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We Should Write a Manual

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36yearsgone posted 10/9/2019 12:57 PM

After spending two years on SI, I have decided that there needs to be a manual that takes a man or woman from dating prior to marriage, through marriage and through infidelity.

I have learned a tremendous amount from SI, during my tenure as a Betrayed Spouse and beyond.

My fellow betrayeds have taught me quite a lot. Whether it be pre-marriage, marriage, affair, D-day, affair aftermath, reconciliation or divorce, SI is a wealth of information. Iíve read so many different stories about men/women who have bad pickers (when it comes to choosing a potential mate), and those who had seemingly, long-term, happy marriages, only to be surprised and caught completely off guard by infidelity. There are amazing stories of recovery and reconciliation, as well as the sad stories dealing with the inability to recover and ultimately divorcing.

It seems to me that we could put together a manual that could take someone from dating through the entire potentiality of their life joined to someone else.

The question I have for you is what would this manual include?

How to improve your odds of picking a better and safer mate.
How to prepare yourself for the possibility of infidelity,
Recognizing the signs of infidelity.
How to access data on your spouseís/significant otherís phone or computer.
How to prepare for D-day.
Contacting the other BS.

There is so much excellent information we could add.

What would you add? What do you wish you knew way back when?

[This message edited by 36yearsgone at 4:48 PM, October 9th (Wednesday)]

hdybrh posted 10/9/2019 14:58 PM

My WS and I have talked about how we wish our marriage counseling way back when had more of what we know now as part of it. Not that you can affair proof a marriage but so many of us wish we knew then what we know now.

The1stWife posted 10/9/2019 15:00 PM

I would add that there are warning signs we ALL ignore during the dating period.

I have a friend going through a horrific divorce with a NPD certifiable nut. The spouse cheated before the M and all throughout the marriage. Complete serial cheater.

I would like to add some red flags to take note of:

Cheats on the Betrayed while dating - most likely will cheat during the marriage
Verbally abusive to the Betrayed while dating - most likely will not stop during marriage
Manipulative to get their own way - big red flag. This is not compromising or negotiating - Iím talking manipulation
Canít hold a job? 🚩
Blames others for failures or disappointments - 🚩

I guess these are signs to be aware of. Not saying the person will cheat - but these are some warning signs of an unhealthy relationship or marriage

OrdinaryDude posted 10/9/2019 16:24 PM

Chapter One: The Prenup

WhoTheBleep posted 10/9/2019 16:29 PM

Chapter One: The Prenup

OMG. Yes.

36yearsgone posted 10/9/2019 16:42 PM

Chapter One: The Prenup

A prenup is a great start. It protects the finances, but what protects the heart?

[This message edited by 36yearsgone at 4:47 PM, October 9th (Wednesday)]

MalibuBayBreeze posted 10/9/2019 17:33 PM

It sounds nice in theory but really how do you write a manual for dating, marriage and post infidelity? There are an infinite amount of factors contributing to a person's life, their relationships, families and marriages. There is no blueprint for life, and that's what this all is. Life.

IMO relationships should be organic, for lack of a better word. I wouldn't want to constantly refer to a manual because if things aren't going as per said manual says it should it would just cause undue stress and anxiety.

Good or bad a relationship has to develop and unfold in it's own due time.

Even in the throes of infidelity there may be many common issues that we all relate to but our reactions, situations, histories, families, all differ. We all add our own seasoning to the pot but there is no definitive recipe for this. We all respond and heal in our own way. Some instantly ending their marriage, some trying R, some facing multiple DDays, some living miserable loveless marriages because they are stuck.

Is any one right or wrong? No. It's whatever suits the individual and their situation best. It's a personal journey and we all find our way as we take advice and see what fits. The 2-5 year timeline for instance is to me an underestimated timeline. Someone else may bounce back quicker.

You can't prepare yourself for infidelity. Doing so first of all implies you are entering a marriage with someone you don't trust. Aside from that I would bet many had no idea just how devastating this is. How painful. Even if suspicious, when discovery is made the emotions are overwhelming. There is nothing that will protect a spouse from infidelity. Nothing.

The only protection against it is being blessed with a faithful spouse.

[This message edited by MalibuBayBreeze at 5:39 PM, October 9th (Wednesday)]

AbandonedGuy posted 10/9/2019 17:51 PM

Step 1: Dont get married

Step 2: Yeah, dont even fall in love in the first place

Step 3: Get a dog

36yearsgone posted 10/9/2019 17:54 PM

MalibuBayBreeze:

I agree with you in principle, but, in some respects SI is a manual. There is a ton of information here and many people pre, mid and post-infidelity refer to the many posts here.

