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Infidelity in Movies

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 morningglory (original poster member #80236) posted at 6:02 PM on Sunday, June 19th, 2022

The "Triggered out of nowhere" thread got me thinking about this. There are soooo many movies out there, contemporary and classic, that showcase infidelity and don't show it's horrific impact. I assume that's because so many people in Hollywood cheat. It would be hard for them to show the reality of infidelity's impact on the betrayed spouse.

I thought those of us who are film buffs might enjoy sharing movies that either romanticize/gloss over infidelity, or that that show it's brutal impact on the betrayed spouse and the family. I'll start with some movies/shows:

Movies that show the destructiveness of infidelity, both PA's and EA's:

Brokeback Mountain (movie is ostensibly about the WWs, but it shows their affair's collateral damage on their wives and families better than any other movie I've ever seen)

The Ice Storm (realistic WWs and miserable BW)

One Hour Photo (realistic WWs and devastated, rugsweeping BW)

Gone with the Wind (Scarlett's EA realistically ruins her relationship with Rhett)

Irreconcilable Differences (good marriage ruined by an affair, long-lasting impact on BW and child)

Movies that romanticize or gloss over the destructiveness of infidelity:

Same Time, Next Year (this one is the worst- it's practically a Hallmark card to cheaters)

The Bridges of Madison County (protagonist is a WW)

The Prince of Tides (protagonist is a WW)

The Graduate (protagonist is an AP)

The Last Picture Show (protagonist is an AP)

Terms of Endearment (protagonist is a madhatter)

When Harry Met Sally (Sally's best friend is an AP)

Fatal Attraction (WW is the victim of an aggressive AP)

The Wife (protagonist was the OW who married her AP)

The Handmaid's Tale series (protagonist was the OW who married her AP- this wasn't in the book so it's interesting that they chose to put this in the series)

A lot of Woody Allen movies (surprise surprise)

[This message edited by morningglory at 2:24 AM, Monday, June 20th]

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FireandWater ( member #80084) posted at 6:22 PM on Sunday, June 19th, 2022

We were watching Friends reruns the other night. One episode was the one where Ross and Rachel were having issues and he hooked up with the girl from the copy place. When Rachel found out, Ross said, "We were on a break!" Rachel didn't see it that way and instead considered that he cheated.

WH asked me later if that episode was triggering for me. He said he thought about it later and was wondering if it made me feel badly or otherwise traumatized (we're just over 3 months from D-Day, so things are still pretty raw). I said no, it didn't trigger me. I've seen the same episode several times and I didn't think twice about it. I guess it's because their situation was totally different than ours (on-again, off-again dating relationship vs. married for 34 years). I did thank WH for asking, as I thought it was nice that he was concerned. I see that as him trying to be more mindful about my feelings, which shows some progress.

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Bulcy ( member #74034) posted at 7:09 PM on Sunday, June 19th, 2022

TV and movies are awful for triggers. Barely a day goes by without something infidelity related coming on screen...FFS it even came up in an episode of "Young Sheldon". A comedy about a twelve year old scientist.....BAM! Have some infidelity to trigger you and your BS. I now that if I'm feeling it the BS is feeling it ten times more than I am.

I do try to bring this up in conversation or at the very least I will hold her hand to try and acknowledge I have seen that trigger. Even sending "hug and kiss" emojis when were were watching a film with her parents.

We spoke only a couple of days ago that I need to discuss my feelings when triggered as well as just making it obvious to BS that I have noticed.

For me the biggest infidelity programmes

- Any drama commissioned by the BBC. Often this does portray the WS in a bad light, but it does seem to be EVERY drama they release.

- Comedies often seem to have flippant views in affairs. An episode of "The IT crowd" made a joke about office affairs. This seems to reach as far back as the 1970s but I certainly remember more recent shows laughing about infidelity and even domestic abuse (I have distinct memories of watching comedies where the male protagonist is physically intimidating to his wife). Brooklyn 99 did it too.

- We watched "The Craigslist Killer" recently (see above) we could not turn this off as we would if it were BS and I as we were with FIL and MIL. This covers infidelity and domestic abuse as well as a whole raft of male privilege and show scenes where the BS and wife of the murderer defends him, refusing to believe he could be that person.

It's hard to watch thing at the moment, we seem to be watching the same old programmes on Netflix through fear of more triggers. We mast have a dozen or more series we have started watching that have become so dominated by infidelity we have stopped. I'm not sure we differentiate between those which gloss over or show the real impact of infidelity particularly, either one is a trigger for us.

WH (40's) Me. Emotional affair (2017), Physical affair (2003) and online affairs, Two physical affairs (2000). D-Day's 2003, August '17, multiple discoveries through 2018,19 and 20, Jan 21 and 2022

My history is not my destiny

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DailyGratitude ( member #79494) posted at 7:28 PM on Sunday, June 19th, 2022

Pretty much everything I watch on TV or streaming services have cheating so I stopped watching them altogether. Sports is the only safe thing to watch!! Infidelity is glorified and its consequences are minimized by Hollywood that we are conditioned to believe it’s ok to cheat! It is no wonder cheating is so prevalent in our society. Couple that with life’s stresses and mental health issues, we are seeing an infidelity epidemic.

