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Book: Cheating in a Nutshell: What Infidelity Does to the Victim

Pages: 1 · 2 · 3

Stinger posted 10/20/2020 14:25 PM

Trying to get the truth from some cheaters is impossible.

I always felt it was like riding in a car with someone who just farted. You know she did it. She knows she did it. And, she knows you know she did it. Still denial. It is nuts.

WhatsRight posted 10/20/2020 21:20 PM

Can I ask, then, backing (mostly) the premise of this book...how do you explain the successful R of the many couples on this site that have done so. Maybe most especially the founders of the site. ???

Not being argumentative. Clarifying, because words without voice inflection can be deceiving.

Thumos posted 10/21/2020 09:13 AM

The premise of the book is almost entirely to focus on the storm of emotions a BS experiences and to examine where those emotions actually come from and why. It is a pretty detailed examination and that really makes up 90 percent of the book.

The authors do conclude that, in most cases, divorce seems probably the best (or fastest) healing scenario (or at the very least a 30-90 therapeutic separation should happen).

I think if their recommendation for a 30-90 separation were followed, probably we might see more clarity for most BS’s.

based on what I’ve read for the past year that I’ve been a member here, in most reconciliation attempts BS’s find that their strong moral emotions, triggering and cognitive dissonance do not go away but rather they are able to somewhat dampen these and that the relationship is permanently altered.

I’ve inquired multiple times here on SI as to how this is “stronger and better” and usually the reply is a list of items in a new relationship that one should reasonably expect in ANY relationship — let alone one scarred by betrayal.

In other words there doesn’t seem to be an additive quality to reconciliation as far as I can tell. The relationship may be “healed” but I guess my bar is pretty high for what that should look like after the toxic abuse of adultery. It just doesn’t seem to rise to the level of expectation, at least to me.

And in my own experience, I know the relationship has been “less than” with my WW scrambling around doing so many things to try to stop the bleeding (while also still holding on to wayward patterns and a fundamental lack of transparency).

I get the feeling when people like me show up and report things aren’t going so well, the standard reply is “you’re doing it wrong” or “well maybe you are just not a good candidate for reconciliation” as if there’s something deficient in the BS or we are hard hearted or stubborn or not forgiving enough.

Instead of asking whether one can successfully choke down the proverbial shit sandwich, maybe we should be asking instead whether the WS is by their very nature the actual shit sandwich — and no amount of pretzel logic is going to fix that.

There don’t seem to be many good stats, but it seems reasonable to assume that after infidelity, a plurality of marriages end after some period of time (which would line up with divorce stats).

I’m only guessing but I wouldn’t be surprised if most reconciliation attempts fail at the 5-10 year mark as a BS begins to think really clearly and decides the shit sandwich is pretty fucking disgusting.

or we see the well known phenomenon of a BS showing up here on SI decades later filled with regret that they tried to reconcile (even with a remorseful spouse).

It does seem that more often *happy* reconciliations seem to involve BW’s rather than BH’s. I’m generalizing but that is just my take based on what I read here on SI.

WhatsRight, I’m curious about your take. What do you think?

[This message edited by Thumos at 3:28 PM, October 21st (Wednesday)]

inthedarkness posted 10/21/2020 13:49 PM

Can I ask, then, backing (mostly) the premise of this book...how do you explain the successful R of the many couples on this site that have done so. Maybe most especially the founders of the site. ???

IDK, do you think there are that many success stories on this site? I see plenty of marriages that are still in tact and some consider themselves to have reconciled but I'm not sure how often the latter is true. Perhaps we have different definitions of what reconciliation looks like? Even those who feel they are doing well seem to have issues from time to time.

As to Thumos' point regarding BW vs BH reconciliations - from what I've read, statistically women seem to "forgive" more easily than men as far as adultery goes. Also more women than men seem to be on this site so perhaps that's also part of his assessment.

Thumos posted 10/21/2020 22:16 PM

As to Thumos' point regarding BW vs BH reconciliations - from what I've read, statistically women seem to "forgive" more easily than men as far as adultery goes.

I wonder why this is? I agree this is the case. I don't have a rational thought process as to why this, however.

Tripletrouble posted 10/22/2020 00:43 AM

I’m pretty far out from having made my decision but I am still intrigued by this book. Is there any discussion of the trauma impacting the BS even after leaving the relationship?

I think one of the reasons women are more likely to stay, statistically speaking, has less to do with forgiveness and more to do with economic impact. It is more common for women to be a SAHM or home school, or have reduced earning power from years out of the work force related to child rearing.

Thumos posted 10/22/2020 12:16 PM

Is there any discussion of the trauma impacting the BS even after leaving the relationship?

Yes but the authors conclude that trauma heals more quickly if the faithful partner is away from the fountainhead of their pain, the unfaithful spouse.

They use a great analogy of a shell shocked soldier. Only the deliberately cruel would insist that a shell shocked soldier be returned to the front. Only the sadistic would insist based on a piece of paper (their enlistment orders).

DevastatedDee posted 10/22/2020 16:44 PM

I wonder why this is? I agree this is the case. I don't have a rational thought process as to why this, however.

