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Cognitive Dissonance vs Duplicity

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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 4:31 PM on Wednesday, December 7th, 2022

I think education is always good. I am not sure it it would prevent affairs or not. I read tons of relationship books early in our marriage and invested a lot into that connection. But that part of marriage was easy, things were still new and full of hope.

The hard part comes when you are tired and don’t really want to keep putting the effort in. I have read in many different studies and books that a good portion of females who cheat feel done with the marriage on some level before the affair even starts. Men not as often, they often compartmentalize better and have no intentions or inclinations of leaving the marriage. I know there are lots of exceptions to that but reading here I definitely see a difference between male ws and female ws who come to this site. I was definitely having an exit affair, so maybe that data means diddly and I just connect with it because it was my situation.

I am not blaming the affair on the marriage at all.In reality a different decision, any different decision would have been a better one. And my h was not at all on that same page because I was too passive aggressive to communicate clearly. I was definitely feeling if he loved me or cared he would know.

But he did love me very much. When you don’t love yourself you don’t receive love the same way. You can’t believe they would because you feel so critical of yourself inside. Some of my biggest criticisms I assigned that we both saw me that way. I kept escalating the people pleasing and not getting a different response. It’s so crazy to go back and look at that person, but being fallible is the most human thing.

I do feel that affairs for those who haven’t been victimized by one (the bs) or perpetrated one (the ws) we can only see them through a pretty narrow lens. Even couples that I knew who went through it kept so much close to the vest. (And I get why)

But the reality is you would have to care for it to be preventative. I think most ws as so good at numbing their feelings. You can’t numb bad or good exclusively, you numb them all. And the deadness inside is such a big component.

So maybe the best education would center around better coping habits, self talk, etc. I honestly wish they would teach that more even in school. It’s just difficult to introduce that because coping can be part of spirituality and then the schools would be in murkier waters. I see the singer Jewel is creating a program for schools it would be interesting to see where that goes.

[This message edited by hikingout at 4:34 PM, Wednesday, December 7th]

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Oldwounds ( member #54486) posted at 5:12 PM on Wednesday, December 7th, 2022

All this should be discussed in pre-marriage classes. I wonder if it would help any?

My wife and I went through pre-marriage classes and an actual weekend camp our church sponsored.

We were a bit cynical about it, but then really enjoyed it. It was good information. We felt bullet proof even before we took the classes.

The last exercise was writing each other a letter about why we wanted to get married and what we loved about the other, and were told to keep them as a reminder if things got tough.

While I was in the Marine Corps, I heard a saying a few times that is really true:

Everyone has a plan until the first time they get punched in the mouth.

It applies to about anything and goes farther than most real life metaphors.

When our M took that hit, we were not ready for it.

I’m offering no excuses, there are none. But there are times that we are all more vulnerable than others. That’s just a fact.

As this thread continues, it is a fascinating discussion, because my perception has changed regarding both cognitive dissonance and the deception (or duplicity) my wife needed to avoid personal responsibility was all to protect her own fragile ego during her A. Whatever rationalizations made to choose infidelity all evaporate with the light of day.

All that said, sometimes this kind of topic feels like an exploration of moral superiority.

Maybe that’s my faith talking or simply my humanity and my own sense of empathy, but I know I spent moments on the slippery slope.

Positive attention from women is something that I have always had, which helps the old ego and it was easy to enforce my boundaries (because I didn’t NEED the attention- it was fine, but I didn’t need it). My wife was also always getting attention from men, and appeared to have the same strong boundaries I had. However, knowing how her family issues (and we all have some kind of family issues), I should have understood her esteem was more projection that real. Childhood trauma can set good people up to fail. Again, there are no good excuses and my wife doesn’t use ANY of her past to defend what she did. But I have spent six years trying to learn and understand.

In other words, I do think we’re all capable of employing cognitive dissonance and duplicity, but not all of us make the kind of choices to put us in such a spot. I think they are tools of a person trapped by choices or circumstances they didn’t anticipate.

