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Movies that depicts well the struggle of an Affair

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Rideitout posted 12/8/2020 07:26 AM

Later, we see Benneke as the shallow, materialistic opportunist that he is. Weak-willed and short-sighted, he lacks gravitas and manliness and is really rather pathetic. It's one of the few shows/movies I've seen that unpeels the AP in this way.

I agree with Breaking Bad, it's the best analoge for what I see IRL, all these "powerful" "put together" men who are out cheating with women who think they are "the love of his life" when, in fact, they are basically just Benneke; shallow, materialistic opportunists. For every "yes" (Skylar) there are 100 "no, you creeps" to balance it out. How Sklar could feel "special" in that situation is beyond me, but, here it is, IRL, played out basically exactly like that in front of me. Mind boggling.

AboveAverage7913 posted 12/8/2020 09:26 AM

Everyone's favorite infidelity expert, Esther Perel (pronounced "peril") refers to a movie...

"I think back to a poignant scene in the movie A Walk on the Moon. Diane Lane’s character has been having an affair with a free-spirited blouse salesman. Her teenage daughter asks, “You love [him] more than all of us?” “No,” the mother replies, but “sometimes it’s easier to be different with a different person.”

I haven't seen the film, but it sounds like this bit of dialog captures an aspect of a WS's rationale effectively - as well as the hurt and incredulity of a family member.

sisoon posted 12/8/2020 09:44 AM

I haven't read Perel, but I'm watching extended interviews.

I think a lot of the antagonism to her, at least that which I've read on SI, comes from her defense of women and her attacks on double standards that place women in different positions than men.

Further, I hear her state clearly she has moral objections to infidelity, but she generally reports what she perceives without judging it. I think her perceptions are extremely likely to be accurate.

When she relates what WSes say about their As - for example, when she says many WSes say they feel alive in their As - I believe it. When she says we have to deal with As, well, we all know that's true.

If something she says or writes triggers you, your best bet is to understand what is getting triggered. Reality is filled with triggers. The solution is to work to resolve the triggers, not to reject reality.

[This message edited by sisoon at 9:47 AM, December 8th (Tuesday)]

Rideitout posted 12/8/2020 12:29 PM

Accurate, perhaps. But, man, if this is really what it's all about, well..

I've read "The State of Affairs". I can't say it wasn't accurate, but man, it's brutal. Let's say our general stance here that the "BS should not blame themselves" isn't something that rates high on Perel's view of the world. And, honestly, I often find myself agreeing with her, but still, it's brutal. I highly recommend people new in R skip it, you don't want to read it, and you absolutely do not want your WS reading it.

Perel:

One of the most uncomfortable truths about an affair is that what for Partner A may be an agonizing betrayal may be transformative for Partner B. Extramarital adventures are painful and destabilizing, but they can also be liberating and empowering. Understanding both sides is crucial, whether a couple chooses to end the relationship or intends to stay together, to rebuild and revitalize.

As I listen to her, I start to suspect that her affair is about neither her husband nor their relationship. Her story echoes a theme that has come up repeatedly in my work: affairs as a form of self-discovery, a quest for a new (or lost) identity. For these seekers, infidelity is less likely to be a symptom of a problem, and more likely an expansive experience that involves growth, exploration, and transformation.

However authentic the feelings of love, the dalliance was only ever meant to be a beautiful fiction.

If priya succeeds in ending the affair, and doing so with finality, a new dilemma will arise: Should she tell her husband, or should she keep her secret to herself? Could her marriage survive the pain of revelation? Could it continue with a lie undisclosed? I have no tidy answer to offer. I don’t condone deception, but I’ve also seen too many carelessly divulged secrets leave unfading scars. In many instances, however, I have helped couples work toward revelation, hopeful that it will open up new channels of communication for them.

