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Reconciliation :
Any Serial Survivors Out There?

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 MegMeg (original poster member #79978) posted at 2:51 AM on Wednesday, June 15th, 2022

WH and I are attempting recovery but I have my doubts. I read so many stories here on SI and wonder if there are any survivors of repetitive, serial infidelity lasting many years? Is it ever possible for a marriage to truly recover or heal from this type of betrayal? I would like to know how others have dealt with this.

Me: BS | Him: WS | Children: Grown | Married: 36 years

posts: 51   ·   registered: Feb. 20th, 2022   ·   location: Pulling myself out of the mire
id 8740268
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The1stWife ( member #58832) posted at 3:21 AM on Wednesday, June 15th, 2022

Two very close friends were both married to serial cheating men.

The only option they had was to Divorce.

The cheaters had no intention of changing, only hiding the affairs to appear monogamous.

What is the serial cheater you are with doing to make amends and repair the damage?

What are your boundaries and requirements going forward?

What are the consequences if there is a future incident of cheating?

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled.

posts: 12339   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
id 8740270
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 MegMeg (original poster member #79978) posted at 1:21 PM on Wednesday, June 15th, 2022

My WH has been mostly very attentive and helpful towards me since DDay 5 months ago. We saw a MC for several expensive sessions but neither of us found it helpful as the infidelity was not addressed. He and I have discussed the affairs, general timelines, the possible reasons, etc. but it's almost a closed topic now. Though always on my mind, I try not to make it the central theme of our life. WH is certainly not bring it up. We are cordial and considerate. He now face-times me when away to let me know he is where he says he is. I've asked for and received a post-nuptial agreement and recently asked for a "post mortem" of our marriage: Where were we when it all began? Why did it continue? how did you feel? etc., It's an idea It's from the Shirley Glass book. He's agreed to start working on this with me.

My life has been consumed with this betrayal: reading books and blogs and SI, with hardly a free moment for any other thought. It's affecting my work and concentration in general. Meanwhile, WH has read the one book placed in his hands, has been attentive, thoughtful and kind. Though he has apologized , I feel he's shown little true remorse. Bad sign, I know. WH would go to IC if I insisted but not on his own. I pointed out that he could be broken in some way but I don't think he believes this to be the case. Most his R efforts have been solicited, like the book, MC, and post-nup though his acts of service have been voluntary. He doesn't seems to notice the giant, white elephant sitting in the room with us, sleeping in our bed, smothering me.

I have not set boundaries because I don't know where to start or how to enforce them. Though, he knows the marriage is over should I find further infidelity. While I have his phone and our bank account passwords, they don't tell me much. He is a consultant with many contacts. He has duped me for years, he can do it again. I am fighting the pull to be the marriage police. Is this a necessary step to recovery, to peace?

Thanks for the input.

Me: BS | Him: WS | Children: Grown | Married: 36 years

posts: 51   ·   registered: Feb. 20th, 2022   ·   location: Pulling myself out of the mire
id 8740303
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Catwoman ( member #1330) posted at 1:56 PM on Wednesday, June 15th, 2022

We saw a MC for several expensive sessions but neither of us found it helpful as the infidelity was not addressed.

The marriage is not the problem; his cheating is the problem. You would both be better to get into Individual Counseling (IC) vs. MC at this point. And an MC that doesn't address the infidelity? Odd. Very odd.

He and I have discussed the affairs, general timelines, the possible reasons, etc. but it's almost a closed topic now.

The two of you are rug-sweeping and this is pretty much guaranteed to result in more affairs. You have to address the elephant in the room, and he has to take complete and 100% responsibility for his decisions. You have to discuss the affair and this is usually only productive once he has taken complete responsibility for his choices.

Serial cheaters are their own unique breed. They are often deceitful in other parts of their lives, like lying to others, exaggerating accomplishments, cheating on their taxes, fudging expense reports . . . you get the picture. Addressing the adultery has to be part and parcel of addressing the habitual deceit. And that's a pretty tall order for someone who has been deceitful in other parts of their lives.

Personally? My experience has been that they don't change because they don't WANT to change. They LIKE doing this. They ENJOY cheating, be in the thrill of the illicit, the "getting away with something" in a marriage or having a double life. I would see an attorney and figure out what a divorce might look like for you. Even if you don't divorce, you need information and this sort of information is power.

