For some reason I’ve never seen this topic (trauma bonding) addressed here on SI, but it appears there is a growing awareness that infidelity causes not only betrayal trauma, but an unhealthy betrayal trauma bond which the faithful partner is poorly positioned to break in a weakened state after the shock of DDAY:
1. A series of abusive adulterous actions (most affair constitute emotional and psychological abuse, including obviously gaslighting).
2. Causes significant and ongoing PTSD in the aftermath of discovery. Can trigger profound feelings of abandonment from childhood and worse.
3. Leads to a strong trauma bond with the unfaithful partner that is exceedingly hard for a faithful partner to sever.
Trauma bonding, it turns out, may not be the exclusive province of only relationships with narcissists and abusers, but rather is the norm in most marriages after affairs. It means most, if not all, wayward spouses are perpetrating some level of abuse — not just during the affair but after and perhaps for a long time after.
I believe this accounts for the various phenomena we observe here: the intense hysterical bonding; the cycle of grief, dissociation, anger, depression, and POLF; the inability of a faithful partner to end the marriage right away in most cases.
It also makes the blithe "you heal you" advice given to betrayed spouses look like cruel and unnecessary mockery, unless of course we are talking about a therapeutic separation immediately after DDAY (which seems to make an ever-increasing amount of sense as a standard operating procedure).
In other words perhaps the first piece of advice here on SI should be for a betrayed spouse to immediately get to a place of safety away from the abuse of infidelity.
This raises profound issues many here on SI not be comfortable with, because it suggests the authors of "Cheating in a Nutshell" are correct.
Perhaps we should more willing to immediately identify most post-DDAY reluctance to leave as a betrayal trauma bond that a faithful partner needs to free themselves from.
223 comments posted: Tuesday, August 31st, 2021
I am curious if anyone has heard of the term "ambiguity-increasing deception" and whether anyone has thought about it in the context of infidelity.
It is described from a military standpoint in this way: "Ambiguity-increasing deception is designed to generate confusion and cause mental conflict in the enemy decision maker. Anticipated effects of ambiguity-increasing deception can include a delay to making a specific decision, operational paralysis, or the distribution of enemy forces to locations far away from the intended location of the friendly efforts"
5 comments posted: Tuesday, August 17th, 2021
Surgeon Discovers Wife Is High End Hooker
Anyone see the recent story about the world renowned surgeon who just discovered his wife was a high end call girl? Apparently he busted her through iMessage, when she received a lewd proposition from another man. She claimed GNO’s and business travel to develop a clothing app as cover for seeing her John’s. In fact she was providing sexual services to other wealthy men. The surgeon just barely escaped getting taken to the cleaners. It was settled out of court and one presumes (or hopes) the WW walked away with very little. But at least she has the oldest profession to fall back on now.
Oh and once again the media tried to give her a convenient out, that she was doing this all because of a troubled childhood.
9 comments posted: Monday, August 16th, 2021
Thank you in advance.
2 comments posted: Tuesday, July 27th, 2021
A Couple of Revelations
I've had a couple of double whammy revelations that I'm trying to process the last several weeks that I would like to share here. I'm feeling very raw about these things and just wanting to type them out so I can work on thinking them through.
Not sure what to do with these things yet:
1. I found out that a man I admire and respect a great deal had an affair a number of years ago with another parishioner. This man I admire and his faithful wife were essentially forced out of their church because of this affair (the affair was with the wife of a large church donor). First, the disappointment of learning this man I admired and respected did this horrid thing to his wife. Second, learning that this church punished the faithful wife and children for something the husband did. It's just hard to fathom this cruelty.
2. An acquaintance of my WW and myself came over to bring her child for a playdate with our son. She stayed and had a few glasses of wine with us. She is a very nice, very genuine person and we had one of those mid-life conversations that turn real and candid. While we were talking two things came up.
-First, that her husband had cheated on her earlier in the marriage in what was essentially a ONS out of town. She knew something was wrong immediately when he got home, he confessed and they reconciled. It wasn't easy, of course, but she said "I don't know what I would have done if he had done this in my own town." If you know my personal story of my WW's infidelity, you'll understand this hit me hard, as my WW's affair happened both in my town and in my own home. And that even today, I have to see my WW's AP around town, as BFTG likes to say "in my quotidian life."