Not the first fucking clue, lol. I didn't fall into that generalization for sure.

DevastatedDee posted 10/22/2020 16:48 PM

Yes but the authors conclude that trauma heals more quickly if the faithful partner is away from the fountainhead of their pain, the unfaithful spouse.

My healing grew by leaps and bounds the moment I never had to see my XWH again and could build a life that didn't involve him. There were still triggers for a while like going to the town we lived in or seeing prostitutes, adultery or drug addiction on TV. Those triggers are gone now. They were gone about 6 months after I left. I'm a little over 3 years out and I'd say I'm pretty darned healed. Changed, sure, but I'm not suffering anymore at all over it.

Removing myself from the "scene of the crime" and the person who committed it was the #1 healing thing for me.

DevastatedDee posted 10/22/2020 16:52 PM

I get the feeling when people like me show up and report things aren’t going so well, the standard reply is “you’re doing it wrong” or “well maybe you are just not a good candidate for reconciliation” as if there’s something deficient in the BS or we are hard hearted or stubborn or not forgiving enough.

To be fair, I am not a good candidate for reconciliation. I don't have what it takes to do what people in R do. I don't have the patience nor the forgiving nature for it. I have excess pride that doesn't go well with what needs to be done on the BS side. I think that there are good Rs that I would never be happy with partly because of who I am and how my mind works.

crazyblindsided posted 10/23/2020 16:13 PM

To be fair, I am not a good candidate for reconciliation. I don't have what it takes to do what people in R do. I don't have the patience nor the forgiving nature for it. I have excess pride that doesn't go well with what needs to be done on the BS side. I think that there are good Rs that I would never be happy with partly because of who I am and how my mind works.

I feel like I have the same personality. Even if my STBX was remorseful I'm not sure I would have healed. I'm a grudge holder and that doesn't bode well for R

I'm definitely planning on reading this book over the weekend. Just reading through this thread confirms my own feelings about infidelity.

Thumos posted 10/23/2020 16:25 PM

I think you guys need to stop guilting yourself and giving yourselves such a burden with all of this "I'm not a good fit for reconciliation" or "I hold a grudge" stuff.

Maybe it's true, but if it is, it's only PARTIALLY true.

I mean, how do we know that a scientist might not discover a few years from now that certain people's brains just have a strong disposition for not accepting injustice?

This seems to be where brain science is leaning in any case.

This would not make you a grudge holder, but rather a person predisposed to be among those who have always made positive changes in society through their courage and singular moral clarity.

And maybe you're just not going to put up with any equivocating bullshit or nonsense when someone has taken an intentional, abusive and transgressive act against you that is considered among the most toxic things a human can do to another human in almost every culture on the planet, past and present.

Maybe that's the case?

And if it is, it just makes you a damn strong person who is unbowed, unbroken and unwilling to bend a knee to anyone.

And I'll say here what I've said elsewhere on SI repeatedly: We need to collectively STOP conflating forgiveness with reconciliation. Sure, forgiveness is required for a successful reconciliation. But they are two separate things. You can forgive and reconcile. You can forgive and divorce. Forgiveness does not, however, REQUIRE reconciliation alongside it.

[This message edited by Thumos at 4:28 PM, October 23rd (Friday)]

DevastatedDee posted 10/23/2020 19:27 PM

Thumos, I'll accept your description because it's awfully complimentary.

I'll take "unbowed, unbroken and unwilling to bend a knee to anyone" over my "excess pride" explanation.

I just can't get interested in forgiveness anyway, so I dropped that from my to do list a while back.

[This message edited by DevastatedDee at 7:27 PM, October 23rd (Friday)]

GuyInPain posted 10/24/2020 06:19 AM

Good questions are being raised in this thread about the reality & viability of reconciliation. As I say in my profile, I've found that reconciliation is an incremental process & I expect it to continue through the rest of my life – both lots of progress along the way and reconciliation never quite complete. Which is to say that there are some things in life we never get over, but we learn to carry them differently.

My fWW & I are reconciled in lots of ways, yet issues continue to come up around her adultery & we need to work through them. And I'm glad to say that just this week yet more progress has been made.

Skeptics in this thread are right to question claims of complete reconciliation. After all, none of us would be still visiting SI if everything were completely healed. But that doesn't mean that claims of partial reconciliation are delusional. It's a journey toward a destination. In my experience, it's a journey worth undertaking.

Also interesting is the question of the differential between men & women in forgiving & reconciling. It seems to me that there are twice as many women as there are men on SI, but that does not mean that women are more interested in forgiving & reconciling than men, but only that women are more likely to go on support sites. Yes, it's true that for some women financial issues make it more likely that they will stay in an unresolved marriage situation where they are betrayed. But in today's economy the employment situation between men & women is closer to parity than ever before, so financial dependence may not be as crucial as it once was.

Significantly, 70% of divorces are initiated by women. Given that women's rates of adultery are fairly close to men's rates of adultery now, I think it's possible that women are actually more intolerant of a partner's adultery than men are today. I think of the adultery case of former Nashville mayor Megan Barry: her husband Bruce is still with her, whereas the wife of her affair partner started divorce proceedings within two weeks of the adultery becoming public.

