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Cognitive Dissonance vs Duplicity

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crazyblindsided ( member #35215) posted at 8:28 PM on Monday, August 22nd, 2022

spending months and possibly years with a semi or non remorseful spouse is a soul killer. Its like standing in the middle of a debri field after a disaster of the WS's making of which they are taking little to no responsibility and saying (while your own body is smoldering) "lets go another round." But I digress.

This was also me for several years after False R, what I didn't realize is soon I would reach a point of no return where you no longer care for your WS or the M. I straddled limbo for so long and am only realizing now after being separated for 3 years that I would have been better off leaving after I had discovered the A and the broken NC. I truly believe not being around the perpetrator stops the ruminating and you are then able to heal. R should only be accomplished with a WS that ends their A immediately and is remorseful. Everything else seems to poison the M, hence why you see so many here still struggling with R or coming back years later not healed.

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
Divorcing

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 DobleTraicion (original poster member #78414) posted at 9:39 PM on Monday, August 22nd, 2022

Thanks crazyblindsided. So sorry for all you've gone through. Your comments really validate both my pain back then and the way I percieve it now. I certainly regret the way I handled it then. I actually have fantasiees where I end it and go no contact for good. Truth is she love bombed me for a bit, I lapped it up, and ended up in a wasteland barren of affection for the better part of a decade. Her remorselesness was palpable. I thought that I was determine enough for the both of us. What an idiot.

Sure wish I could go back, grab my younger self by the lapels, and talk some sense into younger me. I DO try and talk sense to those I see making the same tragic mistake(s), that is for damn sure.

[This message edited by DobleTraicion at 11:24 AM, Wednesday, August 24th]

"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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Seeking2Forgive ( member #78819) posted at 6:43 AM on Tuesday, August 23rd, 2022

Now, here is an offshoot of the cognitive dissonance concept that I know is a huge head scratcher for all betrayeds who are dealing with differing levels of remorseful WSs and that is the statement, "I never stopped loving you." HUH????? How do you claim love while doing the MOST unloving thing to your spouse that can be done. I have heard and read it over and over again. Its maddening to hear. It is maddening to read. It does not compute! And yet, through sheer repetition, there must be something to it and I think that something may well be cognitive dissonance. Your thoughts?

There are different types or aspects of love and I think that's how it can be true that they love you even as they're hurting you. But it's not as true as the typical WS seeking R would like you to believe.

My FWW professed to have never stopped loving me, and I believe that's true. But I think many aspects of her love had faded to the point where what was left was mostly a kind of familial love (Storge), and the pragmatic love of a relationship of convenience (Pragma). In describing our relationship to a friend after Dday she said, "he's been good to me and we have a lot of history," before going on to describe how amazing her relationship with OM was. That captures the familial and pragmatic aspects of Storge and Pragma perfectly. But that's all she could say. She had shifted all the fun, romantic, and passionate aspects of love to the OM.

I think this is very much the kind of empty love that many WS reference when they utter the cliche, "I love you but I'm not in love with you." There is still something there. It's nothing like what they vowed to maintain for you, but it's something that they can seize on later. My FWW always took great exception to any suggestion that you can't love someone and treat them the way she did. I think it touched a nerve for her.

When love fades to that point and the WS has engaged in systematic tearing down of the BS to justify what they're doing, their empathy for their BS falls to practically nothing. It's a very low bar someone so selfish to overcome.

I remember that after Dday while she was on the fence I was stunned by her practically arrogant attitude. I asked her, "Don't you even feel guilty about what you've done?" Her answer was, "I'm surprised at how little guilt I feel." I'm sure that was true at the time. She thought very little of my feelings. It was all about her.

Me: 60, BS -- Her: 59, FWS -- Dday: 11/15/03 -- Married 37 yrs -- Reconciled

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jb3199 ( member #27673) posted at 11:58 AM on Tuesday, August 23rd, 2022

How do you claim love while doing the MOST unloving thing to your spouse that can be done. I have heard and read it over and over again. Its maddening to hear. It is maddening to read. It does not compute! And yet, through sheer repetition, there must be something to it and I think that something may well be cognitive dissonance. Your thoughts?

My thought is that I fully believe when a wayward, or even former wayward says this, that they believe it to be true. 100%.

