never gonna be “that guy”. I was cheated on repeatedly in a previous LTR and I swore I would never do that to anyone. Both my dad/step dad were cheaters too and I was never going to act like them.

But then I was. I’ve had 3 years to examine my life, my values, who I was and who I wanted to become. I was under the illusion that I was nothing like either of my “dads”. That I was a good guy with a solid moral compass. That image of myself was completely shattered.

I have gained a modicum of wisdom during this time. The person I was is gone. I would rather die than betray my wife, child or myself ever again. I paid, and continue to pay, for my selfishness. There is so much more to life than getting my needs met. Life is much more rewarding now because of what I can give of myself to my family. And my family is the most important thing in my life.

maise posted 9/25/2019 14:21 PM

Hey Hikingout,

I know you’ve asked for WS responses, I was hoping it’s okay to place my input here anyway. My wife has made that statement many times. I always told her it was a dangerous statement to make. At the time it was because she had not dug deep enough into herself to understand why it happened at all. And then once the digging began, the feeling and the understanding and healing still need to take place. IMO, even after she does complete that process - I wouldn’t err on the route of her saying she would “never fall into her old coping mechanisms again” not because I believe she absolutely would, but because it happened before and these are copes that she had ingrained since childhood. I believe being cautious and in the know that these are copes she has fallen into in the past, and could possibly reach for again should things go unexpectedly in life or become too overwhelming - that would be the best route to take. That way she is aware, and conscious of herself to a degree that she can make different choices when things may get overwhelming or become too much. Hopefully she will not allow for her feelings to bottle up to that degree again. I do truly believe when the work is done that waywards can actively work on not allowing that to happen - but being aware that it’s a slippery slope is always better as a safety precaution

xhz700 posted 9/25/2019 14:24 PM

I have always found this statement to be super slippery. It's nice, I guess. I heard it from my XWW also.

My immediate response was to ask if she would have said the same thing before her affair(s). I didn't get an answer, unless you consider looking at the floor an answer.

This is just a platitude. I'm sure that there are a lot of Ws that would say that about themselves, because what else do you say to someone that you are trying to convince to give you another chance?

I wouldn't buy it. I wouldn't ever stay after being cheated on, ever again. Zero chance. And I am happy that I divorced my XWW. Alcoholics are alcoholics, whether they are drinking or not. To not drink, they have to recover and stay vigilant. I see Ws very much the same way, and I am not willing accept a plea of "never again" because it should have started out as never in the first place.

JBWD posted 9/25/2019 14:29 PM

Reposted from your other thread...

NEVER. Hard word to parse. I think given the common context it’s truly understandable why it’s met with skepticism when discussed. And it’s kinda the central question of the whole matter, isn’t it? Does a WS ever truly stop being a risk to safety and security? The observer bias in this community is what makes this such a challenge- We as cheaters are remarkably good at self-deception, and perhaps the most hazardous form of that is hubris. Those of us who have subjected partners to more than one soul-crushing betrayal have used the word never before, and likely believed we meant it.

I believe it was just over in a post on General where a BS, looking for affirmation, was met with “I’ll try not to do this again.” Cheaters place ourselves in an unwinnable conundrum where there MUST BE the patience to see results- No WS is owed that patience and some BSs can’t hold on, nor should they be asked to.

But I like HO’s use of it as an affirmation. Unmasking the true self, undistorted and renewed in some ways. Helps bridge the gap between words and deeds.

I can say I won’t and know it to be true. I didn’t think I would continue to push boundaries as an “adult” and yet here I find myself. The reason is exactly that unmasking that I describe- I now know a good deal more about the emotions and unreasonable expectations that I carried into relationships, and work every day to further undermine them. That hubris is what kept me from engaging in any real effort beforehand, and it is my deepest regret in life.

maise posted 9/25/2019 14:38 PM

Actually to add to this, I try not to use the word “never” when it comes to things in life generally anyway. I try not to be so far one way or the other and simply stay in the realm of trying to be as realistic with myself as I possibly can - and in knowing that unless I’m experiencing that moment then I won’t truly know.

The words “never” and “hate” I usually try to stay away from. I only find myself ever saying them when I’m high intensity emotions and even then it’s rare and I try to take them back.

[This message edited by maise at 2:41 PM, September 25th (Wednesday)]

hikingout posted 9/25/2019 14:40 PM

That's fair, Maise. And, honestly, I think your WS is still in the "getting it" stage by the things that I have seen you guys write. It will take a lot of work and consistency.