I disagree that you can't prepare for infidelity. You can, at least to a small degree, by becoming better at picking a mate, recognizing the warning signs of infidelity and knowing what steps to take when attempting tp stop it from getting started.

As for relationships being organic, I too have, in the past, been led to believe that organic is the way to go. But in doing so, you surrender pre-nups, faithfulness, and any agreements made with your spouse. Organic simply means what will happens will happen, so take no steps to deal with it. I no longer believe that principle.

If I had dumped my wife when she was still my fiancee, after she cheated during our engagement, I would've avoided a lot of misery.

crazyblindsided posted 10/9/2019 18:05 PM

Step 1: Dont get married
Step 2: Yeah, dont even fall in love in the first place
Step 3: Get a dog

Lol exactly

MalibuBayBreeze posted 10/9/2019 18:37 PM

I disagree that you can't prepare for infidelity. You can, at least to a small degree, by becoming better at picking a mate, recognizing the warning signs of infidelity and knowing what steps to take when attempting tp stop it from getting started.

What about those who thought they had the perfect mate? Who were totally blindsided by the betrayal? Many suspected but some truly were taken by surprise and are in shock.

You cannot prevent it because you cannot control your spouses behavior. The buck stops with them, their integrity and boundaries. As we are always saying here you can only control yourself not your WS. There is nothing we can do because it is something that touches a wide variety of people. It doesn't matter who you are, what you look like, how successful, tall, short, fat, thin, young, old etc. Infidelity can and does have the ability to touch anyone's life. If there was an ironclad protection against it, I'd be fighting my way to the head of the line to get it.

What about the betrayed who are on their second marriage and swore they knew all the warning signs? They'd found someone amazing who either had been through infidelity themselves, or were ever so empathetic and aware of the pain the BS had gone through in their first marriage yet turn around and make that person a BS yet again.

SI is a place of reference and advice. It's a place to pour ones heart out. To find a relatable sympathy and empathy from others experiencing this hell.

No I don't have a laissez-faire attitude towards relationships and marriage but I don't want to refer to a manual either. It's not about not caring what happens and whatever will be, will be. It's about allowing a relationship to develop over time. Dating is about trying on different relationships until we find the one that we believe fits us best.

None of us had a crystal ball on our wedding day and really every relationship is a leap of faith. None of us really imagined ourselves to be where we're at yet here we are. I wish there wasn't a need for a place such as this, as wonderful as it is.

PSTI posted 10/9/2019 20:09 PM

Honestly, I think that relationship classes should be taught in school. Good communication skills, how to handle arguments, maintaining healthy boundaries in a relationship, etc.

The problem is, how do you keep it completely nonreligious and have people agree on the content if taught publicly? I just see so many people with such poor relationship skills in general and I think it's no wonder their marriages fail.

J707 posted 10/9/2019 20:33 PM

I agree with the Breeze. I haven't started dating yet but when I do, I don't want a checklist or manual to do so. Organically. Have I learned a tremendous amount of knowledge going through all this? Absolutely! I intend to use it in my future. There is no manual for life or relationships. My exw was stubborn as hell, found out she was a narc during the D process. Does that mean all stubborn people are Narcs. You can't have a checklist or manual.

I see what you're saying though. Gather all the information from those with experience. I like it, but it's not probable for me. You can't warn against something that's invisible right in front of you. Can you see the signs with a manual? Maybe, but if I need a manual to find my next partner or love, I think I would check it constantly and that ain't natural.

I also hate manuals or instructions, I guess I'm a typical dude

iamanidiot posted 10/10/2019 03:16 AM

Will any type of manual help?

My older brother & sister both got divorced. Did I learn from that?
I still married the love-of-my-life.

By then she had cheated on me with 2xOM, gotten pregnant and had an abortion, as I found out 30 years later. Details of another 2xOM during our marriage and possible OC emerged as well.

You could have asked ANY of our friends over the years, we had a great family life, nobody would ever have suspected, least of all me.

You just cannot go into a relationship thinking the worst, expecting that all these things could happen and trying to look out for them.

You are pretty much blinded by your emotions and feelings....and VERY gullible.


outofsorts posted 10/10/2019 09:52 AM

I don't think I would want a manual for what to do when dating / how to avoid infidelity in your relationship. But I sure as hell think a manual for what to do when it happens would be amazing.

