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The reality of an affair

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Zugzwang posted 4/21/2020 11:46 AM

It was nothing special. I am not responsible for their decisions any more than she is for mine and/or my wife's.
Just because it wasn't anything special doesn't change the effect and consequences it had. Yes, you are not responsible for her decision. You are responsible for the consequence of the decision if it was made with you.

Should my wife blame my AP or me for breaking our marriage?
She has every right to. Just because it could have been anyone doesn't mean that the person who became the one isn't held responsible for choosing to be the one.

But the important part to healing is to understand why I took that role not that I played it.
Hell no. Just wrong wrong wrong. You need to understand why and you need to understand and accept the role. Sounds like you are running from ownership to me. The role.
The role itself that I played in their marriage had very little to do with me.
Yes, it does have everything to do with you. You chose to hurt someone else intentionally. What kind of person do you think that makes you? That is like saying, I will not kill because it effects me and my family and I would go to jail. It should be I will not kill because I have no right to take someone elses life. You are consequence driven. Not driven because of what is right.

The blame game is a diversion from healing
That isn't the blame game. That is ownership.
You're not to blame for your AP's choices anymore than she is for yours.
True, you are blamed for the consequences though if you are the choice. You chose to become available that role- avenue.
The roles you took [willingly] were incidental to the other person.
Not to the BS and OBS.
You looked to find someone else so that you could finish breaking your marriage.
Who? you?

I broke my marriage. Not my AP.
Yes, you did. So did your AP. If you left your door open and your wife is raped and robbed. Why wouldn't you also blame the robber for taking advantage of the situation? It is the same thing. Your AP left the door open and you chose to fuck her husband over. Their family if they had one. Just because she left the door open doesn't absolve you of responsibility. Just because it could have been the next house with a door left open doesn't absolve you or your guilt to go into their yard.

Why this AP? I have to wonder? Did you play a KISA role? Do you see yourself as one upping the OBS? That he deserved it? Did the AP resent the betrayed? You mention other APs for her, so is this some way to protect yourself from feeling hurt that you were disposable and risked your marriage for nothing. Are you running from shame, and fearful of spiraling so you are grasping at ways to not be guilty in order to not spiral? Like, since she had others you aren't responsible for the breakdown of their marriage?

Your poor wife. I bet she is confused. You sir are hoodwinking her. Gaslighting her. Blameshifting. Telling her how to feel and how to look at it. Clearly sounds like she thinks your AP has ownership in the breakdown of her marriage.

HellFire posted 4/21/2020 12:53 PM

Let me clarify. I don't despise the OW, but I sure as Hell don't like her. And she is 100% responsible for her actions.

I'm still curious as to how OP knows who filed for divorce.

MrCleanSlate posted 4/21/2020 13:05 PM

My BW, one day early on after d-day, very pointedly called out my AP to me as being a coldhearted, self centred bitch that had no qualms about breaking up our M and family to suit her own desires. Oh yes, my BW put a lot of blame onto the AP. In the same breath though my BW also reminded me how pissed off she was at me for what I did and that whatever my AP did, did not let me off the hook for my choices.

It was a wake up call for me.We need to take responsibility for our actions.

I really do understand what you were trying to say in the original post. But I also see how much you are missing in your view.

gmc94 posted 4/21/2020 13:20 PM

Your AP left the door open and you chose to fuck her husband over. Their family if they had one. Just because she left the door open doesn't absolve you of responsibility. Just because it could have been the next house with a door left open doesn't absolve you or your guilt to go into their yard.
FD - does this make sense to you? Even if you flip it such that you are the one that left the door open and your AP robbed the house, you still have a role (by leaving the door open) that is not merely "incidental" to the robbery.

FWIW, I don't think anyone is trying to swing a 2x4 here. It's about taking full responsibility for your choice to play that role. Sure, anyone else could have played it. But it wasn't anyone else. It was you.

I just now remembered that my WH has zero remorse or empathy for his girlfriend's BSO. And I do mean ZERO. It is horrifying to me (and we have talked about it). He can somehow pretzel logic anger at his girlfriend (albeit I suspect that has far far far far more to do with her ending it by telling me), yet takes no personal responsibility for doing the same damn thing to the BSO. So, from a BS perspective, to claim no responsibility for your role in the harm caused to the OBS (and family), while I suspect your BW does hold your AP responsible for her in the bombing of your M, is a clusterfuck (the technical term).

