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The reality of an affair

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josiep posted 5/9/2020 08:37 AM

That said, I find it hard to separate the panic attacks, pain, financial loss, loss of status, tears, and time josiep speaks of and the choice to divorce. Aren't all of those things mentioned a huge reason or even catalyst for choosing divorce? Would the divorce have happened without those A related things in the mix? Who's to say, but I would wager they damn sure played a huge role. Can you help me see the difference josiep? I do appreciate your input here.
Buck

If you go back and read fDad's first post, which is the one I was referring to, he simply says he isn't responsible for a divorce between other people. No one outside of a marriage could be blamed for the decision made by the married couple. If my MIL told lies to my H and he divorced me because of it, would it be her fault? No. She'd have played a role (as fDad clearly claimed responsibility for) but the D would have been because we weren't strong enough, smart enough, kind enough, stupid enough, <fill in the blank>, to get to the bottom of the mess and work it out.

fDad's others posts clearly claim responsibility and blame for the pain and the hurt he caused and sounds like he sought professional help to deal with his guilt and feelings about it all.

I thought he made a lot of excellent points about the process of healing, about the insights into what's important to realize after the fact when a person has done something despicable. But a lot of readers are getting hung up on certain words and not hearing the message.

Saying that he was incidental doesn't diminish his role in any way and he said so. What that means is, he wasn't anyone special, that he just happened along at the time; as he said, 2 broken people who happened to encounter each other at just the wrong right time. He was incidental to what happened, it wasn't part of a plan.

When he said the A wasn't important, he meant that it wasn't an important life event, that it meant nothing to him. At the risk of putting words in his mouth, I think he meant it was just sex. And when the day comes that he looks back on the important events in his life, he'll count the births of his kids, his wedding day, maybe certain family vacations, work achievements, kids' graduations, kids' weddings, etc. The affair will not be on the list, it wasn't important.

And when he said the AP doesn't suffer the consequences, he meant AP's don't suffer the consequences of their AP. IOW, he has his consequences and suffered (or is suffering) them and his AP has her consequences and suffered (or is suffering) hers. IOW, they don't suffer each others.

This has been interesting because either fDad and I are both really poor readers or really poor communicators because I was quite taken with what he wrote and thought it had a lot of good insights and I didn't think he was minimizing or gaslighting at all. I think he's one who has dug really, really deep and gotten to the core of the issue within himself and I think that's quite an accomplishment and required a lot of self-reflection. And, as a BS, I'm glad he still feels shitty. But I hope that as he makes amends to his wife and family and anyone else who was hurt, that feeling shitty fades until it's ALMOST gone.

Anyway, to get back to the specifics of your question: it's a technicality. While fDad is to blame for the pain, the suffering, the agonizing sleepless nights, the panic attacks, etc., he is not responsible for AP & OBS decision to divorce. Many couples manage to reconcile afterwards and many don't. FDad's behavior isn't the key to whether they make it or not.

I mentioned previously that if we use the logic that places blame for a divorce onto other people, then it would follow that the APs of OBSs who reconcile get a pass from that blame. Can't have it both ways.

Thanksgiving2016 posted 5/9/2020 11:34 AM

I think the point is the decision to divorce is a direct result of the AP and wayward spouse behavior. The decision to divorce isnít really a decision for some. If Iím in a horrible accident and need physical therapy to learn to walk again, technically going to physical therapy would be a decision but was it really a decision. Cmon.

BraveSirRobin posted 5/9/2020 12:48 PM

Speaking for myself, I understood and agreed with ForgettableDad's point. Affairs ARE between two shitty, broken people who oversell their importance to each other. I had no quarrel with that characterization at all.

I was, however, struck by the manner in which he chose to present the argument. The conversation with the friend, beginning with "Yeah, I know" and ending with "still feels shitty, I guess" bookends an implied offstage argument that he is being unfair to himself in taking blame for things that are beyond his control. Part of my "job" as a WS on this forum is to have my antennas up for clues to what other WS are thinking as well as saying. I can't take everything I read here at face value, because we are a community of proven liars. So I'm a natural skeptic, looking for what's going on under the surface as well as the sure-to-be-popular point that affairs are meaningless and fake.

What I got from that is that FDad wants us to know that he's going above and beyond in taking accountability, so much so that friends are telling him to cut himself some slack. Our job is not to tell him to go easy on himself. Waywards do that naturally. We don't need help with it. We need people to tell us not to get too comfortable, to keep digging, that pride is something that should come very late in the process, if ever.