So, it always comes back to are these tools of CD and duplicity used by a good person choosing bad or a bad person being bad? That’s when stacking up the rest of their life choices helps (i.e., good person as a parent, sibling, friend, etc.).

Married 36+ years, together 41+ yearsTwo awesome adult sons. Dday 6/16 4-year LTA Survived. M Restored."It is better to conquer our grief than to deceive it." — Seneca

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JasonCh ( member #80102) posted at 9:14 PM on Wednesday, December 7th, 2022

Thank you all for this discussion.

Oldwounds-- you wrote ;

In other words, I do think we’re all capable of employing cognitive dissonance and duplicity, but not all of us make the kind of choices to put us in such a spot. I think they are tools of a person trapped by choices or circumstances they didn’t anticipate.

Asking for a bit of clarification on the second sentence. Are you saying that cognitive dissonance and duplicity are tools of a person that is trapped by choices or circumstances? Would that be the only time those tools could be used for or just a subset of the situations that they might be used for?

Do you think then that given the same person and set of circumstances the same outcome would occur?

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Oldwounds ( member #54486) posted at 1:17 AM on Thursday, December 8th, 2022

Would that be the only time those tools could be used for or just a subset of the situations that they might be used for?

Cognitive dissonance is a tool used all the time outside of infidelity. Combat veterans, first responders, use it all the time. They see something horrible and then return home and put on a smile for the kids, the family and don’t bring the horrors of what they experienced to the dinner table. Both worlds exist, the horror show and the happy family.

Duplicity, well, that’s certainly a political tool. And sometimes in business.

Some folks don’t ever have a great relationship with the truth.

I just see WS use these tools to live in both worlds during an A or right after discovery.

Married 36+ years, together 41+ yearsTwo awesome adult sons. Dday 6/16 4-year LTA Survived. M Restored."It is better to conquer our grief than to deceive it." — Seneca

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 DobleTraicion (original poster member #78414) posted at 4:06 PM on Thursday, December 8th, 2022

Trdd- oh I do think we are in the same page. It was more I was trying to expand the thought.

For me, I ended up in the same place as you say because the people pleasing was selfish. I was doing it to get something… love, appreciation, a right to be in the marriage, to be seen a certain way, etc. My over-giving was transactional because it came with expectations of my husband.

People who cheat are being selfish when they do so but the selfish behavior is not an aberration even in a ws who appeared selfless. I also think you would find a large percentage of the time that people pleasers are very much trying to get something and it’s manipulative. Often you will find a PP to also be passive aggressive.

The selfishness all comes from that lack of self love that creates a void. The cheating comes when it’s combined with a lack of integrity and presence of opportunity. That lack of integrity is where The cognitive dissonance comes in. "‘I know this to be wrong, BUT…." There is a lot of convincing yourself you are not the villain of the story.

As for what Dobletraicion is saying - that it’s often compared to other bad coping - things like gambling, drugs, or even shoplifting - I think most affairs that have emotional components tend to be obsessive if not an addiction.

I don’t blame my affair on the addiction. When it started it was a series of bad decisions that should not have been made. The addiction could not have formed had that not happened. I am just saying that at some point there was an addiction to the happy chemicals flooding my brain.

In the context of cognitive dissonance you just keep rationalizing increasingly erratic behavior because that high becomes the focus of about every waking second of your life. I literally could not think about anything else.

It had nothing to do with the AP being so great (he wasn’t). It had to do with the narrative in my head that was created to deal with knowing what I was doing was very wrong. At some point it becomes like self-brainwashing. Ap good. Spouse bad. After all I couldn’t be the villain of my own story, yet the addiction kept the affair going. So the list of lies I told myself grew and grew because I couldn’t stop nor did I want to.

