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Cheating in the future

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ChanceAtLife35 posted 9/25/2019 16:17 PM

I am sitting here thinking about what's being said and just how often I say the word never. I've said never my entire life actually, and would say it to just about everything, good or bad. I have had an "all or nothing" distorted thinking pattern, so the word "never" I used quite often. "I'll never cheat again." (Had multiple A's.) "I'll never over eat again." "I'll never deal with this or that." So many situations and things I have applied "never" to and failed miserably. My BW was the first person to ever discuss with me the reasons not to say it. Now that my mind is in a better state, I feel I am actually getting it along with so many other things in life. I understand why she would get so upset when I would say I would never cheat again after d-day. I had the audacity to say I wouldn't during our relationship too. Man, I was so full of it. I still find myself saying it now, but I try to catch myself and not say it. By creating healthy coping mechanisms when times are tough or I am met with temptation, I can apply these healthier copes and they will be life saving for myself and my family to avoid the never mentality.

[This message edited by ChanceAtLife35 at 5:06 PM, September 25th (Wednesday)]

Oldwounds posted 9/25/2019 16:26 PM

Interesting thread.

In the film 'The World According to Garp' I recall a moment where a plane crashed into a house as a couple is looking to buy it. The protagonist still wants the house and feels good about the idea because the house is now "pre-disastered" -- and the odds of TWO planes crashing into the same house are likely astronomical.

I don't think we can cheat-proof a marriage, but I like the odds in my marriage going forward.

Our disaster -- my wife's choices -- were disastrous for her too. I don't mean to ever compare WS/BS pain, but I can say her LTA did not end well. Family friend AP ditched her in a rather humiliating way, and the shame of it all kicked off right there at the end of the A. AP told enough people that it cost her a promotion and effectively ended her career at the company they worked at. She kept the secret for years and didn't make the same choice again because none of what happened was worth the risk or the really bad results of those previous choices.

She found better ways to address her ego, and to handle her concerns about our marriage, through counseling and reading.

One horrible A was plenty for her, and I'm starting to believe that.

I think if the first betrayal a WS makes is betraying their own values and personal standards, the vow to not cheat again makes sense, depending on the individual.

ETA- Garp! Not Gary. Thanks for catching that isitme24.

[This message edited by Oldwounds at 5:42 PM, September 25th (Wednesday)]

HoldingTogether posted 9/25/2019 17:00 PM

I think the problem with phrases like “I will/would never....” is that they could potentially lead to a false sense of complacency. If a person truly believes that they will/would never do something they sometimes have a reckless tendency to start down a slope that can get pretty slippery real quick.

Look, my wife was sure that she would never commit adultery. And look where we are now. We all think there are things we would never do, but life just loves to make a liar out of us.

I’m a recovering alcoholic myself, 9 years sober. I like to think I will never drink again... but I know how easy it is to find myself going down that road. So I am very conscious of the danger, and I try and take a belt and suspenders approach to making absolutely fucking certain I am on guard against even starting down the road of thinking about drinking.

The awareness of the danger of my own hubris keeps me on guard and safer from my own worse tendencies if you can dig that.


isitme24 posted 9/25/2019 17:32 PM

Old Wounds

'The World According to Gary'

I love auto-correct. It took me a sec to connect to "The World According to Garp". Extremely underrated movie.

If I remember right, had one of the most brutal tragic sub storylines about the damage infidelity can cause.

Sorry, thread jack over.


gmc94 posted 9/25/2019 17:51 PM

I'll reiterate my comments from the other thread - the thinking/behaviors that go into having an A are pretty much identical to an alcoholic/addict. From the internal lies/delusion to the external lies/deception to the "high" that so many WS describe, and all that's in between (poor coping, validation needs, etc). And, I suppose, the 'rock bottom' that comes with dday (tho we know that even this is not rock bottom for MANY waywards - just look at all the false R stores here on SI).

There are, to my understanding, some statistics on the propensity to relapse.... just as there are with alcoholics/addicts.