Could I have read him wrong? Absolutely. I'm not psychic. But I have a reasonably good gut for wayward self-justification, and honestly, a prickly response from FDad that "I'm not here to impress you," does more to confirm that impression than refute it. This is something I audit in myself, so it could be projection, but it's more likely to be recognition. As he reminds us that we have the details wrong, that his affair happened after he separated, that his wife ended up seeing it as a net positive, I see pats on his own back for how his situation is exceptional. Again, this was me early in the process -- "we weren't married, we weren't even engaged, I confessed, I wasn't caught" -- I made sure to mention these things often, as if they really mattered to the pain my BH was enduring or the brokenness in myself that caused the A. That's the subtext I suspected from the OP and saw played out in his responses. We were supposed to applaud, and he was irritated when we didn't follow the script.

No, he didn't cause the divorce. Does that change the work he needs to do? If not, why bring it up at all? It felt like a way to virtue signal. That's what set off my radar.

[This message edited by BraveSirRobin at 1:17 PM, May 9th (Saturday)]

somanyyears posted 5/9/2020 12:48 PM


..so if??... a man runs over and kills your family dog, he's not going to know or feel the emotional impact of that loss. He has no investment in the love and bond you share with your dog. He thinks that 'anyone' could have killed your dog.. He says he's sorry... and drives off!

You and your family are left with the pain and sorrow and tears. The man sheds no tears but...

Unbeknownst to you, he takes safe driving courses and never kills another dog. While he can't share your pain, he can take ownership of the need to be a better driver, and does!

I wouldn't expect the man to share your world of pain until it happened to him. I wonder if the man would have to be a BH to really know? Theory is that each side of the fence has its own special torment, for a million different reasons and 4 different perspectives.

I've changed mine! I could DIE SOON so all of this seems so less important. Maybe I'm reading too much? Going back to SPF..

smy

gmc94 posted 5/9/2020 12:49 PM

I think one could put it in the legal "but for" perspective and be perfectly reasonable. And I suppose that's where I fall too.

IOW, as Thanksgiving said "but for" the A, divorce would not even be on the table. That's certainly the case for me. And there is not a doubt in my heart/soul/mind that my WH's girlfriend and AP#2 had pivotal roles in that "but for" .... roles that were anything BUT "incidental" to D being on the table to begin with. They may not be responsible for the ultimate choice I/we make, but they do bear "blame" wrt the fact that it's a choice I'm forced to address BECAUSE of their (the WS and the AP(s) ) choices.

I suppose one could argue that there may be distinguishing factors - namely the "cake eater" vs "exit" As. My WH is pure cake eater, so D was nowhere in my universe of thoughts re: our M, nor was it ever on my WH's agenda. So, "but for" my WH's As (and his APs' "roles" ), there is not a question in my mind that I would not be contemplating D today.

[This message edited by gmc94 at 1:09 PM, May 9th, 2020 (Saturday)]

josiep posted 5/10/2020 08:45 AM

IOW, as Thanksgiving said "but for" the A, divorce would not even be on the table.

But that's not a proven and you don't know that as a fact in anyone's situation but your own. And it's especially wrong to do in this situation where the AP had other partners, not just FDad. Who gets to decide that is was HIS actions that caused a divorce?

To place that onto other's is a form of judgment. And sitting in judgment of others is nothing more than a way to keep from looking at our own flaws and, perhaps, to say to ourelves, "oh good, at least I didn't do THAT."

If we extend the logic that many have used, it makes total sense to say "as least his AP can rest easy at night knowing she's not to blame for a divorce."

And to me, that's the crux of it all. Pride is one of the 7 deadly sins and when we believe that we have that much influence or power or control over another person's life choices, we're guilty of pride.

Just some food for thought. FDad took the blame and the heat for all the pain and suffering and agony his actions caused everyone and he's doing
his best to make amends. He said so, multiple times. So one has to wonder why it's so important to others that when he writes a list of things to feel guilty about that AP's divorce isn't one of them. Why does that matter to so many of you?

But, just for fun and games, let's say he comes back on here and says he believes he caused the divorce between AP and her BH. Then what? What does he do with that blame and guilt? He can't make amends in any way; he can't go back and change it. Does that change your lives? Does that change anyone's life?

More importantly, what advice or guidance could he give to other WS's about how to prevent their AP and BS from getting a divorce after the affair is discovered? So, really, in the end, what's the point?

Quite frankly, what I believe I'm watching is bullying. Picking apart his sentences and cherry-picking words and the attacking him and piling on. And when he tries to clarify, zap a little more. Until he realizes he's in a no-win situation and stops.

Meanwhile, no one is discussing the insight he was trying to share.

josiep posted 5/10/2020 08:53 AM

One more point: when FDad said his wife views the situation as a net positive, I took it to mean that the A was the thing that really blew up his life, that made him realize what and who he had become. It caused him to seek help, to quit drinking, to work on becoming a better man and because of that, their marriage might survive and that would be a good thing in her eyes. IOW, a "net positive."