I see proof of what I am saying all over the posts on this site:

-the person the was was having an affair with made no sense. Inappropriate choice for whatever reason. Mine was decades older than me and misogynistic, something I would never have tolerated in a regular relationship

-we convince ourselves of bad narratives about our spouse

-we often have trouble going NC as if our self control has completely left the building

-we have these strange things that when they are said aloud after dday we know we have been lying to ourselves. Things like "you would like him" or "they are a good person" " ap is my soul mate" It’s all false justification.

I became utterly unrecognizable to even myself.

Looking back on it today it was the most moronic, idiotic, humiliating, desperate, disgusting, destructive experience of my life. I can’t fathom that I was so callous or so reverted back to an immature time of my life.

I can see how it started, I understand why I did it, and clearly made those decisions willingly. I just didn’t go in knowing where it would take me or who I would become in the process. How long it would take to heal and grow from it and the lasting impact it would have on our lives.

Duplicity was always there, but the mental gymnastics surrounding the cognitive dissonance created a lot of lying to myself that I found difficult to unwind in the aftermath because I believed all of it. This disconnect from reality was also devastating to my husband and derailed our R efforts for a very long time.

So in the end if it was just duplicity on it’s own I could have started immediately making sense, being empathetic, working to rebuild trust from day 1. The CD made that impossible for months because you have to be honest with yourself to be so for others. For a while he heard my illogical, broken way of thinking that would not have existed if it was duplicity only.

Hikingout, thank you for this. Your insights and reflections are very helpful.

ETA: I just thought of something. If you liken the high of an A to addiction, would you liken coming out of and affair as a type of withdrawal?

[This message edited by DobleTraicion at 4:52 PM, Thursday, December 8th]

"You'd figure that in modern times, people wouldn't feel the need to get married if they didn't agree with the agenda"

~ lascarx

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 DobleTraicion (original poster member #78414) posted at 4:20 PM on Thursday, December 8th, 2022

Cognitive dissonance is a tool used all the time outside of infidelity. Combat veterans, first responders, use it all the time. They see something horrible and then return home and put on a smile for the kids, the family and don’t bring the horrors of what they experienced to the dinner table. Both worlds exist, the horror show and the happy family.

Duplicity, well, that’s certainly a political tool. And sometimes in business.

Some folks don’t ever have a great relationship with the truth.

I just see WS use these tools to live in both worlds during an A or right after discovery.

Oldwounds, this is very interesting and fleshes out the whole, "Healthy/Needed CD" vs "Toxic/Destructive CD" theme that was touched on earlier but you have provided clearer examples of the former.

I postulate that the toxic/destructive version mutates from its incipiant form, that being intentional duplicity. Do you agree?

ETA: Another example of this could be the difference between privacy and secrecy for example.

[This message edited by DobleTraicion at 4:41 PM, Thursday, December 8th]

"You'd figure that in modern times, people wouldn't feel the need to get married if they didn't agree with the agenda"

~ lascarx

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 DobleTraicion (original poster member #78414) posted at 4:20 PM on Thursday, December 8th, 2022

Double post

[This message edited by DobleTraicion at 4:21 PM, Thursday, December 8th]

"You'd figure that in modern times, people wouldn't feel the need to get married if they didn't agree with the agenda"

~ lascarx

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Oldwounds ( member #54486) posted at 5:34 PM on Thursday, December 8th, 2022

JasonCh -

Sorry, somehow I missed your last question when I initially answered your post:

Do you think then that given the same person and set of circumstances the same outcome would occur?

I think anyone who engages in infidelity uses one or both of those tools to keep their worlds separate and their secret as safe as possible.

If you're asking, do these help someone cheat again?

Sure. But it is the menu (one or more) of bad boundaries, bad choices, poor esteem, poor character, unhealed trauma, etc., that leads someone to infidelity in the first place, then they use these tools to keep it rolling.

Now, if we're dealing with a bad person or a serial cheater, then they are ALWAYS using these tools, everyday until the next A kicks off.

Married 36+ years, together 41+ yearsTwo awesome adult sons. Dday 6/16 4-year LTA Survived. M Restored."It is better to conquer our grief than to deceive it." — Seneca

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Oldwounds ( member #54486) posted at 5:47 PM on Thursday, December 8th, 2022

I postulate that the toxic/destructive version mutates from its incipiant form, that being intentional duplicity. Do you agree?

