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Wayward Side :
What to do with knowledge the former AP is cheating

Topic is Sleeping.
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 redheadbookworm (original poster new member #82532) posted at 3:05 AM on Sunday, December 11th, 2022

I’ll give some brief background info and then the current issue I’m dealing with. I’m the WS, husband is the BS. I had a 6 month period in 2020 when I had three APs. Only one did I know in real life prior to the affair (former HS classmate). He said all the right things, I was weak and made terrible choices. He broke it off but it became on/off again. I found another person (through a site) then another (through another site). The last AP was the one that caused D-Day. Emotions were involved but he broke it off out of guilt, said he was done cheating. I came clean to my husband, confessed everything in much detail over 24 hours, got into MC and IC within a week. We spent 18 months doing all the work, reconciled, are now in a great place. We’ve dealt with repeated breaches of NC from all the APs, most via email, we had to threaten all of them to stop, including cease and desist with two. I’ve had login attempts on all my social media and other accounts for over two years. It seems like cyberstalking, but the past 2-3 months it’s finally seeming to be over.

What I’m struggling with has been keeping tabs on two of the APs, namely just the last AP. Part of the reason was trying to figure out who was harassing me. I stayed strong for about 6 months then checked the site where I’d responded to his ad. Despite him telling me he was never cheating again due to guilt, he had a new screen name with a new ad asking for an AP. I have proof it’s him (same clearly identifiable photo, stats, etc) and some days I REALLY want to tell his wife. She’s a stranger to me. I have her contact info only because I blocked everyone everywhere. But I get blind anger at the fact this person is still cheating.

I know it’s coming from me taking it personally, that it was a lie why he stopped and maybe I was too ugly to be his AP. I’ve read enough to know that serial cheaters just cheat. I also didn’t want to leave but deep down had harbored some fantasy about ending up together and having a perfect life. So I get angry and scheme how I could anonymously send his ads to his wife. I don’t know how to handle it other than ignore it and I can’t seem to do that. I’ve admitted to my husband when I’ve looked because it triggers me out and he can tell something is wrong.

I just don’t know how to handle the knowledge this former AP is cheating, but I’m convinced all of them just cheat until they’re found out or get an STD.

[This message edited by redheadbookworm at 3:15 AM, Sunday, December 11th]

posts: 4   ·   registered: Dec. 10th, 2022
id 8769106
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Darkness Falls ( member #27879) posted at 3:14 AM on Sunday, December 11th, 2022

1. Ignore it

2. Stop keeping tabs on all these people

3. If you must have social media, delete your profiles, create new ones, and tightly lock down the privacy settings

JMHO

Married -> I cheated -> We divorced -> We remarried -> Had two kids -> Now we’re miserable again

Staying together for the kids

D-day 2010

posts: 6490   ·   registered: Mar. 8th, 2010   ·   location: USA
id 8769108
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Bulcy ( member #74034) posted at 12:01 PM on Sunday, December 11th, 2022

A few things to unpick here

- When "keeping tabs" on former AP is this being done with BS present or at the very least aware? You said that you were only doing this to find out who was stalking you. Have you gained any understanding of this? If so, then stop keeping tabs. This is keeping the affairs alive. No Contact means NO CONTACT in any form, even occasionally checking out profiles, in my opinion, counts as contact.

- Why do you need social media? Social Media was a method you used to cheat. It is a prime infidelity tool. Close social media off and if really needed then create a new profile and ONLY have safe friends and family. Set the security high and ensure that and new friends as agreed with BS before accepting.

- As for telling OBS, she has a right to agency. If you told her, would this be out of spite to AP or for empathy to OBS? I think most on here would recommend telling her. For your own journey to R this needs to be done for the right reasons. Doing it out of spite to your AP suggests there is still some emotional link to him.

A few things you said raise alarm bells with me. I'm very much still struggling with my own journey to R. I am by no means a better person than I was while cheating, so this comes from a WS who is working not one who has done the work.

He said all the right things, I was weak and made terrible choices

No, no and YES. He may have said the right things, but you still chose to cheat. Saying things like this and I was weak come across, especially to BS's as excuses. Know that you made these choices and that at no time did anyone put a gun to your head. Owning it really means OWNING every action and choice that you made or did . Yes, as cheaters we manipulate people. Say what AP's want to hear, hey we hear what we want to hear from the AP too. However at any time we could have said NO.