[This message edited by gmc94 at 4:42 PM, April 21st, 2020 (Tuesday)]

KingRat posted 4/21/2020 16:55 PM

I know if it wasn't me it'd be someone else....assumptions are mostly a nice way of building narratives for ourselves but they're not really helpful most of the time.

I don't want to pile on, but isn't that what you are doing? Your're assuming that it would have been someone else in order to feel less responsible for the role that you played, which by definition is not incidental. Knives and speeding cars are inanimate objects that can be weaponized; humans are creatures capable of meaningful choice that can choose to weaponize those objects.

I think the better analogy would be you knew she was drunk and could barely stand up and you gave her keys to a car in which she drove to and caused the accident. You can say that she would have drove another or tried to steal your keys if you didn't give her the keys, but that is simply an assumption. However, what you can't dispute is that handing a drunk driver keys played an active, not incidental role, in the subsequent accident.

[This message edited by KingRat at 5:11 PM, April 21st (Tuesday)]

forgettableDad posted 4/21/2020 18:02 PM

I didn't assume anything. You have posted that the affair was a positive thing.
You're misquoting me quite badly there for an effect. It's very easy to build a narrative from what you want to hear and not what is said. I said:
I understand my wife suffered. I caused the suffering. But I can see and she says herself that the net result was positive for her.

She has every right to
Of course she does. But it wouldn't be true.
risked your marriage for nothing
I had an affair after my wife and I separated, though not legally divorced. I'm in a very good position to understand the difference between cause and effect.

An affair is a symptom. The marriage is broken by the WS long before the affair happens because an affair is the end result of many decisions over a long period of time. Even one night stands are not really a single isolated event.

I will not kill because I have no right to take someone elses life.
That's a very simplistic view of life. I've killed during my service in the army. There are many instances where killing another person is justified (bit of a detour this line of conversation though).

I was incidental in my AP's life and she was in mine. As any is; to think otherwise is to pretend that some force guides you or that you were somehow required to meet. That's a comfortable lie people tell themselves when they want to hold onto a broken mind. There's nothing special about having an affair; it's a dysfunctional way of dealing with internal issues. I know it's hard to acknowledge it (especially to a BS) but you have to let go of your AP and their lives if you are to move forward. There's nothing in what I said (as triggering as it is I guess) that says to ignore the pain we cause to others. But once we process it, understand it, hold it and own it. We have to let it go.

FWIW, I don't think anyone is trying to swing a 2x4 here. It's about taking full responsibility for your choice to play that role.
Heh, I'm not fazed by harsh words. I'm not seeking validation for who I am.

I think this statement says a lot. So if it was nothing special, why do it?
You're looking for a rational mind in a deep well of irrationality. It doesn't work that way. There are touches of mental illness with being able to build narratives and disassociate like that. And it takes a whole lot of psychological work with a professional to be able to heal from it.

Sure, anyone else could have played it. But it wasn't anyone else. It was you.
Exactly. And the important part is to understand why I chose to take the role. Why I chose to hurt myself and my wife and why I was willing to participate in hurting two other people. But the responsibility of moving forward with their lives is on them. An AP shares in the pain but not in the consequences; unless they have not disengaged and moved from being an AP to a P - which is a completely different kettle of fucked-in-the-head.

As far as stealing, doors and driving analogies. They're a dime a dozen. If you think hard you could conjure up a few that would explain why an affair is totally your partner's fault or the AP's fault. Better to concentrate on reality and deal with that.

Alright; this is getting to be a wall of text and I doubt even I could get through it. So let me tl;dr the three points I see from this thread.
1. We all (mostly all) agree that an AP isn't anything special.
2. We all (mostly all) agree that the whole "Love" aspect of an affair is bullshit.
3. We disagree on the AP's responsibility in the other couple's decisions to divorce or reconcile.
I can live with that :)

HellFire posted 4/21/2020 18:19 PM

What makes you think he initiated or pushed for the divorce? I'll not keep you waiting. He didn't


How do you know this?

marriageredux959 posted 4/21/2020 18:28 PM

An affair is a symptom. The marriage is broken by the WS long before the affair happens because an affair is the end result of many decisions over a long period of time. Even one night stands are not really a single isolated event.