ETA: Another example of this could be the difference between privacy and secrecy for example.

Overall, I think that cognitive dissonance is one of those pre-frontal cortex bonus programs that keeps the modern mammal sane in traumatic circumstances -- be it observed trauma outside of their control or trauma individually created. Some experiences in life are too big to process all at once and need to be in a box to be dealt with separately, at a different time. I don't know that CD mutates simply because someone is hiding from a bad situation they created, it is just a tool in the box utilized for good or ill.

To me, all duplicity is always intentional and rarely for any kind of good intention, although humans tend to rationalize truth can be at least temporarily suspended to protect others (i.e., a government secret to keep the general populace from panic about a threat, yet present that all is well up front).

Or the worst rationalization a BS hears post discovery -- it was a secret to "protect" us or worse, a secret that would never be discovered. No way to spin that into a positive.

Married 36+ years, together 41+ yearsTwo awesome adult sons. Dday 6/16 4-year LTA Survived. M Restored."It is better to conquer our grief than to deceive it." — Seneca

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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 5:52 PM on Thursday, December 8th, 2022

Yes, I definitely had withdrawal. I wasn’t a bunny boiler in the sense that I did abide by no contact but let’s just say I can understand how people become unhinged like that in the aftermath. I had to find ways to deal with that lack of dopamine flooding.

I took up running, I ate foods that were supposed to help with seratonin, I was treated for OCD because of the obsessive, intrusive thoughts. In withdrawal, your brain is working against you and wants to continue to prolong fantasy thinking to get at least the smaller hits.

Again, this is not because I loved the AP, or because there was anything special there. This was more a combo of biology and escapism. Coming out of an affair is one of the darkest things I ever experienced as I have never felt so helpless or out of control. Suicidal thoughts, lack of focus, difficulty being around people, extreme anxiety, bad sleep patterns, forgetfulness, depression, Etc.

Gamblers also go through withdrawal. They too are addicted to the dopamine flooding and have to be treated. It’s very very similar. The drugs come from your own brain.

Not everyone who has an affair has addiction. I can see how an untreated person can become a serial cheater or have back to back affairs. In my darkest moments I considered maybe I could find someone else and make the pain stop. I think the only thing that saved me is I had started therapy immediately and then confessed a short time later. Needing to put that transparency into our relationship helped me be accountable until I got more stable.

The only thing I can’t speak to is alcoholics and drug addicts have cravings. I don’t know how that is the same or differs. I am sure there are ws who white knuckle it because a good percentage reoffend.

For me, I do not crave another affair. I would rather stick a fork in my eye. However, I also have shored up a lot of the issues that made one so appealing to me. I am also vigilant to stay dedicated to self care, check-ins from time to time with therapy, gratitude rituals, exercise, keeping a connection with myself, and practice open and honesty within my relationships.

I still have some of the people pleasing behaviors but I keep it to a baseline if I want to do things to make others happy there is nothing wrong with that as long as I don’t self abandon in the process. I also keep a check that I am doing it without expectations so to avoid manipulative behaviors with it.

So when I look back at my massive recovery efforts I don’t think some of them would have been needed if it hadn’t been addiction with the corresponding withdrawal.

[This message edited by hikingout at 5:55 PM, Thursday, December 8th]

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 DobleTraicion (original poster member #78414) posted at 12:51 PM on Friday, December 9th, 2022

I think education is always good. I am not sure it it would prevent affairs or not. I read tons of relationship books early in our marriage and invested a lot into that connection.