I would also suggest reading James Dobson's Love Must Be Tough. It's a really good book about drawing your boundaries with someone who ignores them.

You're not in reconciliation, sorry to say. You're pretending it didn't happen or if it did, it will go away. This isn't healthy.

Cat

FBS: Married 20 years, 2 daughters 27 and 24. Divorced by the grace of GOD.
D-Days: 2/23/93; 10/11/97; 3/5/03
Ex & OW Broke up 12-10
"An erection does not count as personal growth."

posts: 33095   ·   registered: Apr. 5th, 2003   ·   location: Massachusetts
id 8740306
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zebra25 ( member #29431) posted at 2:17 PM on Wednesday, June 15th, 2022

It sounds like he is trying to rug sweep. You need to be able to discuss the A and your feelings about it as much as you want in order to process what happened and heal.

He should be more proactive with figuring out why he cheats and how he plans to change.

Having access to things is good but as you pointed out it's no guarantee that he isn't cheating or you will catch him if he is. I had access to everything when my H had his A. He put OW in his contacts under a different name and erased their call and text history. I had no reason to look through his phone unless I was borrowing it.

Whether or not you want to be the marriage police is up to you. I rarely look at his phone. There are so many ways to hide things that I just don't want to waste my time on that.

From what I have seen here not many serial cheaters change. They have to want to. That is up to him

I'm so sorry you are in this situation.

"Don't let anyone who hasn't been in your shoes tell you how to tie your laces."

D-day April 2010

posts: 2876   ·   registered: Aug. 25th, 2010
id 8740308
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RaggedyAnne ( new member #78800) posted at 2:32 PM on Wednesday, June 15th, 2022

Meg,
I am right there with you and have my doubts too.
My H had one affair that I knew about in the 90s that I he confessed to back then. He also had multiple ONS in the 90s that I just learned about last year when he confessed. In 2020 he was being inappropriate on social media with two women. I caught him with one and he confessed to the other. The one he confessed to on social media was also one of the ONS in the 90s. We have been together since we were teenagers, 34 years. I don't know how to do life with or without him.
My H is checking all of the proper recovery boxes. He has changed his life completely. He accepts 100% responsibility for his actions, is remorseful, no longer uses substances or alcohol, he is patient and kind, he has been in IC for a year, deleted all social media, is transparent with electronics and whereabouts (actually he rarely goes any place), he is now 100% focused on me, our marriage, our grown children, and grandchildren. My children know and they see the difference in their dad. He puts all of us before himself and vows to spend the rest of our years making this up to me.
As things are today if it weren't for all of this stuff, I really would have the best husband and marriage I possibly could have.
BUT....how do I put all of his past actions aside and love him the way healthy spouses should? How do I ever trust that when no one is looking he is being an honorable man? How do I ever have a healthy sexual relationship with him again? How do I "get over" all of these acts and the years and years of deceit? I just don't know! But yet here we are getting so close to retirement age and pulling the rug out from all of what we have worked for all these years seems foolish to do too. I read, I am in counseling but none of it seems to help get me to a place of deciding what is best for me all the way around.
I hope someone has the answers as I sure don't. But know that you are not alone in your struggles.

posts: 43   ·   registered: May. 15th, 2021
id 8740311
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 4:55 PM on Wednesday, June 15th, 2022

Look at SI's history, and consider the staff.

A WS's past is of less moment than what the WS wants their future to be. If a person hits their rock bottom (thanks for the metaphor, n&d) and decides to redeem themself, they are good candidates for R. My guess is that serial cheaters generally don't let themselves hit rock bottom and that their BSes are less inclined to R, once they decide not to accept being betrayed again. So I expect that we don't have a lot of members who have R'ed when serial cheating has taken place.

But I could name at least 3 current and former staff members who R'ed after serial cheating.

I don't think they avoided discussing the As, though. I believe they addressed them in detail. The BSes expressed feelings, set boundaries, demanded change from their WSes. The WSes took full responsibility for their As, answered all questions, stopped lying. They all became authentic.

The more authentic partners are, the better R goes. Holding in your questions, thoughts, feelings is the opposite of being authentic.

I suggest not making R your goal. Instead, make your goal something like, 'Finding out if we're a good enough fit to grow old together.'

