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Newest Member: PowerWithin

New Beginnings :
now what?

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 equallycorrect (original poster new member #62144) posted at 1:24 PM on Sunday, April 24th, 2022

I posted the beginning of my story a long time ago if someone wants to have a look at these two posts. The short story: I was blindsided by my Wife’s affair. She eventually stopped the affair, but then we remained ‘stuck’, her not wanting it. I was ready to move on and continue our relationship. After 4 difficult years post affair, we finally called it quits and filed for divorce. She is now dating women (something she never expressed interest in until after the affair).

I could go on with the details (which is a variation on stories read on this site - a midlife crisis and my ex-spouse has become a completely different person), but these are not important to my central question.

My question is, now what? Thinking back to my decision to get married or how I felt our marriage was going before her affair and I don’t see major red flags. I respected my ex, and thought she was an amazing person. She was better than me in so many ways and I very much respected her.

I read my ex’s journal to find the answers that I had been looking for. Why? And what happened? In my case, my ex found a man she was attracted to, this thought entered her mind and she could not displace it from her consciousness. Over a span of two months, she went from devoted wife to an affair and then not able to come back to the marriage.

I often think about what I could have done differently (and being stronger and more forceful in response to her craziness), but I still don’t think this would have helped.

I want to find love again, but I’m looking for a lesson. How does one protect from this? Are there characteristics of someone that makes them more susceptible to affairs? Perhaps this is impossible. But, how does one move on from this? How do you trust someone again knowing that a marriage can fall apart so quickly? How do you bring yourself to a mental state to be vulnerable again?

thanks for reading.

posts: 3   ·   registered: Jan. 6th, 2018   ·   location: Connecticut
id 8731591
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morningglory ( member #80236) posted at 1:33 PM on Sunday, April 24th, 2022

OP, she wasn't a "devoted wife" if she was susceptible to the attentions of another man. It's as simple as that. Devoted means that even when another attractive person shows an interest, you show zero interest in return, because you're already in a committed relationship.

Potential cheaters don't look any different from anyone else. They often have all kinds of good qualities that are unrelated to being faithful in a romantic relationship. Sometimes there are obvious red flags (not keeping promises, treating you poorly, talking a lot about an ex, rationalizing cheating as acceptable when discussing the matter in casual conversation, etc.), but sometimes there aren't and the victim is just blindsided, as you were.

One piece of advice for the future is to have in-depth pre-marital counseling before marrying again. This will require you to really get to know the woman's values, which are the key to whether she is likely to cheat or not. A lot of people get married these days without being completely transparent about their values and their expectations of marriage. A fiancee refusing to attend pre-marital counseling, even though you've explained what happened in your last marriage and how important you think counseling is, would be a red flag of its own. A fiancee who, in counseling, stated that she felt adultery was understandable when one partner was unhappy or unfulfilled, would be another red flag.

Even thorough pre-marital counseling isn't foolproof because people can lie about their values in counseling. However, just like keeping an eye open for red flags, this is one more step you take to protect yourself in the future, just like you put on your seatbelt when you drive a car, even though it isn't guaranteed to keep you from getting injured in a crash.

[This message edited by morningglory at 2:09 PM, Sunday, April 24th]

posts: 174   ·   registered: Apr. 15th, 2022
id 8731593
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phmh ( member #34146) posted at 6:21 PM on Sunday, April 24th, 2022

When I was single, the book "The science of happily ever after" by Ty Tashiro helped me. While there are no guarantees, there are personality traits that make someone an undesirable partner (including cheating, but even faithful people can make bad partners!)

I've been happily with my boyfriend for almost 7 years now, and I credit this book (in part) for me deciding to date him.

As for how to move on from this - make your life into what you want it to be. If you find a partner, great! But if you never do, your life will be full and rich with friends, family, chosen family, interests, hobbies, etc.

My life is so much better than it was when I was married -- because after my divorce I started to live life intentionally. What really matters? Where should I focus my time and efforts? I made a ton of friends, had incredible experiences, and finally did find the man who will likely be my partner for the rest of my life. But if something weird happens and that's not the case? I know I'll still be ok because of the life I've built for myself.

What makes you happy? Who are your people? (You may not even know this, if you spent your life trying to make your partner happy, as I did when married.) What a wonderful opportunity you have now to build for yourself the life you should have been living all along!!!

Me: BW, divorced, now fabulous and happy!

Married: 11 years, no kids

Character is destiny

posts: 4981   ·   registered: Dec. 8th, 2011
id 8731646
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The1stWife ( member #58832) posted at 10:33 PM on Sunday, April 24th, 2022

People and emotions are unpredictable.

People change ad us evidenced by your X’s decision to put no effort into the marriage.

How will you know if it will happen again? You won’t.

You could very well be blindsided again.

Thing is you will be better Prepared having been down this road.

I don’t hide from experiences or people. I just hit burned by the pastor of my former church. However I will join a new church and just be wiser. Not all church leaders are like the minister I just left.

Same with dating. Some good people are out there. You just have to weed out the crazies 🤪

Funny story. My sibling was widowed young. After many years alone - accepted a date. One hour into the date the idiot says to my sibling - we should get married we get along so well.

Didn’t date again for another year. The date was a crazy 😜 desperate loser and it took awhile for my sibling to get over that.

You will survive it. Good advice previously. Live your best life. If someone comes along, great. If not, that’s great too.

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled.

posts: 11901   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
id 8731713
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grubs ( member #77165) posted at 4:02 PM on Monday, April 25th, 2022

I often think about what I could have done differently (and being stronger and more forceful in response to her craziness), but I still don’t think this would have helped.

I want to find love again, but I’m looking for a lesson. How does one protect from this? Are there characteristics of someone that makes them more susceptible to affairs? Perhaps this is impossible. But, how does one move on from this? How do you trust someone again knowing that a marriage can fall apart so quickly?

Unfortunately not all of those who cheat come with obvious tells. What you can do is hold your boundaries on what you should and will accept in a partner. "her craziness" for one. How much time and pain would you have saved if you were stronger, not to diminish her crazy, but to walk away sooner because it was not ok of a partner to inflict that craziness on you. Relationships, especially new ones, can lead to heartbreak. It's the ante to play. What you need to do as a BS, is define your needs and be willing to walk away if they aren't met. Don't ignore red flags. Be willing to think through red flags rationally. Not every time someone's late or not where they say they were going is a sign they are cheating. Sometimes plans change. But a consistent pattern shouldn't be ignored. The biggest correction I made post D is I was unwilling to be with someone who didn't invest as much as I into the relationship.

posts: 1138   ·   registered: Jan. 21st, 2021
id 8731865
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