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

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getbusyliving ( member #71058) posted at 9:46 PM on Sunday, June 19th, 2022

Love Actually. It was a xmas movie we would watch - I loved this movie pre ddays but would still cry at the infidelity and how Emma Thompson quietly went upstairs, heart broken, Joni Mitchell playing in the background, then goes back downstairs to be staunch with her children. After dday I would just feel so numb watching the infidelity parts and my daughter made a comment about the irony of watching it and I realised my numbness was a trigger. Still love Joni Mitchell though.

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MumaBear1978 ( member #79830) posted at 10:25 PM on Sunday, June 19th, 2022

I’m finding it harder and harder to find any tv show or movie that doesn’t have infidelity in it somewhere.

During the 3 months that WH came back home, we started several shows and had to stop them because I was getting too upset to continue watching. I hate how normalized cheating is. I hate how the devastation to the BS never seems to be shown.

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Summertime22 ( member #79796) posted at 10:58 PM on Sunday, June 19th, 2022

Before being betrayed those films didn’t register with me at all. I felt nothing, in fact (I’m am now ashamed to say) I looked at those women with pity, almost distain. ‘Just move on’ I used to think. Especially in hand maids where Luke’s wife is made to look like a crazy ex. He shouted down the phone at his ex wife and was made to look like a hero, a good man! The film made his wife look like she is unhinged and spoiling everyone’s fun and not moving forward.

Let me say that I would never look at a film in that way ever again! Now I KNOW how it feels, the utter devastation. The betrayal. The destruction it leaves behind. We all know the cost of that on our own health and lives.

Being betrayed has changed me, my perspective, my compassion and understanding. I think that is a good thing but it really did come at the highest price. It has been sadly my greatest teacher.

I wish I didn’t have to pay it. But as they say in the UK it’s ‘character building’.

Sending you all hope and peace for the future.

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WhatsRight ( member #35417) posted at 6:53 AM on Monday, June 20th, 2022


Emma Thompson in "Love Actually"…her performance was spot on.

"Noone can make you feel inferior without your concent." Eleanor Roosevelt

I will not be vanquished. Rose Kennedy

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getbusyliving ( member #71058) posted at 8:07 AM on Monday, June 20th, 2022

@WhatsRight, Emma was probably channelling her own pain with infidelity.

I have always liked Under the Tuscan Sun even post DDays At least it showed how she was blindsided and the ongoing pain of it and I also really felt like running away to Italy on numerous occasions. grin

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ChamomileTea ( Moderator #53574) posted at 7:26 PM on Monday, June 20th, 2022

I don't really get triggered by movies or tv anymore. It's more like noticing the infidelity. Although, I would say that maybe the exception was Hope Gap with Annette Bening and Bill Nighy, and it wasn't really the movie itself which floored me, it was the comments that I read about the movie while I was looking at reviews. There's this gargantuan lack of insight in people who haven't experienced cheating, and while the reviews made me angry, they also confirmed for me that people just don't 'get it' until it's happened to them.

This was a great movie if you are into character dramas. As a betrayed wife, Annette Bening's character, Grace, was as familiar to me as my own face. Bening knocks it out of the park. She's utterly believable. Bill Nighy is good in everything and this is no exception. As a conflict avoidant WS who absolutely refuses to engage in his marriage or the ruination he's brought to his betrayed wife, you just want to wring his neck. Meanwhile, the adult son plays the part of Switzerland being completely unable to form a moral judgment or opinion of his own. The movie doesn't make judgments either. It allows the audience to draw it's own conclusion.

What shocked me was how many people in those reviews found Grace to be the villain of the piece. Her emotional response made them that uncomfortable. They found her to be a harpy of sorts who was making her poor husband miserable and who wouldn't allow him to move on and be happy. What I saw was a woman who just wanted her husband to participate in their marriage and who got broadsided by his betrayal.

Anyway, the good news here is that eventually triggers fade but our hard won knowledge stays with us and sharpens our bullshit detectors. I can spot a conflict avoidant perpetual victim at fifty paces now. laugh

BW: 2004(online EAs), 2014 (multiple PAs)
Married 40 years; in R with fWH for 8

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Unhinged ( member #47977) posted at 7:48 PM on Monday, June 20th, 2022

If I ever meet the author of "Crazy, Stupid Love," there will be blood.

Married 2005
D-Day April, 2015
Divorced May, 2022

"The Universe is not short on wake-up calls. We're just quick to hit the snooze button." -Brene Brown

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crazyblindsided ( member #35215) posted at 8:40 PM on Monday, June 20th, 2022

Eat, Pray, Love is another one rolleyes

[This message edited by crazyblindsided at 8:41 PM, Monday, June 20th]

fBS/fWS(me):49 Mad-hattered after DD (2008)
XWS:51 Serial Cheater, Diagnosed NPD
DD(19) DS(16)
XWS cheated the entire M spanning 19 years
Discovered D-Days 2006,2008,2012, False R 2014

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