-Second this acquaintance -- because of the business she owns -- does some work peripherally with my WW's AP. Because of my town's politics, my WW's AP came up in the conversation we were having. She held nothing back in her assessment of my WW's AP as being (not her exact words, but close enough) a completely entitled douchebag born with a silver spoon in his mouth, who is irresponsible and has never held down a real job.
Again this hit me hard and I've been thinking about it for several days. My WW's AP became my friend not because I really liked him at first, but because our sons became friends. I was reluctant at first, but because I am always striving to see Jesus in everyone, I began developing a friendship with him.
This conversation about his real character brought back the fact that my WW threw me under the bus for this vile man, that she convinced me to thank him for a "gift" on the very same day he'd screwed her in my own home, that she separated from me during the affair and how she wouldn't even say "I love you" to me during the affair.
Just a few things that came to mind.
3. My WW has shared with me events from her childhood that add up to either sexual abuse from adults or attempted sexual abuse. She's still trying to tease out the memories of this, and its been very difficult for her to talk about. I know that memories can also "telescope" from childhood, meaning that a number of incidents can be compressed into one memory of one event. I want to be supportive of her, obviously. She is NOT laying her affair at the feet of this. She is trying to figure out to what extent, however, it has contributed to her brokenness.
[This message edited by Thumos at 12:31 PM, May 4th (Tuesday)]
432 comments posted: Tuesday, May 4th, 2021
Is Infidelity Depleting the West's Social Capital?
I'm too lazy this Friday to look up the stats, but there does seem to be a trendline for an increase in infidelity in the West (America and Europe). Obviously adultery has always been with us, but the rates seem to have increased and female infidelity is now at parity with male infidelity.
If adultery is normalized in society then, as the authors of the book "Cheating a Nutshell" put it "honesty could not exist and justice as a concept would not exist. Nobody could be trusted. The social order would be chaos."
I was struck by how this statement aligns with my own assertions that adultery in the 21st Century West is destroying social capital in communities.
Nuclear families are already under tremendous strain. Could the normalization of adultery be creating a "crossing the Rubicon" moment for our society in which social capital becomes so depleted it cannot be revived?
Congress in the past several years has examined the geography of social capital in America. The in-depth analysis can be found on the Joint Economic Committee's Geography of Social Capital section on the web. The report looks at family unity, family interaction, social support, community health, institutional health, collective efficacy, and philanthropic health as being markers of social capital.
Social capital broadly defined is the network of relationships that allows a society to function.
I think it's easy to see that if infidelity continues to rise, this complex web of relationships built on trust will become increasingly hard to maintain. That's probably why adultery is on the top ten list of no-no's in nearly every culture, past and present, nearly everywhere on the planet for at least 5,000 years if not longer.
I'm curious about others' thoughts.
[This message edited by Thumos at 7:09 PM, April 30th (Friday)]
20 comments posted: Friday, April 30th, 2021
Logical Fallacies from WS'
Awhile back I posted a version of this in a thread and many seemed to find it helpful. I post it here as a reference guide for betrayed spouses trying to penetrate the thick haze of fuzzy thinking and gaslighting waywards so often perpetrate on them.
Along with DARVO, blameshifting, and rewriting history, waywards will often deploy a series of common logical fallacies.
There are two ways to invalidate arguments: empirically (a lie, a misstatement of fact) and logically (someone uses flawed reasoning).
Using a logical fallacy invalidates a statement immediately. If betrayed spouses learn how to spot these, they can cut through a lot of the gaslighting blather and blarney they typically are assaulted with.
Deploying logic in these situations can help spot the word games, mind games, triangulation tactics and crazymaking gambit games that WS's so often like to play.
If you feel frozen in time by some gobsmacking statement your WS has made, it's likely because it is a logical fallacy.
Take a moment, breathe, examine it and then call them out on it.
They will grow frustrated, but will shy away from that tactic henceforth. You can bring these kinds of games to a grinding halt by calling them out: "That's a straw man argument," "you're being intellectually dishonest" "that's an ad hominem attack on me and it's illegitimate on its face" etc.
I started doing this calmly with my WW. She got angry, which is to be expected when someone realizes what they thought was a "rational" way of thinking is crumbling in front of them. But she also stopped that particular tactic, moved on to another one until I called that out, and so on. Eventually she stopped most of the games.
Common fallacies WS's use:
1. Ad hominem attacks (example: "Thumos you're so blunt in speaking of my adultery. You're a man. It's obvious you must hate women.")