When I say it, it's not to grandstand or convince others, which is often what a WS might do in early times. It's more that I have learned that upholding my own integrity is a deep need that I have. I really want to look at my life and be proud of it again. Now that I am starting to see that, I would never want to do that to myself. I didn't realize how hard it would be for me to live with the fact I cheated. I really disappointed myself and am still sifting through that.

It's not that I don't feel badly what I put my husband through, but to reiterate some of what I already said...True change has to come with a lot of internal or selfish reasons. We don't lose weight or stop smoking for anyone else. We do these things because we ourselves feel the deep need to make the change.

I also think it's a lot of what Amarula said - the changes I have made make my choices for coping different. I am different in so many ways now, I have a different foundation in which I have built my life.

But, mostly, when I say it- it's about stating a commitment. It's saying "I will never cheat again and I will be vigilant of the things I have learned. I am learning to love myself and I know some of that is based on living a life I can be proud of. I also would never want to put my husband or anyone else through that pain again" It's more of an affirmation than anything.


Besides, how much would I believe in my work and the foundation I am building if I said "Well, I might cheat again but I will try not to." or "I doubt I would cheat again". Those are statements to me that are weak and not made by someone who has made a true commitment to themselves? I don't say them to make H, or really anyone here believe me. I show H all the time who I am, what I want, he sees the difference - actions always will be king from here forward. His position is if I cheat again it's over, and he doesn't really spend a lot of time worrying over it...he's a cross that bridge when we get there kind of person.

BluesPower posted 9/25/2019 14:48 PM

BluesPower,

Not saying that you will or won't, but are these really your only reasons?

I value the current relationship too much, and I don't want to jeopardize it.

I value her more than any other, I love her and I love the way the she loves me.

The only reason I ask is because you know in a long term relationship, it's peaks and valleys. What happens when times are hard? What sustains you at that time?

I remember your story - you cheated at the end of a marriage that you were done with but said you didn't realize how done you were - is that right?

The story is really long and complicated.

When I cheated, I don't think I realized how done I was, I think that is true.

But there is so much more to it than that.

To your question, yes these are the reasons. But if I did not feel that way, I would not be in a relationship in the first place.

And I am much older I think than you, so I get that relationships have peaks and valleys.

The thing is, I am fairly sure I would never cheat again, in my life.

If I was not happy, and the standard discussion and communication or even therapy did not solve it, then the relationship would end.

Not trying to be callous, but I will not be in an unhappy relationship. I just won't.

I will work on issues... if we have any, I can be understanding of your issues if you have any, I can work through all of that with you, but I won't be unhappy with you.

After the life I have lived, I will not stay in unhappiness, not sure if you or anyone else can understand that.

But it really is that simple for me...


hikingout posted 9/25/2019 14:55 PM

I actually understand quite well what you just expressed. Believe it or not, that is H's attitude as well. When we decided to get married, he'd been in a miserable marriage prior. He said "just know that I do believe in divorce, and I will always make sure I am happy".

Knowing that, it was surprising he chose R. But, he still has that attitude. He said early on: If I would get my shit together he knows that his life is happier with me in it. But, no more chances. This is still his stance. So, no I really do get it. I was just asking for clarification.

HeartBreaker11 posted 9/25/2019 15:12 PM

So, fellow WS (preferably ones who might consider themselves reformed) - would you say "I would never cheat again" and can you follow up with why or why not?

At this moment in time, no, I will not cheat again.

But 5 years ago if someone had asked me, I would have, without a doubt, said that I would never have cheated in the first place.

I think saying never again is something all WS say and feel in the moment but without continuously working on ourselves, it's possible to blur those lines again and cross our boundaries.

For me, an added element is that I have bipolar disease. I can't promise I will never have a manic episode again. I am still responsible for my actions but this is yet another reason why I never say never.

turnthepage posted 9/25/2019 15:18 PM

If you couldn’t tell me you would never cheat again then what’s the point? I do not understand the premise of the objections. Seems backwards to me.

maise posted 9/25/2019 15:18 PM

And, honestly, I think your WS is still in the "getting it" stage
I definitely agree, she still has a ways to go. And of course, I have a few things with myself that I'm still working out the kinks to also.