I smiled when I read this due to my own experience. When my 2nd wife and I were preparing for marriage, we were determined to lay in as many preventative measures as possible, both being survivors of brutal betrayals. We went to 3 therapists, took a lot of tests dealing with our personality profiles, had our family of origin trees graphed and overlaid, so we could see where the trouble spots may be. We were truly therapy junkies. We talked til we were blue in the face. Swept every corner. Our therapists loved us because we were eager to answer every question. They didnt have to dig or pry thoughts and feelings out of us, we just gushed and actually pried more thoughts and questions out of them laugh

Did it work? Well, I can tell you that in our 20 + years together to date, we have fallen back on that counsel many many times and have participated in countless tune up sessions "just because".

Long story short, we found that pre marriage therapy to be invaluable to us and we took it very seriously. Now, it was not our first rodeo either. We were deeply in love but also very realistic and approached marriage as a life long project that would take more effort than anything else in our lives. Due to our betrayals, we also had a bit of a jaundiced eye which served us both well in our preparations. We were pretty brutal both with ourselves and with each other.

Ive told my kids and anyone who asks, that pre-marriage therapy can be invaluable IF you take is seriously and are open to working hard on your own issues prior to tying the knot.

I just wish I had been this intentional the first time around.

ETA: Bounderies were a big focus in all of our therapies as was the difference between secrecy and privacy.

[This message edited by DobleTraicion at 11:09 PM, Saturday, March 11th]

"You'd figure that in modern times, people wouldn't feel the need to get married if they didn't agree with the agenda"

~ lascarx

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 DobleTraicion (original poster member #78414) posted at 12:30 PM on Saturday, December 10th, 2022

Okdwounds, you said:

Some folks don’t ever have a great relationship with the truth.

This sentence stuck with me. It has bounced around my head for a while. I think of some other closely related concepts Ive heard that actually may be the result of this truth. For instance:

• Some people are not attached to their word, i.e. the marriage vow

• Some people are befuddled/shocked by natural consequences.

• Some people are loosely attached to what they say

• Some people see bounderies as situational

See where Im going with all if this? The spin off of being "loosely attached to the truth" may well be the origin of duplicity CD...thoughts?

"You'd figure that in modern times, people wouldn't feel the need to get married if they didn't agree with the agenda"

~ lascarx

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 DobleTraicion (original poster member #78414) posted at 5:33 PM on Saturday, January 7th, 2023

As I continue to dig into this, I keep finding insightful posts from others on this subject and just ran across this one that tackles the subject from the viewpoint of compartmentalization. They posted the following in order to assist a WW:

"I'd like to offer you some things I learned the hard way that may be of help to you.

The first is the idea of compartmentalization.

When we give ourselves permission to do that which is deeply wrong and harmful to ourselves and those around us, we do so by putting it into a compartment. We wall off that self and what it is doing off from the rest of us. We put all the bad, secret stuff in the bad self compartment, and we pretend that compartment doesn't exist when we are in our normal life. We pretend there is no connection between the two. And we focus on all the good things we do in our normal good life to reassure ourselves that we are a good person.

Part of the work in front of you is tearing down your compartments. This is hard work. You built them lovingly, brick by brick, and put a lot of energy into maintaining them. Even now, when you are under such terrible stress, you are going to turn to them for comfort. The line of thought is, "but I was a good mother, a good friend, a good business partner. All the good stuff has to outweigh the bad."

And you will also think to yourself, now I will just throw out the person in the bad compartment. She will go away, I will be again and only the person in the good compartment, and that is how I will change and be safe.

It is important that you start to work against this line of thinking.

The hard truth is there never were two compartments, two yous, a bad secret you and a healthy real you. There was only ever you. The hard work now is accepting that all of it, the bad as well as the good, was you. Your choices, your needs put first.

One of the biggest reasons that you have to fight with yourself to tear down this wall between the compartments is becuause that wall does not exist for your husband and your kids. They are going to be struggling to understand how you could "pretend," as they see it, when you were with them, to be someone you weren't really. They will not accept any answer that starts with "that was not the real me." They will want to understand how you could live with them while hiding so much, that would affect them so much when the truth came out.

The only way to answer them is after the compartment comes down. It won't come overnight. Your consellor will help you.