DevastatedDee posted 12/8/2020 12:43 PM

Well yeah, I never imagined that my XWH drove to meet a nubile 20-something in a state of dread and weeping in despair. I expect he had a hard-on during the whole drive and had already masturbated several times in anticipation of the meeting. No part of me believes that he gave a shit about the pain or risk he was causing me while he was walking through the door to sleep with any of them. I absolutely believe that he was having a blast and that it was a fun hobby. Perel doesn't get a cookie for figuring this out. People enjoy sex with new people. No shit. Shocking revelation. Cheaters like cheating. Wow. Let's put this genius on TV.

MrCleanSlate posted 12/8/2020 13:08 PM

I'm surprised no one has mentioned The Sopranos.

Tony and Carmela fighting with their M disintegrating. Maybe Season 4 or 5....


Edit - I looked it up - "Whitecaps" episode. Both James and Edie won Emmy's for that one.


[This message edited by MrCleanSlate at 1:16 PM, December 8th (Tuesday)]

BentandBroken posted 12/8/2020 13:12 PM

I haven't read anything from Ester Perel except what has been posted on this forum. And now I understand why the SI community tends to see her work as hogwash.

For these seekers, infidelity is less likely to be a symptom of a problem, and more likely an expansive experience that involves growth, exploration, and transformation.

Complete nonsense. There are plenty of ways to experience growth, exploration and transformation that don't involve destroying your spouse, family, integrity, morals, and so on. The fact that infidelity is chosen as the path to "growth," as opposed to a dozen other healthy options, directly points to the fact that there's a problem.

Only broken people see infidelity as the answer to their "need for growth." To suggest otherwise normalizes this abhorrent behavior. I refuse to believe we live in a world where casual conversation might include, "Oh, have you seen Bob lately? He's grown so much since his affair - an amazing transformation, really. So kind, giving and self aware. Perhaps I should cheat on my spouse in order to better myself!"

Sorry. Obviously triggered.

Striver posted 12/8/2020 13:13 PM

RIO - thank you for those excerpts.

This site has no section for WS that are still in an A. There are places you can read that stuff. At times I have directed people there if I feel the conversation is drifting too much towards "poor, broken WS" territory.

Honestly, I equate cheating a lot towards eating fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Go to the sites where people are cheating, and there is a definite knowingness that is present in the conversations. I can't go there because I don't want to cheat on someone. But inside an A is a very real place nevertheless, no matter how hard this site tries to train WS into the correct way of thinking.

Eve ate from the tree. Adam can do so to, or refuse to do so. Then he needs to decide if he wants to stay with Eve anyway, or tell her to go away and ask God to try again.

I am D and I had no choice in the matter. Either D or R is no picnic for a BS. R often seems to require BS to alter their own perception of reality. I don't have that, but D can have wildly varying outcomes, from mild to severe. Many BS do not recover fully from the A, even if D. But none of that takes away the reality of what Perel is reporting.

DevastatedDee posted 12/8/2020 13:22 PM

I mean, yeah, I expect I could have an expansive experience that feels like it's leading to personal growth, exploration and transformation if I decided to indulge in a few illicit drugs. The consequences of that include job loss, family loss, maybe I even die of an overdose. Where are the books about how great it is to shoot heroin from the drug user's perspective?

Striver posted 12/8/2020 13:28 PM

Complete nonsense. There are plenty of ways to experience growth, exploration and transformation that don't involve destroying your spouse, family, integrity, morals, and so on. The fact that infidelity is chosen as the path to "growth," as opposed to a dozen other healthy options, directly points to the fact that there's a problem.

I am sorry you are triggered. Perel is simply reporting what these people are saying. I am D, so maybe it's easier for me to accept. Though I did not need to see much from my ex to understand what betrayal was. One incident was enough.

If someone embezzles a bunch of money and goes and lives on some island, and feels good and smug about their decision, well, that is what they feel. I do not justify it, and I would work against other people doing it. And maybe we should change society to actually punish such people more strenuously, given their attitude. But their attitude is honestly how they feel. Don't put blinders on.

If I die before my ex, maybe her and her new hubby will come and piss on my grave and have a good laugh about it. I can't control that, I need to find my peace elsewhere.