SI is about surviving and thriving, not about D or R.

fBH (me) - on d-day: 66, Married 43, together 45, same sex ap
DDay - 12/22/2010
Recover'd and R'ed
You don't have to like your boundaries. You just have to set and enforce them.

posts: 27435   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8740332
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 MegMeg (original poster member #79978) posted at 2:17 PM on Thursday, June 16th, 2022

Thank you all. These are wise words and they give me ideas and cause for hope. Cat, I started reading Love Must Be Tough last night on my Kindle. To all, yes, the ease of rug sweeping is a problem for me but so is drama of " trickle questions". There’s got to be a healthy balance. (Nobody could tolerate the incessant questions, and worse, the snarky thoughts that pop into my head. My filter is set on high to keep my mouth from picking a battle. If only I could filter my brain - but that’s another topic.) The collective suggestions to address the affair strengthens my goal to press for the written analysis of our marriage where I hope we can both learn from the timeline and more of where his head was/is, and mine too.

The more authentic partners are, the better R goes. Holding in your questions, thoughts, feelings is the opposite of being authentic.

I like this, Sisoon. Being more authentic is something I can work on - minus the snarky bits because that serves nothing - I wish the mind bitterness would go away! But maybe that's why I'm holding back on A discussions, because I feel so angry and bitter. I hate this feeling. I don't know if I even love him, knowing the truth, or that we ever loved each other. It was all an illusion. I mean, I have to keep reminding myself of his authentic self. He didn't just do a bad thing. He has a rotten spot in his core, in his very being. We've lived a lie for so long it's hard to know what is real and what was pretend. Do I just spill all that? Or is this just a pissy phase I'm in and I'll be more able to wisely communicate later.? At least the anger and bitterness keeps the tears away.

But yes, I want to thrive, not just survive, with or without him. But mostly with him. Maybe. Like RaggedyAnne said, "I don't know how to do life with him or without him."

I've rambled. Being here is the worst, all of us having devoted most of our lives to one person, and then this. But you're here and I thank you for sharing the wisdom learned from your pain.

Me: BS | Him: WS | Children: Grown | Married: 36 years

posts: 51   ·   registered: Feb. 20th, 2022   ·   location: Pulling myself out of the mire
id 8740444
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morningglory ( member #80236) posted at 5:53 PM on Thursday, June 16th, 2022

My WW cheated multiple times, with those times separated by years. After the first I was where you are. He was sorry, he wanted me back, he gave electronic transparency, he read a book I gave him, and that was about it. That was rugsweeping, not reconciliation, I understand now. He cheated again later on and it ended things. The second cheating was worse: gaslighting, devaluation, etc. By the end of that there was nothing between us left to save. I wish I'd left him after he cheated the first time.

If you stay, be sure to get regular STD tests.

posts: 454   ·   registered: Apr. 15th, 2022
id 8740472
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TheEnd ( member #72213) posted at 10:36 PM on Thursday, June 16th, 2022

I don't have a serial but kind of... he told me he ended it and put me through false R for another 2.5 years. Years.

I do think anyone can change if they want to. Anyone. But THEY have to want to.

Your WS has gotten away with it for so long with very little cost to himself. It's hard to see why he would be motivated to truly change. He can do things you ask him to but that won't lead to real change. That's him being a good boy until you're not upset anymore.

I'll tell you the best thing I've done since Dday 2. I stopped trying to be reasonable about any of it.

I
DID
NOT
FILTER
MYSELF

No more editing. No more "how should I approach this to get the best response here?". No more. If you think about it, that is your way of trying to control him and the outcome. It's not authentic. It's not honest. It's manipulative actually. And it does not show him what he has done, how it affects you and how very, very serious this is.

You're in pain? Tell him. Tell him how hard he has hurt you, how much it sucks and how you cannot believe a man could do this to a woman he is supposed to love and protect. You're angry? Tell him. Tell him your pissed off that he's wasted years of your life with his lies. You're furious that he has treated you like some pawn in his life with no respect for you as a human being. You're not sure how you feel about him? Tell him. Tell him that you're finding it difficult to respect and love someone who could do this harm to you.

I'm not suggesting winging frying pans at his head or bitter snark when he asks if you brought home milk. I'm talking about feeling your feelings and expressing them. For no other purpose than to get that poison out of you and to let your partner know exactly where you are at. He made the shit pie, tell him to grab a fork because you aren't eating it alone. This is part of holding him accountable.

