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perception vs. truth

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fareast posted 3/29/2021 22:02 PM

Sorry you are hurting. Take time for you to grieve and to heal. Others will have recommendations for reading that can help. Betrayal trauma is a real thing. Consider getting IC if you are having trouble dealing. There is absolutely nothing you could have done to prevented this. She is broken. It was bound to happen sooner than later. I know it’s hard to see it now but there is nothing you did or didn’t do that caused her to cheat. Good luck.

Ariopolis posted 3/29/2021 22:05 PM

the only thing I can think of is that I maybe worked too hard—

Whoa... enough of that talk. It was nothing you did, said, didn't do, didn't say, looked like, dressed like, walked like, sounded like or smelled like.

She was going to find someone to screw around with sooner or later. She only needed a guy willing to do it.

How can someone ruin a near-perfect relationship like that? And, for what?

They usually don't think they are ruining anything since they don't plan on the faithful partner finding out. It's a little cold blooded.

For what? Who knows? Maybe she gets a thrill from seeing if a married guy will risk his M for her. (Many OW do this.) Maybe she's a sex addict. Maybe she's just a garden variety slut. Maybe she secretly hates men and gets off on wrecking them.

She may not know herself. She may never know.

chepo1966 posted 3/29/2021 22:20 PM

Absolon,
I think that somehow, you were prepared and also you had it clear, the result of the IP, now you only have to think about yourself from now on, and never question your procedure, the mere fact that you will work, until later, In order to continue with the standard of living, it only showed that you are a great man and that you honored and respected her in all, you also have to keep in mind that you really have to thank God, you saved yourself from going to a marriage of failures, suffering and pain, the good thing that you don't have children with her,
This being away from her and not seeing her, the recovery will be faster, I think it must be the thought of many of your friends, she has never deserved you, you were too much of a man and person for her, unfortunately, you thought that I could change, everything in she is a lie, nothing is real, her being revolves around lying and cheating,
And I agree with your thinking, keep your principles, values ​​and dignity, revenge, can cause pain, and that is not good, you act as always, a great man and gentleman, always,

ramius posted 3/29/2021 23:05 PM

It wasn’t you. It’s her. She is a classic cake eater.

She wanted “reliable” you, AND “exciting” him. Both of you in her life, serving her purposes. HER purposes. Get it? SHE, HER....me me me. Sadly just run of the mill...self absorbed, solipsistic, narcissism.

There is nothing you could have done, or could do now, to fill the vacant a hole that she has inside of her.

Do not internalize her lack of character.

Do not internalize her horrid decisions.

Jambomo posted 3/30/2021 01:55 AM

It’s honestly often nothing to do with you or the relationship.

I think they just want the adrenaline rush of the “new” thing, the ego boost from someone finding them attractive, there are people who look to this to see their worth and from your description of how you met, I think she may be one of them.

I also think they don’t expect to lose what they have. Either they don’t think you’ll find out or think you’ll stay around if you do. I honestly don’t think the idea of consequences ever enters their heads to be honest.

I’m sorry that you are hurting so much, be assured that it will pass and you will come out of the other side. Your friend sounds like a great guy who is supportive, I’m glad you have him.

[This message edited by Jambomo at 2:05 AM, March 30th (Tuesday)]

jb3199 posted 3/30/2021 05:55 AM

even though I had more than my fair share of female attention, I was always boundaried about that and never invited flirtations

Exactly. We are talking about an issue of character; something of hers that you have no influence over. Your character believes in fidelity, so you naturally instilled boundaries to keep true to yourself. Unfortunately, your ex does NOT have fidelity as one of the cores of her character, so the boundaries around it are weak. They are easily breakable because it is not a big issue(fidelity) like it is for you.

You can question yourself for the next weeks, months, or years. But the answer is---it was never about you. It was always her choices; her willingness.....to cheat.

Butforthegrace posted 3/30/2021 06:02 AM

I just don’t understand it at all. At any level. I am baffled.

Like … the only thing I can think of is that I maybe worked too hard—EG late nights once in a while—and that took me away from her from time to time. But she has always liked the lifestyle associated with my hard work.

Nobody’s perfect. I know I am not.

But I ….. I can’t figure it out. This is caving my head in. How can someone ruin a near-perfect relationship like that? And, for what?

This is a normal thought progression, but eventually you'll realize it's futile. There's no logic to it. To understand it, you'd have to be able to view the world through the distorted lens and twisted logic of a cheater, a sort of upside-down where cake eating is the norm as long as it's in secret.