Rideitout posted 12/8/2020 13:45 PM

Well yeah, I never imagined that my XWH drove to meet a nubile 20-something in a state of dread and weeping in despair. I expect he had a hard-on during the whole drive and had already masturbated several times in anticipation of the meeting.

A heck of a lot more realistic, IMHO, than the "broken, hapless, deeply conflicted WS" image that's so often bandied about.

This site has no section for WS that are still in an A. There are places you can read that stuff. At times I have directed people there if I feel the conversation is drifting too much towards "poor, broken WS" territory.

Yes, thankfully there isn't such a section here. But, like you, I've read extensively on other sites and see, not "broken people" but people who are having a blast with their APs. The reports from those who haven't been caught yet is so starkly different from those who have been caught, it's really difficult to know what to believe. I will tell you, those I know IRL who have had A's or are having them look nothing like the wayward side on this forum (again, thank goodness).

I mean, yeah, I expect I could have an expansive experience that feels like it's leading to personal growth, exploration and transformation if I decided to indulge in a few illicit drugs. The consequences of that include job loss, family loss, maybe I even die of an overdose. Where are the books about how great it is to shoot heroin from the drug user's perspective?

Junkie by William S Burroughs. Actually a great book. ;) Doesn't make heroin use while your family goes hungry and you slowly die inside any more noble. And doesn't sugar coat the impossible wonderful feeling imparted, a feeling that no sober experience can possible replicate. One of my biggest fears about affair sex, I feel like there's no way to "compete" with that.

[This message edited by Rideitout at 1:49 PM, December 8th (Tuesday)]

gmc94 posted 12/8/2020 14:45 PM

Cooley2 - thanks for the post about the triggers of Dr Foster. I finished the 2nd season, which I found to be 5 episodes about the opposite of love NOT being hate, but indifference. The entire series has plenty to trigger about....

IMHO, the whole Esther Perel debate comes down to whether or not one sees infidelity as assault or fraud or something similar. One could simply insert the word "Fraud" with whatever she has to say.

There are tons of fraudsters that aren't necessarily in that "game" for the $ (although, like in Breaking Bad, it may begin with the rationalizations that allow the fraudster to initially engage). They experience the SAME things Perel describes (excitement, transformation, self discovery, new view of one's identity, etc).

But if we insert "fraud" or "theft" or "assault" or whatever, that normalization factor seems to shift, drastically in some ways.

And maybe, for me, that's where the rubber meets the road. While her brutal descriptions may be accurate, I find the entirety of her work has the effect of normalizing wayward behavior.

Awhile back I learned a friend of a friend (whom I'd met) is in prison for embezzling nearly $2m from her employer. The (now) felon was in her early 40s at discovery. She was very attractive, and made a decent salary (probably $60-80k/yr, as did her spouse) in an area where the average household income is ~$66k/yr). There was no Breaking Bad cancer, or anything of the like. She used the $ for some lavish living, but also put some in savings. In SI terms, I think we'd call her a "cake eater".

Her spouse and children have been destroyed, emotionally and financially. And while we could use the EXACT same terms Perel describes for the felon's "why" or what she got out of it (she was "empowered", for Heaven's sake! ), we don't. And I think we don't bc embezzling (or theft generally) is not normalized (despite pop culture items such as Les Miserables, as Jean Valjean only steals when starved... then spends the rest of his life making amends and helping others.... the same kind of stuff we expect from a WS).

And maybe this is why there seems to be pressure upon a BS to try and R with a cheater.... we humans LOVE a good story about redemption, whether it's "really" redemption...... or not.

While I doubt many folks would openly say in the mainstream that the Bernie Madoffs of the world "deserve" our trust or even are able to be redeemed, as the damage is just too great, it certainly feels to me that the "conventional wisdom" about adultery is the exact opposite, despite a reasonable amount of research (& anecdotal evidence), that it's harmful effects are often far far worse.