^^ This.

Thanksgiving2016 posted 4/21/2020 18:40 PM

Hellfire heís not answering that question because itís bullshit- he canít speak for that person.

Zugzwang posted 4/23/2020 10:38 AM

Is your BS on here?

When you typed this...it really comes across like you are dictating what you wife should think and feel.

I know it might seem strange to a betrayed partner (it does to my wife when we talk about it) that after all the "oh but we were in love" bullshit it was just that. Bullshit. But it is bullshit. There's nothing special about the other person.
Of course she does. But it wouldn't be true.

Why is it is strange for her when you talk about it? Strange in her understanding that the AP means nothing to you? Are you enforcing that she should mean nothing to your wife? Are you denying her, her feelings? What wouldn't be true? That she doesn't feel this way or you will not allow her to put blame?

An affair is a symptom.
Curious, a symptom of what? I would not consider my affairs symptoms. A final catalyst, yes.

That's a very simplistic view of life.
Not really. It is a moral standpoint. Hence, why I would never join the military. To each there own. I wouldn't be able to live with myself.

I was incidental in my AP's life and she was in mine
How do you know she feels that way? How do you know her husband feels that way? What you should be saying is that your AP is incidental to you.

There's nothing special about having an affair; it's a dysfunctional way of dealing with internal issues.
True, it doesn't negate the consequences your non-special actions produce.

I know it's hard to acknowledge it (especially to a BS) but you have to let go of your AP and their lives if you are to move forward. There's nothing in what I said (as triggering as it is I guess) that says to ignore the pain we cause to others. But once we process it, understand it, hold it and own it. We have to let it go.
True to. How do you own it though if you think you have no responsibility in destroying a marriage? It is as if you say the words, but skip right over the actual owning part. I don't know one WS on here that has owned it and said in the same breath I have no responsibility in driving a wedge in someone elses marriage.

But the responsibility of moving forward with their lives is on them. An AP shares in the pain but not in the consequences;
SO disagree with the second sentence. There is no reason why you can't have your own responsibility. You just said you owned the pain and destruction you caused in the above and then contradict yourself.

If you think hard you could conjure up a few that would explain why an affair is totally your partner's fault or the AP's fault.

Not one person on here said it was their partner's fault. Curious that you keep bringing that up. Were you blaming your partner till now? No one ever said it totally the APs fault either. Where do you get that from? Every one kept saying it is both. You and your AP.

Zugzwang posted 4/23/2020 10:56 AM

I have to wonder though if you view things so differently because you were sleeping with a married woman while separated from your wife. You were separated due to what? The lying and drinking? Did you view this as an affair or did your wife? Were you divorcing when you were separated?

HellFire posted 4/24/2020 07:59 AM

It's very telling that he keeps avoiding the question. I'm sure, if he replies, he will say he wasn't, but it's clear he is.

He was being arrogant and sarcastic, in his response(s) to me, and what he meant to as an admonishment towards me, ended up exposing something he meant to keep secret.

He would only know that his AP filed for divorce if she told him. Or, if he has a mutual friend, who feels comfortable telling OP what's happening with his AP.

I'm sure I will be told I'm assuming. And, I am. Because he chose to avoid the question.


[This message edited by HellFire at 8:00 AM, April 24th (Friday)]

looking forward posted 4/24/2020 10:01 AM

I'm not really blaming myself for their divorce. But I had a role in it, even if it was incidental. I know if it wasn't me it'd be someone else, same for her. There was nothing special about any of it. Two broken people running from fixing themselves and hurting the people they're suppose to actually really love... Still feel shitty I guess..

I just had a conversation with my H about the serious threads on SI. I read a lot of them, but rarely do I post on them. I feel inadequate to compose and articulate my thoughts.
I've been on SI for 11 years, and it still astounds me to read this WS drivel; the superficial, narcissistic, gaslighting, blameshifting, and lack of ownership.

As SMY stated on page 1:

..fDad..

YOU are a newcomer here.

READ and LEARN...

However, after reading this entire thread. I don't think fDad will ever get it.