When we marry somebody, we marry the whole package, good points and bad points included. Cake eaters arrogate to themselves the authority to secretly enjoy only those select bits they like, and seek private enjoyment of other bits outside of the marriage. Their vows of fidelity are conditional and situational.


But now that I have had time to pause, I am just beside myself. The grief is terrible and overwhelming.

That is also normal. What you will eventually have to reconcile inside of your heart is that the woman you thought you were in love with does not exist in real life. She is a figment of your imagination. The actual woman who exists in real life is somebody you don't know very well, mainly because she presented a false front to you. In modern parlance, you were "Catfished" by this woman into betrothal with a fictional creation. Truly a wicked game she played. When the true anger comes, you'll know you are on your path to healing.

In the end, the more salient question to ask yourself is what sort of flawed logic allowed you to choose a woman with such profound character flaw as your betrothed. Did you ignore warning signs along the way? Did, for example, any close friends or family members express reservations? Was the romance a whirlwind too-good-to-be-true? Were you bonded over superficial trappings but she didn't know the "real" you?

The point is to not replicate the same error going forward. There are plenty of good women out in the world who don't fuck a friend whenever their husband puts in some long hours at work.

[This message edited by Butforthegrace at 7:17 AM, March 30th (Tuesday)]

DanielJK posted 3/30/2021 07:04 AM

the only thing I can think of is that I maybe worked too hard

I know it’s been said already, but I’m going to reiterate it…

No, no, and no. Please do not think like this. Your WGF is an adult. If she had unmet needs, she could have handled them like an adult. Seeking attention from another man is not meeting her needs like an adult. It’s a character flaw in the cheater…it has NOTHING to do with you.

I felt okay today – doing things and acting upon plans. But now that I have had time to pause, I am just beside myself. The grief is terrible and overwhelming.

It’s the roller coaster I mentioned. You’re going to be on it for a while. You’ve taken the first step in getting off the roller coaster by removing yourself from infidelity. Now you just need some time to process it. Try to stay busy if you can, the grief will begin to fade.

Keep posting here, let us know how you are doing. Almost everyone here has been on this roller coaster ride, we get it.

siracha posted 3/30/2021 07:17 AM

Broken people are great liars . Good people assume others arent lying to them . Thats the whole story behind cheating and why it happens so often to good partners.
Imagine yourself in dealings with a used car salesman or a bernie madoff , would you take their words or even their body language as gospel ? there is no way to “ win” against a trickster you love besides recusing yourself completely .
Your worth is determined by who you are - from everything you have said you seem like a wonderful person , its not your fault she cheated if anything thats probably her parents fault and most of all , and most certainly her own fault .

[This message edited by siracha at 7:48 AM, March 30th (Tuesday)]

Freeme posted 3/30/2021 07:33 AM

You are going to end up in a rabbit hole if you try to make sense of why she chose to do this. You did nothing wrong. Working too much overtime? Not a reason to cheat... Something is fundamentally broken in her. She might need the thrill of the chase, of the affair, of ...whatever. So, things might have been as perfect as you think they were but she wanted something on the side too. Perfect was never going to be enough for her.

They way she did this. In the duplex you pay for, with her friends husband, during a panademic, 6 months before her wedding... You've got to see that it's not you, it's her.

I do question what went on in the relationship prior to yours. If you got the whole story. It just sounds so similar to what you are dealing with... engaged, pushing boundries, making up stories. There could have been a good reason she didn't want you talking to her ex...maybe another married man was involved. Maybe they weren't truly broken up until she KNEW she had you...

I wanted to add that if you are worried about her mental health. You could contact her parents or a close friend of hers and just let them know that you have broken off the engagement and that she might need their support. If she leaves you messages that allude to harming herself you should contact 911 and have them do a wellness check on her.

[This message edited by Freeme at 1:08 PM, March 30th (Tuesday)]

Bigger posted 3/30/2021 07:49 AM

It’s not what it looks like is verbatim what my then-fiancé told me when I walked in on her and OM having sex. I found it amusing at the time because it was exactly what it looked like: She was having sex with another man. For her it was more complex – she thought that since it was non-emotional, nobody-knows, pure physical sex and supposedly the last-time-for-variety-before-we-marry then it wasn’t really so bad…

Go figure. You shouldn’t expect logic in illogical people and/or illogical action.