For the short run, I just want you to recognize that all those "but I did this, that, the third thing in my good self compartment" are ultimately not going to help. They will offer you a hit of short-term comfort, but they are not going to help you understand who you really are, or understand what you need to change about yourself.

The other point I want to raise for you to think about is empathy. I sometimes think all affairs are, at bottom, a catapstrophic failure of empathy.

When we are functioning as well-integrated people with a well-functioning emotional range, our sense of empathy is sharpest for those closest to us. A very clear statement of this is the old cliche, "cut him or her, I bleed." When you first bonded with your husband and I imagine for many years thereafter, this would have been and I am sure was true for you too. The thought of an affair would have been repulsive, because the very thought of it would have caused you to feel, like an advance echo, his pain, if you were to betray him. Imagining his pain would have caused you pain. Cut him, you bleed.

In an affair the first thing that happens, long before other boundaries are crossed, is that natural flux of empathy for your life partner gets attenuated. ... You still think of him being cut--that after all is why affairs are kept hidden--but you don't FEEL it. You think of him being cut (if he finds out that is, which you put a lot of effort into ensuring won't happen) but you don't bleed at the very thought. This is the first and greatest betrayal, of your true best self and of your partner. Its the self-betrayal from which the others flow.

In many cases that sense of empathy gets transferred to the affair partner. In some cases, and yours may be one, I think it gets transferred to yourself. You got to a place where she felt only your own pain over something your thought others had and you didn't and no longer had any empathy for anyone who would be hurt by acts you took to address that.

Rebuilding empathy, like tearing down compartments, doesn't happen overnight. It is hard to stay engaged with someone in terrible pain, when you caused it. You will want to retreat, either to close yourself off or to push your shame to the foreground to put the focus back on you and your feelings and needs. There is no quick road. But awareness can help. Be aware that, in a thousand subtle ways, you have been blunting your sense of empathy for your husband. Having it come back is like having pain when a dead or numb nerve comes to life."

I really like this and found it helpful in my journey to continue to make sense of my old betrayal. There may be some who do as well. Feel free to respond.

[This message edited by DobleTraicion at 5:40 PM, Saturday, January 7th]

"You'd figure that in modern times, people wouldn't feel the need to get married if they didn't agree with the agenda"

~ lascarx

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Tanner ( Guide #72235) posted at 12:20 AM on Sunday, March 12th, 2023

Bump by request

Dday Sept 7 2019 doing well in R BH M 32 years

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 DobleTraicion (original poster member #78414) posted at 1:28 AM on Sunday, March 12th, 2023

Reviving this thread to pose a question to WWs and WHs. If you brought up the concept of cognitive dissonance with your BS either one on one or in therapy, how did they receive it? Were they accepting or did they reject it and if so, what was their response?

"You'd figure that in modern times, people wouldn't feel the need to get married if they didn't agree with the agenda"

~ lascarx

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Owl6118 ( member #42806) posted at 2:47 PM on Sunday, March 12th, 2023

I really like this and found it helpful in my journey to continue to make sense of my old betrayal. There may be some who do as well. Feel free to respond.

I'm glad you found this helpful, truly. FWIW, I still stand behind every word of it, all these years later.

I'm sorry you have cause to try to understand this, but I really commend you and admire you for all the work you are putting in to trying. It speaks well of your own empathy and integrity.

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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 4:24 PM on Sunday, March 12th, 2023

Double traction,

We talked about cognitive dissonance.

I don’t think h thought a lot about any of it early on. The psychological undercurrents that lead to the affair isn’t something that is helpful to a bs especially not at first when these concepts are first being discussed.

We both first had to agree that I did what I wanted to do. Then we looked at why I would want to, and I set about changing what was wrong in my life that made that an appealing choice. Then we worked to build a new relationship.