You see, he word "net" means something and to argue honestly with his statement requires everyone to keep the words in context.

But regardless of how she views it, it's her opinion and no one has the right to stand in judgment of her for her opinion. If that's what she believes, that's what she believes.

josiep posted 5/10/2020 09:05 AM

OK, one more and then I'll stop.

..so if??... a man runs over and kills your family dog, he's not going to know or feel the emotional impact of that loss. He has no investment in the love and bond you share with your dog. He thinks that 'anyone' could have killed your dog.. He says he's sorry... and drives off!
You and your family are left with the pain and sorrow and tears. The man sheds no tears but...

Unbeknownst to you, he takes safe driving courses and never kills another dog. While he can't share your pain, he can take ownership of the need to be a better driver, and does!

somanyyears

Well said. But, if I may add to the concept:

Or, perhaps the driver begins a campaign to educate people to put up invisible fences so their dogs don't run in the street.

Or perhaps the driver begins a campaign to spay and neuter pets so they aren't out on the prowl during mating season.

*****************
Side story, skip if you like: When I was about 10 yrs. old, our family was on a long drive to my grandmother's house. We went around a curve on a country road and a dog ran in front of the car and my Dad hit it. Two little boys came running behind it and the parents came from the house which was on the other side of the road. My Dad was an honorable man and stopped, expressed condolences, etc. But I saw it happen and even at age 10, I could see that my Dad had no time to react or do anything differently. So, after a bit, we went on our way and none of us talked for the rest of the day or night, we all felt horrible about it.

When I was about 50, my Dad brought it up one day, saying how bad he felt that we were all so mad at him for hitting the dog. So then I felt horrible all over again because none of us were mad at him, we were just sad about the dog and the dog's family. But we never talked about it and he carried that guilt and pain for 40 yrs.

Talk to each other. Always.

Thanksgiving2016 posted 5/10/2020 10:25 AM

He contributed to the divorce make no doubt about it. Regardless of whether the BS knows about an affair or not an AP contributes to the negative mindset of a WS which in turn contributes to the negative state of a marriage. And if that marriage ends in divorce they had a hand in it.

[This message edited by Thanksgiving2016 at 10:31 AM, May 10th (Sunday)]

Stinger posted 5/10/2020 11:13 AM

Makes no sense to me: he cheated with some woman. Her husband found out and divorced. He has a major role in their marriage's demise. What, you think cheating with another man' wife was beneficial to their marriage.
You harmed this guy. He had done nothing to you yet you cheated with his wife.
All this crap that it could have been anyone has already been shown to be irrelevant. It was you.
Why can't you accept that your actions hurt someone else unnecessarily? Seems quite cowardly to me.

Zugzwang posted 5/10/2020 11:31 AM

let's say he comes back on here and says he believes he caused the divorce between AP and her BH. Then what? What does he do with that blame and guilt?

Lets say he does what many WS have done. Accepts that he influenced it. What he did to the OBS isn't incidental. He does what everyone here does. Accepts and owns it. He accepts the guilt and shame. Works through it. Learns from his actions and never does it again.

He can't make amends in any way; he can't go back and change it. Does that change your lives? Does that change anyone's life?
He can't go back and change it. True. Since you are Christian...he makes amends and repents by admitting guilt for the sin and never does it again. He could even apologize. He owns it. He doesn't deny it or gloss over it because he is afraid of sitting in a shame spiral since he thinks he can't own it.

To place that onto other's is a form of judgment. And sitting in judgment of others is nothing more than a way to keep from looking at our own flaws and, perhaps, to say to ourelves, "oh good, at least I didn't do THAT."
Since I don't believe in God, I don't have to worry about that. I personally don't think it is judgement to believe someone impacted a persons marriage by sleeping with their spouse. Especially since I did the same thing. It is just reality. I also don't think it is pride that has you believing you had influence because it is true. As many BS on here would attest. The AP wasn't special as a person. The role they played in fucking up the marriage was.


Just some food for thought. FDad took the blame and the heat for all the pain and suffering and agony his actions caused everyone and he's doing
his best to make amends. He said so, multiple times.
For the record that is NOT what he said. He said he was incidental. He did not clarify it for divorce in specific till several posts in. He clarified that up later and many many argued against. He as a person might be incidental. What he did was not.
As I said. I acknowledge that I played a role. And frankly I feel horrible that I took that role so willingly. But the important part to healing is to understand why I took that role not that I played it. The role itself that I played in their marriage had very little to do with me.
He did admit he played a role. We argued that part of healing was not to gloss over the role he played. We argued that he had no idea what the role was in the marriage. Many BS have said the OWS played a huge role in it. You say they don't and deny their truths.