RosesandThorns posted 4/24/2020 14:29 PM

I'm surprised at your philosophy on this particular point about infidelity, forgettableDad, as you seem to have a firm grasp and good insight on some other important aspects.

I have never understood "the AP didn't make vows to the BS" argument. (Or the "it's not my business to tell a BS that their partner is cheating.") The AP steals time, affection, attention, sex, money...any or all of the above...which never belonged to him/her. Just because you *can* take something doesn't mean it's okay to do it or that you aren't accountable to who you stole from. That's a wayward mindset.

I see this subset of a "not my problem" attitude play out via everyday life in modern culture, and it concerns me. People take videos of people hurting one another instead of stepping in to stop it. Let doors close in an elderly person's face instead of holding it out. Watch a disabled person struggle to reach something up high in a store instead of offering assistance. A 20-something sits on a bench while a heavily pregnant women stands there, uncomfortable and swollen.

We can't and aren't responsible for everyone in the world, but we are responsible to do the right thing and to help people when we can. Just because something bad happening is an inevitable event doesn't mean it's okay to be the catalyst for it.

oldtruck posted 4/24/2020 15:56 PM

OP,

you claim to be just the knife, not the hand so you cannot be
blamed for the damage that was done to your AP's BH.

the get away driver still gets charged with murder when the
robbery goes wrong and a teller gets shot and dies while he
just waited sitting behind the wheel waiting during the robbery.

and, affairs are not inevitable.

RosesandThorns posted 4/24/2020 16:18 PM

Oldtruck, all affairs are a choice. It's clear in some situations, though, that if the AP had not been person A, it would have been person B...because the WS did not value the marriage over self gratification and was not going to make the right choice. Doesn't make it any less wrong for person B to step into that role. They are just as guilty for stealing from the OBS as the person A would have been. That was my point. (Apologies if you were responding to someone else.)

marriageredux959 posted 4/24/2020 16:21 PM

@Zugzwang:

"An affair is a symptom."

Curious, a symptom of what? I would not consider my affairs symptoms. A final catalyst, yes.

Of an unhealthy wayward with poor boundaries and perhaps poor coping mechanisms.

JMHO, but as huge and as painful and as destructive as it is, the damage to the marriage is collateral. The affair is a symptom.

The pathology lies within the wayward.

As we all know, unless there is successful, healthy intervention of some type, and unless that intervention gets positive traction, waywards typically and ultimately destroy themselves and their own lives. It is hugely self-destructive behavior on a number of levels.

Ultimately, it is their pathology and their destruction.

Unfortunately, without help and/or a self-realization of some sort, they damage us along the way, and in the worst cases, they take us with them into their destruction. =(

JMHO, YMMV.

[This message edited by marriageredux959 at 4:54 PM, April 24th (Friday)]

Zugzwang posted 4/26/2020 11:01 AM

^^^yes, hence why I said it isn't a symptom. It is the waywards personal climax in self destruction. I should have said climax and not catalyst. wrong word.

Zugzwang posted 4/26/2020 11:06 AM

I'm surprised at your philosophy on this particular point about infidelity, forgettableDad, as you seem to have a firm grasp and good insight on some other important aspects.


It is easy to say the right words as insight is here all the time to read from. It is the underlying moral and ethical values that really speak of true change. Waywards are afterall usually good master manipulators. Semi-good actors. It is easy to own what you did as wrong. It is not easy to own why it was wrong and own that. Usually we see first, it was wrong of me to solve my marriage problems this way....then to it really wasn't the marriage...then eventually to self...hopefully to using people and hurting them to their own selfish gain...and finally to I chose to do this, I didn't care, I am responsible for my place in other peoples lives and even the influence I had on their lives and choices.

lettingo posted 4/27/2020 14:54 PM

It's posts like this that really help me when I momentarily forget why things didn't work out with my xwh. It's this wayward mindset.

IMO this way of thinking seems to lack something that is needed for real R .... Empathy. Not just for the BS but for all the other people that were seriously damaged as a result of the waywards actions.

Sure it's much easier to not have to look at yourself as the asshole that helped destroy a family (in addition to your own), but without doing that, are you really accepting the truth of what you did?

[This message edited by lettingo at 3:35 PM, April 27th (Monday)]

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