There are probably a hundred other things that would help your marriage, but I feel very strongly that editing yourself and eating your feelings will only further erode it.

posts: 211   ·   registered: Dec. 3rd, 2019
id 8740520
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number4 ( member #62204) posted at 11:18 PM on Thursday, June 16th, 2022

My H was a serial cheater, except I only had two Days. First one was after the first affair had been over for a couple of months (she quit him because she got engaged! Ha!). Second time I found out about the last three, who really did not overlap each other - but it was a trickle truth. While I know trickle truth is awful, honestly (and I've told my therapist this several times), had he laid everything on me on that day, I would have left him despite his agreeing to go into IC. We were in the middle of hysterical bonding, and I didn't want to break up our family. On that second occasion (when I thought there was only one person, who was just an emotional affair) I kicked him out because I had been through this many years earlier. I contacted a divorce attorney, and felt the most liberated I'd ever felt in my life, knowing he would never agree to any kind of therapy. Well, I was wrong - on his own fruition, he contacted our couple's therapist (we'd been seeing for five years) and wanted as many sessions with her as he could get that week. Even that didn't sway me; I was done. But after he met with her, she called me, and said she thought he was really finally willing to put in the work on himself that he'd never been willing to do. So I opened the door to possible reconciliation, dependent on what I saw his actions would be. And he lived up to them - getting into therapy right away. Several months later he checked into a residential treatment center that helps people address their childhood wounds, which I KNEW he needed to do - two awful alcoholic parents. He continued to do that work alone, and share what he's learning about himself with me.

But he stopped rug-sweeping after the last little bit of trickle truth came out. That was the only thing that allowed us to move forward.

BTW... what kind of couple's therapist, knowing there was infidelity, doesn't address it in therapy sessions????

[This message edited by number4 at 11:18 PM, Thursday, June 16th]

Me: BW
Him: WH
Married - 30+ years
Two adult daughters
1st affair: 2005-2007
2nd-4th affairs: 2016-2017
Many assessments/polygraph: no sex addiction
Status: R

posts: 1032   ·   registered: Jan. 10th, 2018   ·   location: Southern California
id 8740527
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 MegMeg (original poster member #79978) posted at 12:24 PM on Friday, June 17th, 2022

BTW... what kind of couple's therapist, knowing there was infidelity, doesn't address it in therapy sessions????

An overpriced one. Duped again! From now on I'm following the general advice from so many SI posts - IC is needed before MC. My therapist has been helpful. WH says he'll do anything to save our marriage though he doesn't want to discuss his dirty laundry with a stranger. He doesn't see the value. Seems to me that preventing the loss of a marriage and half one's worldly goods has value.

I
DID
NOT
FILTER
MYSELF

No more editing. No more "how should I approach this to get the best response here?". No more. If you think about it, that is your way of trying to control him and the outcome. It's not authentic. It's not honest. It's manipulative actually. And it does not show him what he has done, how it affects you and how very, very serious this is.

You're right - I am withholding valuable information. It's going to be a helluva weekend.....

Me: BS | Him: WS | Children: Grown | Married: 36 years

posts: 51   ·   registered: Feb. 20th, 2022   ·   location: Pulling myself out of the mire
id 8740589
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Edie ( member #26133) posted at 3:06 PM on Sunday, June 19th, 2022

WH says he'll do anything to save our marriage though he doesn't want to discuss his dirty laundry with a stranger.

One has to assume he has poor self esteem and/or poor self respect to have got to this mess in the first place so I guess talking to a stranger is quite a scary prospect. Now is his chance to become the best version of himself possible, to find out how he arrived at now etc, regardless whether you stay with him. Therapy is a good way to begin that process, although I understand his fears about talking to a stranger. It takes courage, the courage and humility to accept your imperfections amongst many other things.

My WH did a few sessions, maybe about 4, at my suggestion, but also because he wanted help to figure out the disjunction between his sense of himself being a good person, and the lying and the cheating. ‘What she doesn’t know can’t harm her’ had been the band aid he used to keep his scaffolding of beliefs and values relatively intact, neatly boxed away and compartmentalised, until the whole Pandora’s box burst open and he HAD to look more closely at a lot of things. But I was making a choice between two men, the lying cheating not whole one, and the one he wanted to be…and was prepared to take a risk on the latter but needed to see that growth and self investigation. But did not need it to be done by lengthy sessions with a therapist - I wanted his self growth to be self initiated largely rather than me becoming any kind of parental figure.