Stevesn posted 3/30/2021 09:39 AM

I was wondering if you have or plan to talk to the OBS. Sometimes those in both of your positions can find you can greatly help each other through this difficult process. Of course she will be processing her own pain. There is no guarantee that she will be willing to discuss. But it may be worthwhile trying.

HouseOfPlane posted 3/30/2021 09:44 AM

I just don’t understand it at all. At any level. I am baffled.
That's because you think her actions are a statement about you. They aren't. They're a statement about her.

Your response to her actions are definitely a statement about you. A good one, too.

Sending strength!

asc1226 posted 3/30/2021 10:13 AM

But I ….. I can’t figure it out. This is caving my head in. How can someone ruin a near-perfect relationship like that?

You have to accept that she’s broken, and the question truly is how could she not ruin it. I know everyone here saying that this is all about her sounds like we’re just trying to let you off the hook. That we’re trying to convince you because it comforts us about our own experiences. But it’s the truth. There really is nothing you could have done. Whether she did it for the thrill or the validation or whatever, the fact is there is something inside her that drove her to seek something from outside of your committed relationship. Until she fixes what’s broken inside that will be true no matter who she’s with. You couldn’t be the partner she would never betray because that man doesn’t exist for her. That man cannot exist until she deals with the void inside.

[This message edited by asc1226 at 10:14 AM, March 30th (Tuesday)]

Merti posted 3/30/2021 13:39 PM

Absolon,
You have some great advice here. I do not know what else to add but I would like to remind you of these:

When I first asked help from here, I had exactly the same questions you had. In fact all betrayed spouses/ fiancées do. We question ourselves, we cannot believe how the other person can ruin a great relationship. I read serial cheater stories and thought to myself that my spouse was not one of them, so my situation was unique. But the eerie thing is, those who lie and betray their significant ones use exactly the same script. They claim to not know why they did it, they might blame us, they say they were unhappy for a while and they felt alone, they never imagined doing that to us etc etc. I am pretty sure your ex-fiancée will try to get in touch with you, she will tell you how sorry she is, and is ready to do everything for your forgiveness. Almost all do this and then take the affair underground. She is reacting because you caught her. She was going to continue to betray you and her friend if you had not figured out it all. So, she has not changed. She just wants both you and the secret excitement, as they call here, cake.

Like … the only thing I can think of is that I maybe worked too hard—EG late nights once in a while

I will reiterate that this has nothing to do with you. Something is broken in her, period. Did she ever address that you worked too much and this made her unhappy? On the contrary, she liked the lifestyle associated with it, as you mentioned. Did she communicate with you that this was not working for her, she felt lonely and you both needed to figure this out? Or, did she tell you that she wanted to break up with you? I do not think so. Because you or your work are not the problems here. She is trying to fill that void in her with this secret excitement she pursued. Such engagements keep them away from themselves and from the hard work of focusing on whatever is broken in them.

How can someone ruin a near-perfect relationship like that?

It is impossible for us to understand. A character deficit is like a black hole. You can give it all you want but it will never be enough. In my experience, I had a wonderful 10+ years of marriage. I moved to another country for his career, treated his family and relatives most respectfully, I was a great support to him and we loved each other so much that people would say they are jealous of us, we are the ultimate couple. He always told me he did not know what he did to deserve me, and never met with someone more fun and attractive.

One day I was diagnosed with cancer out of blue. It was a complete shock. He was crying desperately. 7 months after, he was deep in an affair. While I was going through the trauma of cancer treatment. I would have never imagined it, ever. I questioned myself and my diagnosis but now, I know that those were the wrong questions. This tragedy was perhaps needed for me to see what he was capable of doing to me when I was most vulnerable. His character deficit showed itself during a stressful period and never before.

You did nothing for her to betray you.

The grief is horrible. I am a person full of life and joy, but when I found out what he did, I wanted to die. I wanted to reject the treatment. But now I am in a much better place. Time will help you.

I also read here that the affair needs to be exposed. I could not do it as it is against my personality. I need to live this trauma privately and I shared it with a couple very close friends and my terapist only. So do what is right for you.

Please do not compare yourself to the affair partner. Even if he was better looking, more successful, the best in everything. He is ruining his family by having an affair with his wife’s good friend, who is/ was about to get married in a few months. You do not compare yourself with someone like that.