In the past 7+ months I have read dozens of books about what to do when infidelity happens in your marriage. I have listened to hundreds of podcast episodes. And I can say that while those have all been helpful nothing has helped more than this website. The vast experience and wisdom of the people on this site has been a life saver - as has just knowing that there are people out there that you can talk to and who understand what you are going through.

A few days after my Dday I went online and was looking at books and couldn't really find the book I wanted / needed. I bought one that was helpful (and later checked out dozens from the library) but I wish that the SI post Dday manual had been available at that time.

36yearsgone posted 10/10/2019 11:13 AM

As I was considering what I wanted to present on this thread, I looked back over my life and realized several things:

1.) I had no instruction on what to look for in a prospective lifelong partner. As a teenager I went into dating based on nothing more than my emotion and my eyes. Is she pretty, nice, thin...for a brief period I probably asked myself, "is she easyĒ?

2.) I had no preparation for becoming a husband. Despite some premarital counseling, the training I had came down to two words: I DO.

3.) I never considered the possibility of infidelity. This was stupid and naÔve on my part as she had already cheated during our engagement. The warning bells should've been ringing in my mind, telling me to run.

4.) When my wife started screwing the POSOM and I found out, I really didn't know what to do or which direction to turn.

My thoughts, regarding some sort of manual or book, are simply to help someone mitigate their relationship risks.

I work in high tech, with an emphasis on security in networks and infrastructure. When making a recommendation to a client regarding securing their network, I will often hear, "Yeah, but taking that step won't keep them from trying another way to get into our network."

They're right, it won't prevent other intrusion attempts, but it will mitigate the potential damage if a few simple steps are taken.

People on SI keep saying, you can't prevent infidelity. They're right, but you can mitigate the possibility infidelity and other marital problems.
If you donít want to experience the problems associated with a spouse having drug or alcohol problems, donít marry someone who has or display those behaviors. Maybe we shouldnít look to hook up with someone who spends copious time in bars or opium dens.

There are lots of overlooked signs of trouble when entering a relationship. Should we skip learning what these signs are and mean just because something else could go wrong? I say, no! We should mitigate what we can and compensate for what we canít.

Knowledge is power.

The manual of which I speak, would not be filled with ordinances detailing how you must live your life and your marriage. It would be informational and provide a level of instruction to help those seeking marriage, those in it and those who are going through infidelity and its aftermath.

I think most of us would side with having an organic relationship; what happens will happen. This may work in a Utopian Universe, but despite how wonderful it could be, this Utopian Universe does not exist and never will.

I had an organic relationship. It ended up in disaster. Organic relationships are much like organic foods: they can cost you more than theyíre worth.

Janeey posted 10/10/2019 11:15 AM

the lies they tell

36yearsgone posted 10/10/2019 12:06 PM

the lies they tell

Janeey, that would make for a very long book.

36yearsgone posted 10/10/2019 14:23 PM

You can't prepare yourself for infidelity. Doing so first of all implies you are entering a marriage with someone you don't trust. Aside from that I would bet many had no idea just how devastating this is. How painful. Even if suspicious, when discovery is made the emotions are overwhelming. There is nothing that will protect a spouse from infidelity. Nothing.

MalibuBayBreeze:

Ok, so we can't prepare for infidelity? But can we mitigate it? Can we reduce the odds of becoming a victim of infidelity? I say yes, we can. Making better choices with respect to choosing a life partner is a good start.

The only protection against it is being blessed with a faithful spouse.

...and how does one find a faithful spouse?

keptmyword posted 10/10/2019 14:47 PM

I disagree that you can't prepare for infidelity. You can, at least to a small degree, by becoming better at picking a mate, recognizing the warning signs of infidelity and knowing what steps to take when attempting tp stop it from getting started.

My XWW comes from a loving, stable, traditional, and very conservative family.

Her parents have been married for well over 40 years and no infidelity that I know of.

My XWW was the kind that always talked about how family was everything and it was forever.

She said I would never have to worry about infidelity.

She was the kind that one would think that ďnever in a million yearsĒ would she betray her family.

I thought I was one of the really lucky ones that would never have to worry about or deal with infidelity.

And then she did it.

Not only did she do it but she then descended to a horrific level of blameshifting, vilifying, gaslighting, and every sort of despicable wayward behavior we hear about on this forum.

She completely and thoroughly destroyed her family and her marriage and to this day blames anything but herself and treats me with contempt.

Again, before she did it I was of complete certainty that she would not do this in a million years.

But she did.

You can believe you have picked the safest, most emotionally stable, honest, loyal, and trustworthy mate you could ever find but the truth is that you just donít really know what lurks deep within their mind that can override everything you believe about them.

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