I know it’s coming from me taking it personally, that it was a lie why he stopped and maybe I was too ugly to be his AP.

A good realisation, why do you care though? If you're fully into R then you'll not care about what AP thinks or says (another danger of social media). Do you not think that BS does not have exactly the same thoughts about you having the affair in the first place? Please break that link to AP or you'll never be free from this.

I’ve read enough to know that serial cheaters just cheat.

Yes we do. Accept the fact that you're a serial cheater as well as your AP's. Maybe he is still ongoing with his infidelity, but you and I are serial cheaters. We always will be unfortunately. Live with this and accept it. Use the pain you're feeling to make yourself a better person.

I don’t know how to handle it other than ignore it and I can’t seem to do that. I’ve admitted to my husband when I’ve looked because it triggers me out and he can tell something is wrong.

You have to ignore it. Stop looking. DO NOT go onto any account without telling BS and asking him to be there with you. It looks bad and it looks bad for good reasons. You went onto a site that facilitates infidelity, without your BS's knowledge...This is wayward behaviour. Did you only tell him because you felt bad? Feeling bad and coming clean are positive steps. Hey, we all slip, when we do, we need to be honest, so this is good. However you cannot look on these sites on your own and without prior agreement. What would BS have said if he discovered this activity before you told him?

I just don’t know how to handle the knowledge this former AP is cheating, but I’m convinced all of them just cheat until they’re found out or get an STD.

Stop caring about AP's just stop. I know it's hard, but once again your BS will find it harder and give the continued access to sites that you used to facilitate your affair and continued checking of their accounts will only hurt BS and damage R. If you've found what you need then cancel ALL accounts you used or could you in infidelity. Do it now. Don't just promise to never log on, make it so you cannot be tempted. Stop giving yourself excuses to check up on the AP's.

WH (50's)

Multiple sexual, emotional and online affairs. Financial infidelity and emotional abuse. Physical abuse and intimidation.

D-days 2003, 2017, multiple d-days and TT through 2018 to 2023. 28 years of destructive and health damaging choice

posts: 363   ·   registered: Mar. 12th, 2020   ·   location: UK
id 8769119
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 redheadbookworm (original poster new member #82532) posted at 4:51 PM on Sunday, December 11th, 2022

I’ll respond to some questions and thank you for the input. This is really my current struggle in a long two years of reconciliation. I know it’s an issue I’ve caused and have to get past to be better.

It is not when BS is present but I make him aware because it triggers me. It is also not account based. His ads are posted on an open website, you just have to click you’re over 18 and that’s it. I didn’t look for 6 months into R and since then it’s messed me up. I will say the NC breeches were extremely traumatic for us too.

I have open social media because of my line of work and I have everyone involved or related to any AP blocked. When I went full private everywhere was when all the stalking ramped up. So I have zero access to these people there. I also can’t control their actions, if they choose to bother me that’s on them. I also have all posts except work-related set to private.

Yes it is to spite the AP. I think the OBS should know but I don’t know her. But I will admit it’s out of hatred for the AP. He contacted me a week into R. Then again 7 months later after which we had to threaten a restraining order. So I’ve dealt with that anger poorly. It’s over and will always be over but that thread needs to be cut. This person was a stranger. They didn’t know me the way my husband does, so I shouldn’t care what he thinks. I have to actively work on not caring.

Also I just want to clarify from the beginning I was honest and fully disclosed. I wanted to get better. I didn’t blame my husband. I knew this was a result of my poor self-esteem and being a people pleaser. I just took an opportunity that was presented to me. Are APs very skilled at saying the right things? Yes. I was not experienced. I don’t believe I’m a bad person. I can’t because I’ve been suicidal multiple times from being stuck in shame spirals. A lot of that from the first AP who was rebounding from another affair with me and consistently judged my appearance, intelligence, etc. I know I caused trauma but I also endured trauma. These were not love affairs. Did I get something out of them? Yes. I don’t deny that. But this wasn’t a "run off with a coworker into the sunset" situation. They were horribly messed up. Which is why I’ve committed to changing but also harbor resentment. I know that’s my hurdle. It messed me up all of 2021 and 2022 is better but I refuse to walk into 2023 with this hatred.

posts: 4   ·   registered: Dec. 10th, 2022
id 8769134
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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 5:52 AM on Thursday, December 15th, 2022

Fellow wayward here, almost six years out from my affair. I am going to be straight with you.