GuyInPain posted 10/24/2020 08:08 AM

Just a footnote on the 70% of divorces as initiated by women: Obviously, adultery is far from the only reason people divorce, for there is sheer incompatibility, physical abuse & so on. Yet we do know that about half or more than half of men cheat & that close to half of women cheat & that infidelity plays a substantial role in many divorces. So it's quite possible that more men stay in a marriage after a spouse's cheating than women do. Also, as I've noted in posts on other threads – & as Esther Perel points out – society today is a good deal more sympathetic to women's adultery than it is to men's adultery.

Thumos posted 11/2/2020 10:53 AM

Just a footnote on the 70% of divorces as initiated by women: Obviously, adultery is far from the only reason people divorce, for there is sheer incompatibility, physical abuse & so on. Yet we do know that about half or more than half of men cheat & that close to half of women cheat & that infidelity plays a substantial role in many divorces. So it's quite possible that more men stay in a marriage after a spouse's cheating than women do. Also, as I've noted in posts on other threads – & as Esther Perel points out – society today is a good deal more sympathetic to women's adultery than it is to men's adultery.

Really good food for thought. I've made the same point elsewhere and it usually gets turned into a gender flamewar. Yet's it true that:

-Women are now essentially at parity with men for infidelity

-Women initiate more than 70 percent of divorces

-Women's infidelity tends to be valorized in pop culture and in bestselling books

I didn't know that Perel actually points out the unfortunate trend of glamorizing female infidelity. Good for her!

Ariopolis posted 11/3/2020 12:03 PM

May I ask what COW, MOW and MH-RA mean? Thank you.

Thumos posted 11/3/2020 14:56 PM

You can go to the glossary of abbreviations here on the Surviving Infidelity website. It's not that everyone is trying to adopt a secret language, it's that everyone gets tired of typing out the lengthier descriptions over and over. So....

COW - coworker (common type of affair)

MOW - married other woman (other married people are common "AP's" - affair partner - bc of the mutually assured destruction). Sometimes this is also "maybe other woman"

MH - RA - "madhatter" and "revenge affair"

Madhatters are those couples were both spouses have been unfaithful at various times. So they are both betrayed and unfaithful (wayward) wearing both "hats" and falling down the rabbit hole. Thus the term.

Revenge affair is pretty obvious; it's when a previously faithful spouse has a revenge affair as a way of "balancing the scales." It rarely works and tends to simply create more problems.

steadychevy posted 11/7/2020 06:54 AM

I don't know where you get the numbers of half or over half of the men cheat and half of the women, GuyInPain. The latest stats I've seen in between 20 and 25 percent of men cheat and something a little under 20 percent of women. I think that is from the latest General Social Survey (not sure that's the right name). Still to many. It seems the percentage of men is falling and the percentage of women is rising.

I Don't care at all for Esther Perel. I think she's right on this one thing, though, that society is more sympathetic about women committing adultery.

I have observed it and felt it. There are still enough of the population out there who think a man who cheats is a cad, a shit, a piece of crap and where the woman cheats her husband must have been a cad, a shit and a piece of crap in order to force her to do that.

gmc94 posted 11/7/2020 12:01 PM

Just gonna give the women's perspective on how society views cheaters.....

I think it's pretty much equally fucked for the BS, whether the BS is male or female. I've seen PLENTY of men basically egging on other men to cheat (has ANYONE ever been in a "strip" or "dance" club???? I can't tell you how many so-called "Christians" are perfectly OK getting lap dances or putting the family's food $ into some strange g-string)

And in my personal experience, I've known far far far more male cheaters than women (but that is probably just bc of the male dominated industry in which I work, so the "pool" is certainly not representative). I have never met or known a woman encouraging or accepting cheating by another woman. One of my BFFs was a WW about 15-20 yrs ago (her AP was single), and I read her the riot act at the time. There was no "you go girl". After dday, one of my friends (who doesn't know about my WH's extramarital activities) told me her niece was sleeping with a MM and my friend was having the "couple" to her home for drinks. I read her the fucking riot act in a big way.

Anecdotal? Sure.

Yet I'll stand by the idea that infidelity has been accepted and normalized by both men & women. Of COURSE any BS will feel that their situation is somehow worse than those of a different gender. But that don't make it so.

BS' are routinely met with bullshit responses from folks who have never experienced infidelity.... we were somehow deficient bc otherwise our spouses would not have sought sex elsewhere is the most common. I've spent a LOT of years working in divorce, and heard more than one judge tell a BS bringing up infidelity as the basis for a D say "it takes two to tango" (and they are not talking about the WS and the AP), and I've seen WW's get the short shrift in the D far far far far more than I've seen WH's get it. Again, anecdotal and my personal experience (tho every divorce in which I was involved has included both a man & a woman and - again IME - both male & female judges have been harsher on cheating wives than cheating husbands).

And finally, I don't care if Esther Perel is personally building a landing pad for the second coming of Christ.... she's a wayward apologist who is full of shit.

[This message edited by gmc94 at 12:08 PM, November 7th, 2020 (Saturday)]

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