I too could have eviscerated him with language. So I took that anger into the swimming pool instead and expended it there doing many fast lengths (and getting fit to boot). This allowed me to be able to have calm conversations in a relatively safe space for him to reveal all the information I needed. Not to say I wasn’t angry with him but I expressed it with the edge taken off. I also journalled a lot and that was a very useful space for working through anger to the feelings underneath. And I encourage you to do the same because resentment and bitterness only hurt you and there are many other emotions lurking beneath them that are good to recognise and process.

And that is how I found out he had been a serial philanderer. Through calm conversations. With a full timeline and details of all the OWs.

We are still together and are very happy, it’s an extremely strong relationship and friendship, ( but we know we always loved each other). If you are not sure either of you love each other then I echo the advice above and encourage you to both seek therapy individually and once you have both done that to then enter marriage counselling. I would also encourage you to do a version of the 180, which is about turning your focus entirely on to you and figure out what you want from life and I really encourage you to face outward from the marriage as well, take up new activities, friendships, causes; this is the opportunity for you to become the best version of you possible as well. If he is not able to keep up with that growth and self awareness, then you will have some clarity.

Love is mainly a verb. Your WH’s actions now are what count. Words can be very cheap.

[This message edited by Edie at 3:10 PM, Sunday, June 19th]

Maybe a long walk in the Hindu Kush would do it?
BW (me) 52
FWS 55
Together 29 years; 2 kids 15 & 12
Dday Dec 08 (confessed) R'd.

posts: 6398   ·   registered: Nov. 9th, 2009   ·   location: Europe
id 8740904
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FamilyMan75 ( member #65715) posted at 4:45 PM on Sunday, June 19th, 2022

My was a serial cheater. She had cheated before and after marriage, and even the night before our wedding. She was a good wife in a lot of ways, but she dealt with a lot of self-worth, and emotional and mental health issues. Her last affair ended in 2018. It took a separation which ironically was initiated by her to bring us back together. Our marriage is the present isn't great. I'm not sure if it is directly related to her cheating, but the thought of divorce has entered our minds. My relationship with my maternal family is strained, and my marriage is lacking any kind of excitement. Were trying to overcome this last hurdle.

Me: 47 WW: 36 (serial cheater)T: 17 M: 14 3DDs: 14, 4, 3 Reconciled

posts: 481   ·   registered: Aug. 5th, 2018
id 8740919
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DailyGratitude ( member #79494) posted at 5:19 PM on Sunday, June 19th, 2022

So sorry you are in this situation, Meg.
As one of the posters said, serial cheater is indeed a different animal altogether.
Someone having a drunken one night stand is one thing but repeatedly betraying the spouse is a sign of a deeper issue.
From what i have read, people with certain personality disorders tend to be serial cheaters (narcissists, bipolar (when they are manic) sociopaths)
Serial cheating is an Addiction = lack of impulse control, poor coping skills, inability to regulate emotions, inability to self-smooth, lack of empathy for others.
They get off on the high on the thrill of the the chase, conquest, and getting away with it. And that’s why they keep doing it. It gives them the dopamine hit in the brain, similar to a drug addict. And they keep wanting it because It helps them to feel better about themselves, elevates their low self esteem, helps to drown out their FOO issues, etc.
Yes, they don’t have much regard or respect for the spouse, but i think there is a disorder within themselves that causes them to cheat again and again. I really don’t believe it is simply just a lack of morals or values.
Some may feel shame and guilt but will keep doing it because they can’t help themselves. It’s like any addiction-alcohol, drug, gambling.
Therefore, unless the cheater does a deep dive into WHY he cheats, he will not be able to stop. It’s like people who overeat. Unless they know why, they will continue to overeat. Cheating serves a purpose. It meets a need the cheater has. And they need to find out what that need is and fill it with something other than cheating.

I believe and hope people can change. I hope your marriage can be saved. Marriage is sacred and special. It should be saved if at all possible. However, your emotional well being is more important. You need to be safe in your marriage. You need to see and experience genuine effort on your husband’s part to do the hard work. He needs to show complete humility to feel the shame, guilt, regret, remorse, and not be concerned about how he looks to the public. He needs to be willing to do the hard work of learning about himself even if it takes him to places he’s afraid to go to. My bet is he has things that he’s ashamed of from his childhood. Maybe it was neglect, abuse, abandonment, emotionally unavailable parent, etc. He needs to be willing to face his demons.
Rug sweeping and pretending things are ok is not going to work. He will cheat again.