NC means no contact of any kind. Affairs are addictive and you are continuing the addiction and labeling it okay because it’s not for continuing to cheat.

You need to go back to therapy and process this. The reality is I have no revenge feelings of the ap in my situation because my choice to have an affair was mine. He was a serial cheater. A liar. Manipulative. But I had no business being in the situation and that is totally on me.

I knew he’d had other affairs, I know details, I know with whom, for how long. When he was caught I can almost guarantee he only fessed up to me. Had the bw reached out I would have told her anything she wanted to know.

But was I going to call her up and tell her things to punish the ap? No because who that would have really been cruel towards would have been her. Let karma work it out. He is not your problem at all. You are not the moral police and you are in no place to be that.

No contact means no new hurts for anyone involved. He will get his eventually. You need to keep your eyes on your own lane and know you have more work to do.

With that said, stick around and you will find plenty of help. I am saying what I am out of compassion to you. Affairs change our brain chemistry and as you continue having mental and indirect contact with him your brain is not healing. When he comes to mind practice changing the channel.

[This message edited by hikingout at 5:57 AM, Thursday, December 15th]

7 years of hard work - WS and BS - Reconciled

posts: 6934   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8769547
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 redheadbookworm (original poster new member #82532) posted at 3:23 AM on Friday, December 16th, 2022

Thank you, hikingout, for your words and understanding, as well as the others in this thread. After posting this topic and reading replies, I’m finally at a point where I’m not checking up on anyone via any means, including social media and websites. I haven’t checked since joining SI.

I think the thing that’s helped me the most is stopping myself before I were to check on an AP or BW, telling myself "no contact means no contact," and then feeling whatever feelings I’m having. It has been a coping mechanism for me in a lot of complex ways. One, to prove I’m better than them, which is irrelevant because it’s my life and my choices that determine how good it is. Two, to basically "pain shop" and wallow in some bad feelings, especially if I’m on the verge of experiencing emotions about the past.

Ultimately, it was also a tether to this past that when I am really honest with myself, I felt like I was still going to get some closure from the last AP. Emotions were involved, added to that two direct NC breeches, led to me being obsessed. But I lost 6 months of my life to obsession over APs and not my BS or kids. I don’t want to spend any time on someone else, because it’s not on this person to change. It’s on me.

I also compared myself relentlessly to my first AP’s OW who came before me. So I really relate to having an AP disclose their affair to you as a wayward but not their BS. This was also their "love affair" and AP tried to leave his BW for OW but backed out. So I judged myself against this woman who I didn’t know, whose AP I didn’t want, etc. I chose to get out of the affair but made excuses to keep tabs even though I wouldn’t want her life. I haven’t checked on her either since joining SI.

There’s a lot to unpack and I know I need to do some more work, but I feel much freer now than I have since the last major NC breech about 7 months in R for us. Past the two year mark now.

posts: 4   ·   registered: Dec. 10th, 2022
id 8769647
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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 5:24 AM on Friday, December 16th, 2022

Hi-

Also fellow people pleaser here.

It’s because I have been where you are that I am not completely buying this last post.

I know logically you can connect with what I said and you can logically say the things back that you did. But getting your feelings to align with that is a whole other matter.

I think of if the surest signs someone is changing or trying to change is they are struggling. It’s okay to admit the struggle. It’s okay that you dont have this solved.

I am not saying you haven’t stopped contact by visiting the sites. That is an excellent first step. But it will take months of that no contact for what you feel (that compulsivity) to begin to resolve.

What you have been doing is keeping it alive and it doesn’t die all in one week. It doesn’t have to be feelings of wanting him back or longing. It’s the fact there are any feelings at all.

Have you read much on limerence? I am asking because I read what you write and I feel like I understand where you are in it. You want to let go of him completely but your brain chemistry wants a hit.