And, of course, on the anecdotal side, a couple months ago it seemed SI went through a slurry of new threads of relapses - some more than a DECADE after they felt "R" . IIRC, many "old timers" on SI were surprised/shocked about some of these repeats (I believe one WW had something like 3000 posts on SI from her period of R... and yet, she was back here after engaging in another A). I have an alcoholic uncle. Drinking caused him to lose just about everything but his law license. Was sober for 20+ years... and then, he began to drink again. Fortunately, he was able to disclose quickly - before it devolved into the abyss. This is a man who did EVERYTHING right (threw himself into 12 step, was a sponsor, kept his own sponsor, etc). Until the day he didn't.

Just about everyone here tells a new WS or BS that the pain of dday will fade over time. And I agree. Even the pain of all that goes into R or D will eventually become less sharp, less real, less - everything. Which we need to have happen in order to heal. Just like the "rock bottom" can fade in the mind/memory of an addict. But that very part of human emotional response is also, IMHO, part of the problem. It's what leads to complacency. And complacency leads to a higher potential for relapse.

Maybe this is just tomato tomahtoh, but IMO, there are ways of effectively communicating present intent while also being mindful of our human frailty. E.G., saying something like "I promise to remain vigilent about my integrity and how I show my love for you" tells a BS this is important. I have learned. I have changed.

Maybe it doesnt matter and it's just semantics... I dunno.
What I do know is that every time I hear a WS say they'll "never" cheat again, the hair on the back of my neck stands straight up.

ETA: Just went back to the other thread and saw the posts since last night, including HO's comments about vigilence (so, I guess we agree on that! )
And if "never" works for your BH, then that's really all that matters, isn't it?
It does not work for me.

Also- there was a comment on the other thread about infidelity being different from an alcoholic bc once a WS does the work they won't feel the need (or something like that) because their internal voids are filled (eg self love). Alcoholics regularly and routinely dig in and get to a place where they don't feel the need.... until the day that they do. Obviously not all alcoholics or addicts relapse - many many many go through the rest of their days living healthy happy lives without ever relapsing. Same with waywards. I understand that - and I'm not saying that every WS will relapse - not by a longshot. I suspect that every BS and WS on this site hopes (or prays) that infidelity will never again rear its ugly head for them. It's the ones that seem 1000% convinced that cause me concern. If there's ONE thing that we all should have learned from this experience is that NOTHING is certain. We can plan, we can hope, we can work, we can do all we can to prevent bad behavior. But at the end of the day, we are human, and life is not certain (and maybe why Pema Chodron's idea of living well and happy w/in uncertainty is so damn important and powerful here - and maybe this is in my craw bc in some ways, saying " I will never" strikes me as the antithesis of that lens).

Look at the 12 steps and the things routinely advised here on SI... what's the difference between recognizing I am powerless over alcohol or giving myself over to a higher power and "letting go of the outcome" (which just about everyone here says is a very important first step to healing)? Moral inventory vs timeline? They are not identical, but they are damn similar - and for good reason. Because the behaviors are damn similar.

[This message edited by gmc94 at 6:24 PM, September 25th, 2019 (Wednesday)]

WalkinOnEggshelz posted 9/25/2019 17:55 PM

Before my affair, I never even thought I would be capable. Because if that, I was able to tell myself all kinds of lies. The lens in which I was looking through the world had me cast as the “good guy” and “victim”. Not a single soul (including myself but especially my husband) suspected that I not only had teeth, but I would use them.

My husband has asked me if I felt I would cheat again. My answer is that I feel confident that I won’t. My confidence stems from that awareness of who I am. I can no longer use the same lies I did in the past in order for me to justify another affair, especially when the biggest lie I told myself was that my husband would be happy to get rid of me.

I know what I am capable of. I know the damage an affair can do. I have seen and felt the pain I am capable of causing. Having another affair would mean that those things just don’t matter. If that ever became the case, I would hope that my husband ran fast and far from me because it would mean that I just don’t care about him.

Awareness for me, keeps me in check. My own awareness and my husband’s.