[This message edited by Merti at 2:11 PM, March 30th (Tuesday)]

longsadstory1952 posted 3/30/2021 14:19 PM

Your lack of bearings is palpable. Considering you thought everything was perfect, and would not have had much of a clue had she not engaged in some questionable conduct, a few points are in order.

I doubt that simply diagnosing her as broken or lacking in character is going to get it for you. I think you are looking for more than that.

You are dumbfounded by the brazenness and by the lack of physical attractiveness of her boy toy. You can't see why she would risk everything and then when caught try to keep you on a string through bald faced lying.

So after a long time here and a lot of reading I think that a lot of the affairs we see here fall into a category that might be called detachment from reality. sometimes its called magical thinking, although actual thinking is not a real part of the dynamic.

When an affair goes on for as long as this one has, they are past the joyless fuck buddy acting out, past the thrill seeking, past the "I do it cause I want to and can get away with it" stage.

Usually, and I think here, they are at the limerance and addiction stage. It's no longer about sneaking around for a quick fuck. It's now all about emotions and brain chemicals taking over, all saying that all is right with the world. They see the AP at first as a perfect fit, a person who they need in their life, and overlooking the flaws is the norm. Is the AP married? No worries. They will find a way. Are they married? They will find a way cause they need it and if the BH/BW could only know how it feels, they would understand. They have found their soulmate. It's fate, kismet, karma. And they deserve this. If other people find out, they will be happy for them.

Hence, the look of joy when she opened the door to a very average cheater. There is no talking them out of it. They are addicted. That is why they will risk everything. This is why over and over here we see people who cannot understand why the spouse can possible be attracted to the ugly loser, still living with their parents, low payed jag. The stripper, the hood, the outright criminal. How can this be?

It's because people can convince themselves of anything when the brain chemicals that make them feel good take over. There is no right. There is no conscience, there is no self reflection, and there can be no serious consequences in their minds.

When Dday happens, the addiction does not immediately go away. Like all addicts they have to wean off the good vibes in their heads. But consequences start to drop, and they had no plan - none at all about how to deal with it. Hence, the crying and screaming and ranting and lying and promising and acting like they just got sentenced to the guillotine kicks in. Because everything is now in the open and insane emotion takes over. And that emotional reaction is no more productive than the magical thinking stage.

This is why it often takes years for a WW or WH to get their heads on straight, if ever. And the BH or BW has to have a great deal of fortitude and will to deal with it. Usually that happens when there is a reason to put up with it. Here, there are no reasons.

So this is a long way of trying to explain the "she is broken" comments. Maybe you knew all that already. But in reality, and in a very real sense, this has nothing to do with you, your size, your personality, your looks or your character. Do not take an iota of blame. From her or yourself. And is something that you cannot fix by being nice, or waiting around, or taking it on the chin.

I wish you all the strength you need to get through this. You will get through this. Know that above all things.

Absolon posted 3/31/2021 14:31 PM

Thanks for the (as always) helpful counsel. Such an incredible group of people.

Unsurprisingly, the last day and a half has been truly difficult. On Monday night, my now Ex figured out where I was staying, came over, insisted on my friend letting her in, but he didn’t, and in fact he had to physically restrain her from coming in.

Cue many texts and tearful voicemails, saying she wants a second chance and that the past weekend was truly the only time they have had a PA. Admits it was an EA from last July (2020). I didn’t respond to any of it, so after her ‘love-bombing’ me for a full day (Mon afternoon to Tuesday afternoon), her texts became nastier last night.

She said that my attempts to break up her AP and the OBS were “lame” and will “fail because she (OBS) understands the value of forgiveness.” I find it rather breathtaking that a) she somehow has insight into the OBS’s mind and that b) the OBS has achieved such swift forgiveness.

I then finally broke my silence and asked her, simply, ‘Why?’ After a lot of prevarication, she essentially said that because I am a perfectionist, she stopped trusting that she could speak her mind with me at an early stage of our relationship – as in: 2 years in. She said that AP makes her feel safe and 'protected' and they ‘can discuss anything’.

When I asked her for details on how I shut down open communication, she was able to summon very minor arguments from very early in the relationship that a) I thought we resolved and b) weren’t all to do with me being perfectionistic.

Still – in the cold light of day, today, I am reflecting on it all, very painfully, and perhaps realizing that there is some truth to what she says. Did that justify infidelity? Never. But a very broken part of me—hopefully one that will feel less broken over time—wonders whether I did become elusive and distant and intolerant of hearing criticism and that that ultimately drove her into another man’s (apparently considerably more welcoming) arms.