[This message edited by gmc94 at 2:50 PM, December 8th, 2020 (Tuesday)]

Ratpicker posted 12/9/2020 08:09 AM

I missed the first part of a 2020 movie, I sure hope I can find it to watch the entire movie. Hope Gap with Annette Bening. A woman learns her husband is leaving her after a 29 year long marriage - for another woman. So much of what she says as the BW mirrored how I felt.

sisoon posted 12/9/2020 09:56 AM

I think the debate about Esther Perel is due to the fact that some people trigger on what she reports and erroneously assumes she think all As are transformative.

In fact, she states plainly in her interviews that she does not.

The problem isn't Perel. It's WSes.

I highly recommend people new in R skip it, you don't want to read it, and you absolutely do not want your WS reading it.
Good point, RIO. In her interviews, you get a lot of non-verbals. In a book, all you get are the words, and some of those words ARE brutal.

*****

Perel hears from WSes of many types and at many stages of their lives. A WS in an A may talk about 'feeling alive' or 'being transformed' because of the A. A WS for whom she serves as IC or MC is likely to say something very different.

If the topic is 'what WSes say about their As', you'll include lots of what you hear. Reporting one's perceptions is different from saying that what you perceive is the way life should be.

SeventyFour posted 12/10/2020 11:58 AM

Thanks for all these good suggestions for movies.

Another good one is "Wildlife" (2018), based on an excellent 1990 novel of the same title by Richard Ford. It's available on Netflix.

The1stWife posted 12/10/2020 12:23 PM

The Undoing is well done. That’s all I’m saying.

High Grant really plays the cheating H to perfection. I guess after the Elizabeth Hurley scandal years ago he’s well versed in this role.

Westway posted 12/10/2020 14:26 PM

DevastatedDee

"Breaking Bad" has an infidelity theme woven through several seasons. Skyler White (Walt's wife) sleeps with Ted Benneke, her boss and the owner of a family company. When we first meet Ted, he seems handsome and wealthy and successful, and genuinely enamored of Skyler. Skyler, meanwhile, is angry and resentful toward her husband, Walt. She sleeps with Benneke and then rubs Walt's face in it.

I'm rewatching that series now (pandemic life, lol). It hits me how similar Walt's secret life is to an affair too and how it affects Skyler almost as if it was. The lies, the hiding, the not knowing where he is and not trusting him

But Skylar is no better than Walt. She acts disgusted with his new life yet she has no issues reaping the financial rewards of it. The only thing worse than a drug dealer is the parasites, like her, who live off him. She's a complete hypocrite.

DevastatedDee posted 12/10/2020 15:42 PM

But Skylar is no better than Walt. She acts disgusted with his new life yet she has no issues reaping the financial rewards of it. The only thing worse than a drug dealer is the parasites, like her, who live off him. She's a complete hypocrite.

Oh 1000%. She fell right into the world of lying and cheating. Her story isn't heroic either.

HeHadADoubleLife posted 12/10/2020 16:09 PM

I agree with The1stWife, the Undoing was great!

*Spoiler alert* Don't read any further unless you want to know the ending!!!

I love that they kept the suspense up until the bitter end... like all of the evidence stacked against him, he still insisted that there's no way he would do that. Played the pity card, so upset, how could anyone think he would do that to someone he loved??!! Much like what liars do in real life.

The way they spelled out how much he loved helping kids as a doctor, I was like yeah, uh huh, he loved how much they loved him. I kept thinking to myself, he's a grade A psychopath/narcissist. Of course he fucking did it.

And yeah, 1stWife, I'm sure HG's real world experience lent to a solid performance. I'm guessing NK's first marriage probably gave her some experience with the NPD, gaslighting, finding out your whole life was a lie, etc.

I do wish there had been a few more episodes to flesh out her experience with the betrayal trauma. It became all about the trial, which was also interesting, but ultimately still made the focus all about him. I love that she got her revenge in the end though with her testimony.

The1stWife posted 12/10/2020 16:35 PM

What I thought was interesting was at first she truly believed he was innocent. She had faith in him b/c she knew him. She really thought she knew him.

And it is true - just b/c you lie and cheat doesn’t mean you are a murderer.

But when he went on TV and said he loved and still loved the OW - I realized he was a jerk. A real jerk. Would disrespect his wife again and again after all she’s willing to do for him.

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