BraveSirRobin posted 9/25/2019 18:06 PM

There are two prongs to my answer. On the "absolutely, I can say never" side, I'm just not interested in anyone else. It's been 30 years of fidelity since my 4 months of infidelity. We lost two children 10 years after the A, and I remember thinking at the time that that I had a whole new kind of unbreakable bond with my H. Those babies were here for such a short time, I mourned them so deeply, and he went through all of that with me. He was like a celebrity to me simply because he was their dad. We now have three surviving kids together. It sealed my level of commitment to him in a way that even marriage vows did not. I know that's not universal, that it didn't stop many of the WS here, but for me it's a line in the sand.

On the "never say never" side, none of that stopped me from lying to my BH or torturing him with TT all the way up to a year ago. I put my agenda of staying together ahead of giving him the truth he deserved. I thought back on the A without true remorse. I didn't look at OM for what he was because that would have meant seeing myself for what I was. And so in that sense, I understand that "never" is an ongoing process that I have to do the work to achieve. I'm still only a year into reprogramming my wayward brain, and it's far too early to express that commitment, no matter how determined I am, with offhand confidence. I know that I have to be alert for compartmentalization and minimization. I hate admitting that, but that's kinda the point. Being safe means keeping that discomfort in front of me and remembering where it once led.

hikingout posted 9/25/2019 18:45 PM

I do get why never is the wrong thing. But at the same time, I do believe vigilance is key. I can change never to I am confident, to me it’s similar. And as I said there was a time that I never thought it could happen, I think the difference is I did not have the deep understanding of so many things I now have.

H and I talked over dinner and he feels that a commitment is in absolutes. He feels black and white thinking is all about absolutes. So I can see where he is coming from on it. And I have no problem stating it in absolutes with vigilance attached. And besides I don’t see my work as done, not sure if I ever will?

And this will sound ironic coming from me - but it’s not hard not to cheat. It was way more effort to cheat. Life is easier when you are living right. I don’t want to tell myself lies ever again, or be the kind of fool I was. So many women would give their right arm to have a man like my husband.

But I can definitely understand both sides. I still feel like I want the commitment to feel absolute.

And gmc- if your husband says it - I can see why you would be very skeptical. From the things that you wrote he is a very complicated man. So some of this might just be perspective based on individual experience. But I take what you had to say to heart - if I didn’t I wouldn’t have made the second post. Thank you.

[This message edited by hikingout at 6:46 PM, September 25th (Wednesday)]

gmc94 posted 9/25/2019 19:01 PM

HO - I thought alot about the post in the other thread bc I did not want to be projecting, and I know it may still seep out. But I really do think that the plethora of repeats in the last few months really hit a nerve in that many were folks who appeared to actually be doing the work. And I know I was not nearly the only BS who got pretty spooked by them (the WW with >3000 posts was a real eye opener for many on SI). I recognize that my WH will likely never make any of the changes other WS speak of here. It is what it is.

TBH, the similarities between addiction and infidelity came more from reading what other WS have said on SI than anything my WH has ever said about himself OR his A.

BraveSirRobin posted 9/25/2019 21:31 PM

I don't really know anything about the WW who came back on SI after that substantial number of posts, but I can tell you what I was thinking when I read about her return. I think that waywards in general have some obsessive personality traits. We get swept up in enthusiasm for our project of the moment. Whether that "project" is something healthy like working out or something terribly unhealthy like an A, it's easy for us to get overfocused on it. And in many cases, it's also easy for us to drop something completely that an outsider would have thought was a solidly established pattern in anyone with normal thought processes.

I used to spend a lot of time on Facebook. Like, a LOT of time. Photos, whimsical updates, long political arguments, hours a day. And then, when D-Day 2 hit, I started spending that time on SI. I was on a mission to figure out how to help my BH. Which is a great thing, but I think I also wanted to prove something to everyone here as well as him, that I could be a properly reformed wayward, the kind everyone wants if they have to be stuck with one at all. There's no fanatic like a convert, and both terms absolutely describe me.