I understand what you are saying, and don't believe you are saying it as a convincing thing for others. I genuinely believe it's possible not to cheat again. I guess for my own self though, I don't use the word "never" to apply it to my future circumstances. I try to live in the now and in the moment, sort of like you mentioned your husband does, and then consider that things may happen. With cheating, I remember telling my wife that I know things can or may happen in relationships...no one is perfect and we can't predict the future, but what I promised to her was that I would speak to her before putting her through something like me cheating. I didn't say: "I will never cheat on you." Not because I believed I would, in my history of ‘trying’ moments I have often proved to myself that I do stand by my word...however, I like to speak in terms of a plan instead of words of absolute.

True change has to come with a lot of internal or selfish reasons. We don't lose weight or stop smoking for anyone else. We do these things because we ourselves feel the deep need to make the change.

For example this ^^^ I once told myself I would never gain weight to the level that I was at before. Then I experienced this trauma, and went spiraling into old coping mechanisms. I gained so much weight and it felt awful and shattering to the esteem I had built for myself. I let myself down and promised I wouldn't do it again and yet, here I am. But maybe, if I had been more realistic with myself I would have allowed for myself to be kinder to myself and say: “Hey, these things can happen sometimes…people slip into old copes sometimes…it’s not permanent, get back on and try again.” Maybe if I had allowed for myself to know that this was a cope I could fall into, and showed myself kindness then I would have caught it sooner instead of spiraling.

With cheating, I guess it would be the emotional copes I’m referring to…if you’re hard on yourself when say, you first stuff some feelings like you maybe had before, then it perpetuates this negative thinking toward yourself that may lead you down a rabbit hole. But if you’re realistic and say; “Ok, I see I’ve let myself fall into old copes of being ‘too strong’ and not allowing myself to feel that moment. Let me re-assess and get back on.” Then that allows for you to show up for yourself rather than see yourself as an immediate failure. To think in terms of the now and of planning, instead of terms of all one way or all another.

ETA: Sort of like this;

His position is if I cheat again it's over, and he doesn't really spend a lot of time worrying over it...he's a cross that bridge when we get there kind of person.

If I am deciphering this correctly then this is a plan on his end. He's saying: "I'm not saying you'll never cheat again, but I'm not saying you will either. What I am saying is that I will be happy and will not stay if you do. But overall I'm not going to worry about it everyday. If it happens, I have a plan."

That's what I would do also. Plan. Don't hold on to never.

[This message edited by maise at 3:47 PM, September 25th (Wednesday)]

FearfulAvoidance posted 9/25/2019 15:31 PM

Therapist after therapist I have seen has warned against using words like Never and Always. When I hear myself say those words now, it is a red flag to examine what I am trying to communicate.

After Dday2 I told my wife I would never cheat again. That I have seen the devastation it had caused her and the turmoil of self it spun me into. And yet, when we moved to a new city and I had the opportunity to start fresh and prove to her and myself I had boundaries, I found myself engaging in EA grooming with a woman in my office. In recent weeks I have realized that if circumstances had not changed and that relationship had continued the way it was, there was a high likelyhood that it could have developed into an actaual EA, and if a bid was made and I was in a bad place, it could have become a PA.

That was a sobering realization, to say the least.

I'm reminded of a song lyric that has spoken to me since my youth, and only recently understand the depth of what it means:

They say that alchoholics are always alcoholics
Even when they're dry as my lips for years
Even when they're stranded on a small desert island
With no place in 2000 miles to buy beer
And I wonder, is he different, is he different?
Has he changed what he's about?
Or is he just a liar with nothing to lie about?

JBWD posted 9/25/2019 15:48 PM

If you couldn’t tell me you would never cheat again then what’s the point?

Turnthepage- The point is that cheaters are good at manipulating. As such, me telling my wife “I’ll never cheat again” is justifiably suspect. Me PROVING it is far more critical, and like I said above, takes patience that I suspect most people don’t have in them. It’s important to understand that a cheating spouse is so good at deceit that they don’t even recognize it in themselves- Hence the hubris that most are objecting to in the use of an absolute word like never.
I as a WS can know that I won’t, but my wife won’t know it until it’s proven.

hikingout posted 9/25/2019 16:05 PM

JWBD - Turnthepage is my husband.

I am getting ready to go see him in a few minutes, so I will just close the gap here by saying it seems he and I agree. Yes, there may sometimes be emptiness in the fact that a WS says it, but I don't know how you proceed without some sort of commitment. And, since what he thinks is going to outweigh anything else said for me, then it isn't an issue that I need to explore any further for myself. However - keep the responses coming I know there is good discussion to be had here.

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