Cognitive dissonance is a small piece of why someone can have dual beliefs they are holding at the same time. A ws is a walking set of contradictions. They did something to ruin the marriage and then beg to keep it. I think the following things are more important (not meant to be an all inclusive list, just general):

-anything that was happening with the ap isn’t looked at as good or healthy and has lengthy evidence they can site as to why they have changed thier mind

-no part of the ws blame the bs for their behavior, or blames anyone else but themselves Full Accountability

-long term demonstration of remorse and trying to make amends

-long term personal changes and reflection

-unwavering commitment to building trust, building a new relationship, and providing an environment that the bs can heal in

-building new coping mechanisms

-

So in essence I don’t think any bs would be like "oh cognitive dissonance" of course that explains it.

I made a decision to do something I wanted without regard of what it would do to my husband and that led to a lot of internal conflict but it would not have existed without entering the situation.

I don’t know if that answers the question.

[This message edited by hikingout at 4:28 PM, Sunday, March 12th]

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 DobleTraicion (original poster member #78414) posted at 11:58 PM on Sunday, March 12th, 2023

Thank you. Im going to take some time to process this input.

[This message edited by DobleTraicion at 12:00 AM, Monday, March 13th]

"You'd figure that in modern times, people wouldn't feel the need to get married if they didn't agree with the agenda"

~ lascarx

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 DobleTraicion (original poster member #78414) posted at 11:29 PM on Wednesday, March 15th, 2023

OK, I have had a few days to mull this over. I took a long power walk, have a glass of water with lemon beside me, sittin on my patio and Im ready to put a few thoughts into words here.

First of all, thanks again Owl6118 for that insightful post. I literally PMd a struggling WW that very quote.

Hikingout, thank you for your response. Im going to take this in segments:

I don’t think h thought a lot about any of it early on. The psychological undercurrents that lead to the affair isn’t something that is helpful to a bs especially not at first when these concepts are first being discussed.

We both first had to agree that I did what I wanted to do. Then we looked at why I would want to, and I set about changing what was wrong in my life that made that an appealing choice. Then we worked to build a new relationship.

Id be shocked if CD was one of the first things any couple mentioned in the early days of working through infidelity. Emotional upheaval (to put it lightly), rules the day for quite a while.

Cognitive dissonance is a small piece of why someone can have dual beliefs they are holding at the same time. A ws is a walking set of contradictions. They did something to ruin the marriage and then beg to keep it.

And here again is the rub for me. The mental wrestling match in the midst of my infidelity post mortem. The idea of holding on two diametrically opposed ideas at the same time. I understand compartmentalization which happens all the time in constructive ways in the normal course of life, but in this case, one is good, the other inherently evil.

I guess I was wondering how many BSs accepted this concept when it was brought up down the road. I think Ive exhausted this topic for now, at least for myself. Thank you all.

"You'd figure that in modern times, people wouldn't feel the need to get married if they didn't agree with the agenda"

~ lascarx

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hikingout ( member #59504) posted at 1:36 PM on Thursday, March 16th, 2023

It would be hard to say.

I can say that in my case, my husband now does understand it, but only because he has now experienced it.

I will drill down for you a bit further and tie this with the compartmentalization post you quoted.

Numbing is a big part of the affair. So the reason you can hold two concepts at the same time is you are never thinking about those two concepts cohesively. It’s actually part of the compartmentalizing in my opinion.

When two conflicting feelings/thoughts happen at once they often oscillate. Now imagine the ones that would lead you out of the confusion are suppressed because now you are getting such highs from it that you justify harder. You numb more. You push away the thoughts more easily in favor of being in your fantasy bubble.

Empathy is impossible during an affair, but you have none for anyone involved because you also push out of your head you are destroying the Ap and this bs too. In that way it’s why even if people claim to love each other in an affair it could never be pure because you don’t care about what’s best for that person. You begin to only care what feels best for you. That’s why a lot of us present like narcissistic people during that time.

We experience this as humans all the time, it’s just not put together with secrecy which causes the issue to compound. There are no external check points, and pretty soon our head is swirling like spaghetti.

Think about the worst thing you did or the worst lie you told, what were your opposing views?

7 years of hard work - WS and BS - Reconciled

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