None of this means that I was lying about the remorse or the work. I'm not faking it. But the level of enthusiasm for it is something I'm auditing. Because I dropped my 8 year, hours-a-day Facebook habit without a backward glance. I didn't miss it, because I had a new focus. I went from someone who was deeply engaged in political debate to someone who spends all her online hours on a site where that topic is specifically outlawed. And when I tried to back away from SI for a bit, I failed because I was still getting something I needed here, and I'm not sure that what I'm getting is entirely healthy, although a lot of it genuinely is.

What I've learned about myself as part of the work --something so blindingly obvious that I can't believe I never noticed it before -- is that I've lived my whole life as a string of obsessions. Some are one time only, some are cyclical, but I really suck at consistency. So when I saw the backsliding wayward with all the posts, I wondered if that was what happened. If she was all in, "no fanatic like a convert," until something else came along to grab her attention and replace her focus. Something else, and then eventually, someone else.

So I get what gmc is saying. In me, obsessive behavior is not an anomaly. Sooner or later, I'll be detaching from SI to focus on something else, but I won't be doing that until I figure out how to make the work stick at a more elemental level. I suspect that's where the model-waywards-turned-serial-cheaters go wrong.

jaynelovesvera posted 9/26/2019 00:03 AM

Glad this works for you HO and even more that it works for your BH.

Buffer posted 9/26/2019 01:15 AM

Hard call.
You can never say ‘never’. Kind of like a alcoholic saying I will
Never drink again.

One day at a time

Good luck

hikingout posted 9/26/2019 08:10 AM

BSR - Yep, I actually almost said something to the same effect. I do recognize addictive behavior patterns in my life as well. It would boggle the mind as to how much time I have put into "recovering". I don't do much social media or the things that you have mentioned. But I recognize that I have a mild form of OCD. Mine is cleaning and orderliness. Some of my perfectionism stems from that as well. I have been able to relax those traits. I was obsessive in my affair, and afterwards, to the place it was torturing me because I didn't want to be that way. I relate to those who come on and say they have these thoughts and they can't make them stop.

So, it's really not that I am really believing that I do not have to be vigilant not only towards the character traits that led me to the affair, but also towards other addictive things that could take its place. I stay away from alcohol for the most part - not because I have ever had a problem with it, but I would have a problem with it if I went down that path. So, I get a lot of what people are saying here. I don't feel I am this superwoman thing that just has everything covered. But, I do think when you make a commitment you don't give yourself any room for breaking it. But at the same time, I really can't envision ever wanting to go down a path of infidelity again. I just know too much now, my eyes would be wide open to the it.

I feel pretty balanced right now. I write here a lot, but I do it predominantly during slower times or between projects at work. I will complete something and take ten minutes and read and write. Believe it or not, this makes me more productive in many ways. But, I stay off a lot in the evenings and weekends...those are more crammed with responsibilities, running, spending time with H. But, I do think a lot about what you are saying BSR.

GMC - I am sorry, I didn't mean to come across as if I was chastising you or putting your husband in a different category. When I said complex - I just know that a lot could go into an affair as long as his, and that he has had a hard time grasping a lot of what you would like to see him grasp. I felt quite empathetic with what you were saying actually. And, I know that some of those relapse situations that have come up lately rocked me to my core too. Especially the one who wrote so many posts, and then came back with so many of the same lame things a new WS would say. So, of course it's hard to differentiate that from anyone else here.

[This message edited by hikingout at 8:20 AM, September 26th (Thursday)]

secondtime posted 9/26/2019 10:25 AM

My husband is an SA, and we've been through one (three year) relapse already.

We are 44, and likely to live to 80 or longer.

It is absolutely foolish for me to believe that my husband will be sober for the rest of our lives.

I didn't even believe that when I first discovered, and we were in our early 30s.

Risk is on a continuum. My problem, after DH's first recovery attempt is that I thought there was a low level of risk of him repeating behaviors...when that wasn't the truth. He "did the work." But "doing the work" didn't lead him to accept in his bones that he's an addict.

Which, I didn't realize until DDay2.

My assessment, now, of the risk of my husband repeating behaviors is much higher. I can no longer assume outward behavior changes equate internal changes. Because in his case, they didn't, when he was "doing the work." And, while my husband is better about being vulnerable...it's still only what he wants to share..it's still filtered. I cannot jump into his body and read his mind to know exactly what he's really thinking.