Having the logic is a great place. Being determined to go fully NC is another. Fighting that battle in your mind often feels hopeless.

I have read numerous studies and limerance typically lasts as long as there is any contact. And it doesn’t have to be direct contact, it can be mental contact. I don’t think this makes you bad I think it’s a matter of brain chemistry.

My own experience is this is because of a void with you that you are trying to fill. So in addition to no contact I would suggest figuring out what that void is and how to fill it yourself.

That void has been part of why you made the decisions to get into the affair. Then it got deeper because of brain chemistry. It’s like a gambler, the drugs aren’t the game they are betting on, the drugs are the flooding of dopamine in your brain. Your brain will tell you anything to get more of that drug.

It takes time. Keep sticking with the logic and listening to it. The more time you succeed in that the less struggle there will be.

[This message edited by hikingout at 5:48 AM, Friday, December 16th]

7 years of hard work - WS and BS - Reconciled

posts: 6934   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8769651
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 redheadbookworm (original poster new member #82532) posted at 5:50 PM on Friday, December 16th, 2022

I totally see why it seems unlikely that I am struggling - I am still struggling but I am taking the mantra of "one day at a time" and even just one hour at a time when the urge arises to snoop. I know there's work to be done, but not feeding that urge has been really important. Not checking any profiles, sites, etc. Even though I had everyone blocked, there are still ways to find access, which sucks if your brain is determined to find a way.

I did some work on limerance one-on-one with our counselor during MC. I also did a few months of IC when I was suicidal. I also think there's a big "rose-colored glasses" effect with APs. You only remember the good parts and not the bad. So if I am having a thought about missing something in particular, I am challenging it and redirecting it. I also don't know this person. I really don't. I knew a version of them. The version of them they knew is also gone.

Also, hikingout, I read your blog post about how ultimately a WS trying to validate yourself in an affair versus the other person validating you. (At least, I'm assuming it's your post, still figuring out how to navigate the site.) That is very true and helps take that power back. It's not their approval I need, it's my own.

So yes, it'll take more than a week, but looking at my behavior and the underlying factors, i.e. time of date, state of mind, has helped. I'm two years into R, I was also total NC (including this snooping behavior) until the AP broke NC. Not an excuse, just the fact that it did mess up my brain, along with repeated login attempts, odd phone calls, etc. for years. I was determined to find a truth (who was bothering me and why) that wasn't there. That has stopped for ... 2-3 months now, which has helped. But again, I wish I could've communicated about that better during R instead of snooping. It became habitual, like you mention with brain chemistry. So identifying triggers, other behaviors to use instead, has made a big difference. I still need to do the work and will keep doing it.

I'm grateful to be here, I had tried other support methods without much sympathy for WS. I'd like to get to a point where I'm free of this, not necessarily forgiving the AP, but forgetting the AP.

posts: 4   ·   registered: Dec. 10th, 2022
id 8769823
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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 6:50 AM on Saturday, December 17th, 2022

Okay that all sounds a little more understandable. The reason I pushed back is people pleasing and perfectionism goes hand in hand. For a long time I was trying to get an A in recovery and an A in reconciliation. Some of the post I responded to had that ring to it. I heard myself in it from years ago.

Struggle comes with any change. It’s like you said it’s hour to hour. If our goal was losing weight as an example, the struggles would exist until we formed new habits that served us better. It’s just not linear.

It can and will get easier. You said that your MC worked with you. For me, I had to be treated for OCD. The link between limerance and OCD is super strong. I do know what you are saying about him breaking no contact caused issues with you. He is your drug dealer of sorts.

Refocusing, reframing, and yes not slipping into the escapism where we highlight what we want are all great starts.

Here is a suggestion from when I was in therapy- reparenting. You logically know he is bad for you, use that logic to protect the little girl inside you. Protect her from continuing to feel pain, if this was your daughter who was dancing so closely to the flame. Honor commitments you make to her.

It’s a strange thing to say but when I embraced it, the channel changing got easier.

7 years of hard work - WS and BS - Reconciled

posts: 6934   ·   registered: Jul. 5th, 2017   ·   location: Arizona
id 8769899
Topic is Sleeping.
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