Yet she wants us “to try again”. She says she is willing to do whatever it takes. She has asked me not to tell anyone—EG my family, friends, etc—about this because we can fix it.

I don’t believe her, at all.

Anyway, I am totally emptied of emotion and exhausted beyond what I can remember. I have not slept really since Sunday night, so I may try for some sleeping pills of some kind tonight.

The final note (sorry this is all so disorganised, again) is that my self-image has taken a brutal beating. My emotional and spiritual image of my Ex has been shattered by this, so there is no chance I could ever be with her again. Trust has been irrevocably shattered. So while I have some ‘peace’ that I have a dodged a bullet of spending my life with someone of such low integrity, I just can’t get past the physical element.

And it’s oh-so humiliating, the questions I have: did I not make her orgasm enough when we made love? Was my penis not the exact perfect shape and size? Did she just want an ex-rugby player bodytype? And even though I know nothing of what they did, the imagining it is just … it’s so astonishingly awful.

gmc94 posted 3/31/2021 14:45 PM

Sorry about the mind movies (MM), they suck.

For me, as much as I "know" in my head that the As have NOTHING to do with me, it can be REALLY hard to get the rest of my brain/body on the same page.

I really don't believe affairs have much to do with the actual sex. Men will tell themselves that it's "only" sex, but I really don't believe that. I think it's more about the need for adoration, external validation and power/control. Dunno if that helps one effing bit, but those are my thoughts.

Butforthegrace posted 3/31/2021 14:48 PM

After a lot of prevarication, she essentially said that because I am a perfectionist, she stopped trusting that she could speak her mind with me at an early stage of our relationship – as in: 2 years in. She said that AP makes her feel safe and 'protected' and they ‘can discuss anything’.

Let's assume all of that is true, just for the sake of discussion. During that SAME TIME FRAME, she accepted your marriage proposal and began plans for a wedding, at which she presumably intended to vow lifelong fidelity to you. Do you see how that is all kinda messed up? She feels she can't communicate with you. She feels she can't speak her mind. All of these red flags that, to any rational person, would clearly tell her that you two are not compatible for marriage, yet she proceeds to agree to and plan a wedding. WTF?

Then there is the fact that she feels "safe and protected" by adulterous sexual attention from a married friend who is cheating on his wife, the mother of his children, a close friend of your wife's, and doing it in your home while you are gone. By all objective measures this man is human scum, yet he makes her feel safe and protected.

It beggars the imagination and defies reality. Her values and clarity of conviction are complete garbage. Dude, you totally dodged a bullet by learning all of this before the wedding.

Then there is this from your first post:

we hosted a small dinner party ... my fiancée ... sat between one of her good female friends and her husband

"One of her good female friends." Whose husband your (hopefully ex) fiancee just fucked. If that is her definition of "good friendship", again, all I can say is you dodged a bullet. With fronds like that who needs anemones?

Then there is this, also from your first post:

We met at work—colleagues in different departments—and a really solid, respectful friendship turned into something more. We have always been really happy: good sex life, no financial concerns, trustful, respectful, open, good communication. A lot of fun with our shared interests; and no mistrust or insecurity when we do our own things, too.

There is a giant gulf between your perception of the relationship, on the one hand, and the version that she now says led to her secretly fucking a friend's husband in your home.

Probably the most important part of your whole thread is this:

The one thing I suppose I must admit is that she was engaged to someone when we first met at work, and while nothing ever happened between us—I am not a cheater—there were times, if I am being really honest, that I felt she flirted with me inappropriately.

See a pattern? Two points define a line. Again, all I can say is you dodged a bullet. You and that other former fiancee should form a club.

[This message edited by Butforthegrace at 8:14 AM, April 1st (Thursday)]

HouseOfPlane posted 3/31/2021 15:10 PM

...asked her, simply, ‘Why?’ After a lot of prevarication, she essentially said that because I (you)...
And thus at that moment did the bullshit floweth freely.

Maybe she had a chance to say, "It's me and my lack of character"? Because that's the only valid answer, details to be filled in.

Everything you wrote of her actions smacks of manipulate, manipulate, manipulate. Ugh.

Everything you're feeling, we've felt. All of it. Take solace in that...there's a finite duration to this crap.

THANK HEAVENS YOU'RE STILL SINGLE.

Sending strength, Absolon.

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