My husband has also proven that the addiction will always come first. Always. I don't actually think we'll live long enough, now where the number of years of sobriety will be greater than the number of years high.

My husband, in trying to convey that he's 'working harder" tries to assure me that he won't go down the path of a three year relapse. Or he tries to assure me, that NOW, he's decided he won't lie to me again. (And I don't ask him questions that would cause him to lie to me...like "does this dress make my butt look big?")

And I tell him, that's nice dear, that he thinks he will never relapse for years before saying something..or that he will NEVER lie to me again.

His risk factor is too high for me to believe such things. In my mind, it's not a matter of "if", it's a matter of when and how much worse.

[This message edited by secondtime at 10:27 AM, September 26th (Thursday)]

gmc94 posted 9/26/2019 11:02 AM

HO- no offense taken at all.
If anything, “complicated” was a kind way to put it.

hikingout posted 9/26/2019 11:10 AM

I am sorry, Secondtime.

You bring up an interesting point though, in terms of addiction - I have heard many times when drug users relapse that people say to them "relapse is part of recovery".

I don't think that everyone who has an affair will relapse, but it might be a higher risk rate if you have been diagnosed with SA. That might be the "heroin" user version of affair havers? I really don't know that much about it to be honest. But, I know that there are many here and it seems to be something of a compulsion.

As far as myself personally, I don't have sexual compulsions or compulsions to act out. I was very compulsive/addicted during the affair, but I don't have an urge "to use" if that makes sense. I quit smoking right after college (also had started in college) and never really thought about it again. After DDAY, I went and cognizantly bought a pack of cigarattes. I willfully decided this despite the fact that I did not have the urge to smoke. I think having another affair for me (and others) would be in that vein. I knew it would be hard to quit, and there really wasn't a big urge to do it, but I went down the path anyway. I willfully decided knowing all that it would entail. That's the best comparison I could make in terms of stages and differences in addictions? If I did it again, I would have to willfully make that decision with all the information I have about it. I imagine with SA it's more like the compulsion takes over all reason at times.

And, of course as a result of that decision to start smoking - which was a hard thing to "start up" in the first place in that it was making me cough and get my throat acclimated to, then I went down the rabbithole of then feeling addicted again. You have to ask yourself why in the hell would someone do that? And, I think that when I see the relapses on here. BUT, in context of SA, I don't see it that way because I don't feel I understand it really.

Now the next part has nothing to do with comparing it to an affair more just wanted to say the outcome was I still quit a few months later. Oddly, I just woke up one day and threw them out. Went through the withdrawal and didn't blink an eye towards being tempted to do it again because I wanted to be "clean" of these types of things. It was as if whatever was driving it was gone and replaced with a strong desire to be wholesome and healthy. Can't explain it - the first time quitting was hell on earth.

[This message edited by hikingout at 11:12 AM, September 26th (Thursday)]

numb&dumb posted 9/26/2019 14:43 PM

The point I have trouble letting go of in all of this is that while you can say that you would never cheat again you likely had the same mindset on your wedding day. Intentioned or not matters very little in the aftermath of an A.

People Change. Life situations change. No way anyone can say that with 100% certainty. I do believe it is sincere, but life has taught me there is no sure thing. I am ok with the risk I have agreed to take on in my life, but the naivete it would take to hear that from my W and believe it are long gone. I don't expect it will come back either. I was made that promise once. The second one I am going to take with a grain of salt.

I have healed by incorporating the idea that anyone, including myself (and my wife), is capable of having an A. Everyone. Capable does not mean you are guaranteed to have one. It just means that actively practicing boundaries is that more important and each choice carries consequences. Complacency with those boundaries is a step towards the broken thinking that sometimes lead to an A. If you are above reproach then why waste time actively thinking about boundaries right? You are one of the few people who "would never do that." It is a false security to banish uncomfortable thoughts out of your active mind. I do that too. Just saying it is more value added to get comfortable being uncomfortable.