2. False dichotomies (an either/or proposition that ignores a third, fourth possibility and so on). Example: "You're getting divorced. Either you don’t understand how to properly handle reconciliation ... or you must not be a very forgiving person."
3. Circular reasoning (Simply repeating an argument instead of actually proving it) Example: "You have such a high bar for reconciliation, so you must be against it."
4. Naturalistic fallacy ("adultery is acceptable because humans aren't naturally monogamous" - this is a dubious scientific claim in any case and increasingly it may be empirically false as well)
5. Appeal to people - ad populum - ("So many people commit adultery, so what's the big deal?")
6. Strawman argument ("So I guess I'm a whore to you now?") -- positing an extreme statement or argument you never made so they can easily knock down this "straw man"
7. Red herring fallacy (throwing out a "red herring" to throw hounds off the scent). WS will do this repeatedly, throwing out an argument or statement which seems relevant but which isn't.
8. Tu Quoque Fallacy ('you too'). Examples: "you were promiscuous as a young woman, how dare you judge me" or "I've seen you looking at other women, so how dare you judge me" - these are also examples of false equivalency.
9. Appeal to authority ("our marriage counselor says we don't communicate well" or "Esther Perel says affairs are journeys of discovery and empowerment")
10. Appeal to pity or appeal to emotion ("I had a bad childhood" or "I'm a sex addict" or "I was in the fog when I said all those terrible things, so obviously I didn't mean them." or "yes, I've slept with multiple men but I really want our marriage and I love you so much. Don't abandon me.")
11. The genetic fallacy (trying to debunk an argument based on its origins rather than dealing with the substance of the argument itself). Example: "Your friend cheated, so he can't possibly give you good advice about our situation"
12. The middle ground. "You think extra-marital sex is wrong. Let's agree to disagree."
13. Motte and bailey fallacy - This is harder to spot. It's when an adulterer "conflates two positions which share similarities, one modest and easy to defend (the "motte") and one much more controversial (the "bailey")... then advances the controversial position, but when challenged, they insist that they are only advancing the more modest position." Example: "Monogamy is a social construct. Polyamory is normal and healthy."
The motte is "monogamy is a human construct imposed on humans," while the bailey is that polyamory is perfectly normal.
"Look, I'm not saying I want to be polyamorous, just that monogamy is a social construct. Surely you can agree with that."
And then once you agree to that, they begin working on advancing the more extreme proposition because you allowed them to take and stand on new ground.
13. "I'm entitled to my opinion." You can usually tell when someone has lost the argument when they retreat to this stance. (Example: "My opinion is I'm not rugsweeping. I'm entitled to think that.")
14. Relativist fallacy - "That's your truth, not my truth." or "That may be true for you, but it is not true for me." Obviously it is self refuting to argue a single statement can be both true and false at the same time. It's either true or it isn't.
15. Sunk costs fallacy - Many BS's believe that they've invested so much in this marriage, they have to keep trying, even if it's obviously a fruitless effort. I myself may have fallen into this trap, but it's in a version of concern about the impact a divorce will have on my son.
Hope this is helpful. There are obviously innumerable logical fallacies, and others here can feel to add to my list. I just find these are the most commonly deployed in an infidelity situation.
100 comments posted: Thursday, April 22nd, 2021
Moving over here
I've been in the Reconcilation forum for the last year and now I'm moving over here. More of my story is here:
I told my WW I want a divorce last night, so I'm trying to think about the best tangible steps I need to take now. The die is cast, as they say.
I know not everyone would lead with telling WW "I want a divorce" but it's how I've done it. I want an amicable mediated settlement, if possible, and right now that looks like a strong possibility. I want a 50/50 split on our youngest child (our older child is now an adult and is 18) so we can be good co-parents. I also want to walk away without having to pay alimony. Just a clean split of assets down the middle.
I realize I will probably not get everything I want. I also realize things could turn nasty if my WW develops a sense of injustice or decides to violate my trust again by preemptively filing or whatever. I have no intention of doing that to her and my greatest hope is simply to work on this together.
Where are good checklists, things I need to be thinking about aside from the usual "go see an atty" which yes, I will be doing.
293 comments posted: Tuesday, August 4th, 2020
Anyone have thoughts on invoking a therapeutic separation agreement in advance of a possible mediated divorce?
My WW has NOT brought this up as a stalling tactic - instead it’s something I recently read about.
I wonder if anyone has done it and what the result was.
14 comments posted: Thursday, July 30th, 2020