More importantly, what advice or guidance could he give to other WS's about how to prevent their AP and BS from getting a divorce after the affair is discovered? So, really, in the end, what's the point?
Good God that isn't the point. The point is to own how you influenced someone elses life in a hurtful and cruel way that may have contributed to the breakdown of their marriage. Isn't owning your sins a big Christian thing? It isn't about changing what you did for them or preventing it. It is about acknowledging it. Which he didn't in the beginning of the post till everyone piled on to him.

Frankly, you aren't a WS...the advice you are giving to just gloss over the repercussions of your actions in order to just focus on you is reckless. We argued against the blamegame thing.

The blame game is a diversion from healing - as I said in the previous paragraph, the importance is to understand why and work to change that not to wallow in self pity because you did.
We are proof that you can assign responsibility for actions to intentionally hurt people and accept the outcome of your actions while still moving forward and working on you. It isn't an diversion. To do so doesn't mean you have to sit in a shame spiral. The implied here by you and him is that if you did since there isn't anything to change to accept guilt would mean you sit in some shame spiral and others said it simply isn't true. That true healing is accepting your role in breaking down a marriage.

Maybe what you saying holds true for him and his marriage. The AP has nothing to do with the breakdown of their marriage. We will take his word for it since his wife isn't here to express her opinions. Whatever. You and him have no right to say that the role an AP plays in theirs does not exist. He can't apply that to theirs. He doesn't know. You don't know. That is a truth for many others here. That is a thing that many have owned and still manage to work through their issues.

Really? You are comparing the cause and effect of your dad hitting a dog by accident to the intentional decision to come between someone elses marriage.

somanyyears posted 5/10/2020 13:42 PM


..I'm thinking..

FDad is the driver, kills the dog.. doesn't care about family's grief =BH . The dead dog is the dead (destroyed) marriage and the WW is the collateral damage... she let the dog OUT.

Might have gone off on my own tangent?

Sorry if I confused everybody!

smy

Buck posted 5/11/2020 16:04 PM

Josiep, I do see where you're coming from now. Correct me if I'm wrong, I think it boils down to fault vs responsibility. Fdad does bear some fault for causing another person's pain. He made deliberate choices that led to that pain. At least 50% of the fault is his, maybe more if he was the initial pursuer. He facilitated having an A with a woman he knew was married. Affairs just don't happen. Fdad, and every other WS here, myself included has to accept this fault.

That said, he is not responsible for how the BH (or AP) handled the fallout of his and her actions. The BH in this situation felt he was best served by divorce. That's perfectly acceptable. BH is responsible for his happiness and wellbeing.

I don't think the first post addresses this very well. It seemed to me to be someone absolving themselves of any fault because they aren't responsible for someone else's choices. It sucks, but fdad has to own that he did cause his BW, his AP, the OBS, and their children and extended family's pain. Yes, he had a meaningless fling that caused this pain, but he can't dismiss his role in it. It wasn't somebody else, it was him.

StrongerEvryday posted 5/11/2020 23:03 PM

I have been reading here since I learned of my WH affair in 2017. We are still married and working to R. His affair was with a friend of the family. A woman who knew me. Knew my kids. So thereís my backstory.

At the end of the day, my husband was 100% responsible for his choice to cheat. If it had not been her, it would have been someone else eventually. But it wasnít someone else. It was her. She was the one with the equally shitty boundaries who chose to play an active role in dropping a bomb into my life.

In the end, if we D, it will be because he stops doing to work necessary to be a safe partner. And in that regard, I agree with the OP, because that part has nothing to do with her. But that makes her no less culpable for the pain she caused me. She had no empathy for me, nor my children. Iíve never received an apology. (Admittedly, she is actively blocked in every way I can block her, but if she felt true remorse, she knows where I am). IMO, how can you truly grow and take the necessary ownership of your part in breaking another person? She may not be the ultimate person ďresponsibleĒ for whether my WH and I D, but she sure is responsible for her part in breaking me.

NeverTwice posted 5/12/2020 11:43 AM

While I agree with the gist of your post, I think the only true thing about an affair is the nuclear weapon it drops on everyone around the wayward.

When my girlfriend betrayed me my life spiraled down into chaos. The full gamut - rage, shame, humiliation...you name it. There was simply no way I could have reconciled with her.

But the silver lining was meeting my late husband (I just lost him to cancer 2 months ago) and having the most wonderful 32 years of my life with him.

And for her? Her AP cheated on her less than 3 months after we had broken up (I found out through mutual friends - I went NC immediately) and she wanted to try and get back together with me. No.Bloody.Way.

Infidelity scars everyone involved to some extent. But I do hope she got some help and has been able to lead a normal life. But I do not care enough to trouble myself finding out.

Peace...

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