That is why I have trouble with those type of statements. It lacks a certain humility. It is a promise made that you can't be 100 % certain on. I do believe there is less risk a FWS would repeat the same steps all over again, but what about a different set of steps that leads to the same place ? Possible ? Yes. Probable? Too many factors to simplify that into a binary answer.

Just like insisting that you "always loved your BS during your A," doesn't gain you anything. Neither does making this statement. The words are easy. The actions take a life time to fulfill. The measure of success only occurs after your life is over. At that point . . .does it really matter anymore ?

Forever is a long time. I have no idea if I would have an A 10 years from now or not. A lot of things could change in that time. I am not trying to say it isn't possible. I am just saying that no one lives their life expecting to have an A. Which is why the those statements don't need to be said.

In some cases I have to wonder who are you trying to convince? Your BS or yourself ? If fidelity is the standard expectation does is really need to be stated in that way ?

hikingout posted 9/26/2019 14:55 PM

I think you make some very compelling points, Numb&dumb.

In some cases I have to wonder who are you trying to convince? Your BS or yourself ? If fidelity is the standard expectation does is really need to be stated in that way ?

I don't really feel I need to convince myself. I actually said it the other day because it's how I feel and I was taken aback a little bit by the resistance that single statement made. I feel like I have actually just taken on the same moral code as when I got married, but this time it just has more depth and understanding of it.

I don't feel that I need anything artificial in place. But, when I think about it I feel confident that I won't do something like that again. But, I also think vigilance is important, and the commitment is probably more to vigilance than making some grand statement.

I don't feel I need to convince my H. Words really don't mean anything - he gets my actions. What he viewed it as was a statement of the commitment that I have made to myself (with vigilance attached) rather than to him. He feels that when you make a goal you state it, and you make it black and white. So, I think really it's the way I am saying it that is causing the resistance reaction.

In all reality, I made this post not to convince any of you either - people here don't know me, it really has no bearing on my marriage moving forward if no one believed anything I said.

What this post was really intended for was to see if other WS felt as confident as I did, and I wanted to know their reasons for why. I actually had been planning to hold off on stating my thoughts on it, because I didn't want this post to be about me anyway. I wanted more to see the way other WS viewed this for themselves. And, honestly the one I identified with the most was WalkingonEggShelz. I felt she said in essence the sentiments that I had on the topic.

[This message edited by hikingout at 2:56 PM, September 26th (Thursday)]

GeoV posted 9/26/2019 16:18 PM

Why you should never make that promise/statement....
The love your spouse had for you prior to finding out that you cheated is the most pure and real love you'll ever (most likely) feel. And yet you crossed that line into the uncharted waters of infidelity. The first time is the hardest. It will become easier and easier. No one is immune from cheating, especially a cheater. Once you drop your morals and values and break your vows, well you'll never get them back. It's kind of like being a recovering alcoholic. The temptation will always be there. So it is what it is. I'm sure I'll catch flack for this post but at 57 it's been my experience.

godheals posted 9/26/2019 17:04 PM

I been following this thread and been meaning to post. I am doing it now because something really caught my eye

“The temptation will always be there“. I highly disagree to this

I looked up the word “temptation”. It means “the desire to do something”. I don’t have any desire to go cheat again on my spouse. Saying you never will might be different then having a desire to do it. Some might have the temptation if they are a SA or simply just don’t care.

I know saying you never will might not mean anything to a BS because they did it once they can do it again. Heck I never thought I would in the first place. Knowing and seeing first hand what infidelity did to my H and our M is something I don’t want to ever go through again. It’s putting healthy boundaries into place and having better coping skills. Not being selfish and entitled. Not letting your guard down. I also think it’s not putting yourself in that situation. I have never had a DUI in my life. I don't plan on it either. I really don't drink. Even if I did have a few one evening I will make sure I don’t get behind the wheel. It’s not putting yourself in that situation.

I don’t really want to use the word never but I will say knowing and seeing the pain and hurt I caused my H from the first time is something I strongly don’t want to ever want to do to my H again.

[This message edited by godheals at 5:05 PM, September 26th (Thursday)]

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