I think DaddyDom has a thread in Waywards titled "understanding/discovering the WHY" or something like that. I suggest you read it. It helped me a lot to get into the mind of the unfaithful.

Me: BW mid 50’sHim: WH late 50’sMarrried 25 yearsDday: EA 2002 PA 9/2021Divorce 10/2021 (per wh’s request) WH left to be with AP

posts: 310   ·   registered: Oct. 17th, 2021   ·   location: Connecticut
id 8740935
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jailedmind ( member #74958) posted at 3:08 AM on Tuesday, June 21st, 2022

My WW affair was 2014. We met in high school. She cheated then. Cheated in college but I erroneously thought marriage would fix it. She began again in her 40’s. This time though i didn’t roll over and rug sweep. IC, MC and telling her to get out of the house. She’s a totally different person now. Or I’m getting duped again. You can survive it but your not the same person after. Wiser, traumatized, cynical, and wary. She loves where we are today. I could have done without the stupidity. I sometimes wish she would have gotten together with the AP so I could have watched that implode on itself. But that’s just my hurt ego talking. We are in a better place but we both had a very different experience getting there.

posts: 110   ·   registered: Jul. 21st, 2020
id 8741154
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DevastatedDee ( member #59873) posted at 4:55 PM on Wednesday, June 22nd, 2022

Ask yourself first why you want this to work. If you say love, know that love can fade away with time and distance and you can free yourself from that trap. If it's finances, that's something to start tackling now if you haven't already because you could find new infidelity at any time with a serial cheater. If it's because you want to feel like you tried, well clearly you've already tried trying. You didn't just try, you succeeded on your end. You stayed married and didn't cheat on him. Your obligation has been met. He's had decades to "try".

Serial cheaters don't usually turn it around and become faithful partners. I'm sure it happens, but it's rare and I expect it takes a lot more than what he's doing to get there. It takes extraordinary change. You'd likely be safer from relapse with a heroin addict than with a serial cheater. If his cheating has an addictive quality, you're signing up to be the marriage police long-term and that's an absolutely miserable existence. They tend to get away with a lot more cheating than ever gets found out.

I don't know the specifics of your situation. I don't know if it's just any available woman that he goes for or if he uses prostitutes. Regardless, someone who has become comfortable enough with cheating that he finds it easy to do it with multiple people is a very messed up human being with a major empathy deficit. The risk to your health is and has been enormous.

So I ask, what is so special about this particular man that you would want to put yourself through taking such a huge risk? Why is he of such value to you that you would try marriage again with him? You wouldn't have chosen him for marriage had you known that this was who he is. Those of us who married serial cheaters were defrauded. We never had what we thought we had. There's a desire for it to not have all been a load of lies and that can drive an urge to reconcile, just the hope that there really was something like what we thought we had at the core of it, but I think those are the lies we tell ourselves in the early months. It's hard to face the reality of who we married. It's hard to accept that they never valued us like we valued them. It's hard to swallow the lack of respect and love. It hurts to understand that they didn't have empathy for us. That all the tears on DDay weren't for us at all. The cheating wasn't about us, but it doesn't end there. Most of their behavior, good and bad, isn't about us. They never want to divorce and why would they? They had what they wanted. Us at home and fun new sex partners on the side. That worked for them. As long as we didn't know, that was a good deal. It took my brain some time to comprehend and see this and it absoulutely sucked. You have all kinds of empathy from me. All that you're feeling is normal. It's very hard to come to terms with this kind of thing.

DDay: 06/07/2017
MH - RA on DDay.
Divorced a serial cheater (prostitutes and lord only knows who and what else).

posts: 5027   ·   registered: Jul. 27th, 2017
id 8741385
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BluerThanBlue ( member #74855) posted at 2:09 PM on Friday, June 24th, 2022

Some people win the lotto… but that’s not a good enough reason to plan your financial future around the slim possibility that you will win the lotto, too.

This is my attitude about attempting to reconcile with a serial cheater. I’m sure you will find very rare examples of serial cheaters who have stopped screwing around on their partners, but more often than not, they never stop. Do you really want to waste precious years of your life on that very slim chance?

Lastly, it’s unlikely that a serial cheater is only selfish and duplicitous in just one aspect of life. Your husband probably lies to you and puts your needs below his in a million other ways that you may not even recognize. I can safely assume that you are carrying most of the emotional and mental burden of your entire relationship.

BW, age 40
Divorced WH in 2015; now happily remarried to a great guy

I edit my comments a lot for spelling, grammar, typos, etc.

posts: 847   ·   registered: Jul. 13th, 2020
id 8741654
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Bigger ( Attaché #8354) posted at 2:37 PM on Friday, June 24th, 2022

We saw a MC for several expensive sessions but neither of us found it helpful as the infidelity was not addressed.

Big misunderstanding going on here I think.

First of all: Definitely find an MC that has experience in infidelity. The litmus question IMHO is to directly ask when booking the first session: Do you think an affair can be blamed on the betrayed spouse?
If the answer is no. A very clear no. Then book the MC. I would even accept a "no, but certain actions of the BS could lead the WS to having an affair but it’s never the BS blame".
If the MC doesn’t agree then ask this question: Do they also work with rape-victims? Do they ever blame the rape-victim for being raped? After all – she was wearing a short skirt and walked out after dark… (the infidelity equivalent of was tired some nights and didn’t offer BJ’s or whatever excuse the WS might use).

The second misunderstanding is that the MC doesn’t fix any issues per se.
The MC creates communications. The MC focuses on breaking down walls and patterns that years of intimacy have created. The MC allows you to tell your husband what you think of the affair, allows him to listen and respond with an answer that isn’t intended to hurt (because by nature we always want to win arguments) but might get you and H one step closer to reconciliation.

The MC is like a personal trainer at the gym. He doesn’t do the push-ups for you, but shows you how to train, when to train and then maybe pushes you on.

"If, therefore, any be unhappy, let him remember that he is unhappy by reason of himself alone." Epictetus

posts: 10828   ·   registered: Sep. 29th, 2005
id 8741683
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 MegMeg (original poster member #79978) posted at 3:03 PM on Friday, June 24th, 2022

So I ask, what is so special about this particular man that you would want to put yourself through taking such a huge risk? Why is he of such value to you that you would try marriage again with him?

Why don't I just walk out the door and leave this particular man? I pondered this question in the pool swimming laps (thanks DailyGraitude). Because the loss is greater than a house or money, or even the two of us. Sure, I can live in condo somewhere and make a newish life, but I already have a life and it involves so many others. We've made a life together: We have raised our children together, endured the the unbearable pain of burying our oldest child together, we've intertwined our nine siblings and their families, we've shared work triumphs and career losses. We ski together every winter, go boating together in the summers, we socialize together, volunteer together, we are church members, we are awaiting our first grandchild, and more.

This tapestry of our lives is almost 40 years in the weaving , and while full of slubs and defects, it could continue to lengthen and be beautiful if we can manage to work together. I see a future. The snow skiing will change from daring black runs to easy greens beside our grandchildren. I see long fireside coffees. The lake trips will be more fishing and kayaking and less waterskiing. The board meetings change to book clubs and bridge parties (though I have to learn how to play). WH sees it too. He knows what's at stake. At this point, I find it almost impossible to walk way.

Yet, over the past 5 months I've come to realize that all the above, while true, was really just an illusion without full support of love, honor, and respect. The "we" is a facebook front presented to the world and is not based on fact and substance. Accepting this truth has only reached my intellectual brain. My emotional brain is still spinning, dreaming one minute and crying the next. Our marriage has been undermined by 18 (+?) years of infidelity and falsehoods. I have to remember the many nights of loneliness while he was "working", the on-going lies and excuses that I gullibly believed.

You're right, DevastedDee. It is a huge risk to take. Why this particular man? It is a good question you've asked. Answering it has helped me think it through a bit. Statistics say my WH will continue to be unfaithful. But I must try. Fortified by the encouragement of JailedMind, DailyGraitude and others, the clear and repeated advise in the above posts to avoid rug sweeping, the many books, the growing understanding of what it means to "dig deep", with all of this knowledge, and knowing what's at risk, I hope to impart to WH that we must get uncomfortable, to do the work needed, both individually and together, to get through this to a better place.

Me: BS | Him: WS | Children: Grown | Married: 36 years

posts: 51   ·   registered: Feb. 20th, 2022   ·   location: Pulling myself out of the mire
id 8741703
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