I also think(and in my case, know) that the betrayed do not believe that their partner loved them during this time.

Whether it be CD, delusion, or absolution in their belief, it will never change my mind. My wife did not love me then. Her actions spoke loud and clear. And let me be fair---she KNOWS exactly how I feel about this, and does not try to change my mind. It really doesn't matter what she believes about this; it matters what I believe about this.

Did you ever see The Rainmaker? It's like when Claire Danes is beat up, again, in the hospital because she just can't get it through her thick head how much her husband loves her.

One's perception is their reality.

BH-50s
WW-50s
2 boys
Married almost 30yrs.

All work and no play has just cost me my wife--Gary Puckett
D-Day(s): Enough
Accepting that I can/may end this marriage 7/2/14

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 DobleTraicion (original poster member #78414) posted at 4:10 PM on Tuesday, August 23rd, 2022

Seeking2Forgive

Thanks for pitching in again. You said:

There are different types or aspects of love and I think that's how it can be true that they love you even as they're hurting you. But it's not as true as the typical WS seeking R would like you to believe.

Im am not going to speak to your over all personal experience, but want to weigh in on the first and last paragraphs.

I have moved my stance to include cognative dissonance along with duplicity, both initial and ongoing, but the concept of different kinds of love for the BS during the A is a bridge too far for me. Either the WS loves them as they professed to love, as a spouse deserves to be loved, as the WS committed to love their BS at the altar where they took their "vows" (dont get me started on that subject), or they never did and the A just revealed that ugly truth. Now, I do believe that this terrible revelation can spur a remorseful wayward to learn, maybe for the first time in their life, what that love, truly committed love for a spouse, is really all about. My firm belief is that, up until that time, they had bought into a cheap immitation, whereas the BS had honestly thought it was authentic (I sure did). All else, to me, is equivocation and rationalization to try and assuage the guilt of the WS and the grief of the BS.

And:

I remember that after Dday while she was on the fence I was stunned by her practically arrogant attitude. I asked her, "Don't you even feel guilty about what you've done?" Her answer was, "I'm surprised at how little guilt I feel." I'm sure that was true at the time. She thought very little of my feelings. It was all about her.

Here it is. Not sure how long youd been married before the adulterous affair took place but no wonder you were stunned by her antiloving, arrogant attitude. My assessment? Nothing ventured (authentic love), nothing gained (or lost) by her or any other adulterous wayward. The reason? It was never there in the first place. This is part of the reason trying to start over with any wayward is so daunting a task.

I am so sorry for the pile of shit you had to go through to work through this. I hope you are recieving true committed spousal love from her now. You deserve it.

One of the reassons I am SO very firm in my stance about love and antilove is that I am now the recipient of the real thing. It stands in SUCH stark contrast to the simulant version that I put up with for so long that I ask myself now, "WTH were you thinking?"

[This message edited by DobleTraicion at 11:26 AM, Wednesday, August 24th]

"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 7:24 PM on Tuesday, August 23rd, 2022

jb3199

Thanks again for contributing. I lean more toward your stance and agree with you where you said:

Whether it be CD, delusion, or absolution in their belief, it will never change my mind. My wife did not love me then. Her actions spoke loud and clear. And let me be fair---she KNOWS exactly how I feel about this, and does not try to change my mind. It really doesn't matter what she believes about this; it matters what I believe about this.

Yes, yes, triple yes.

Lets use natural diamonds and man made synthetics as an example of love and faux love if you will. Im told that the craft of making extremely high quality synthetic diamonds has come so far that even a jeweler using a loop has a hard time. That the only way to tell the difference as to whether you have the real thing vs a synthetic is a series of pass/fail tests. One test is the heat test whereby you heat them both, authentic and synthetic, drop them both in water, the authentic is not affected, the fake shatters. Its pass or fail. There is no in between.

The way to know if spousal love is authentic is that it passes the fidelity test time and time again without fail. Its bound with all of the things that BSs hope their WSs can build into their "love" during R....bounderies, loyalty, commitment, trust, communication, transparency, empathy, affectikn, a strong ethical foundation and moral backbone, etc. All of the attributes that authentic spousal love comes with allows it to consequently pass the fidelity test consistently. Can a WS grow into authentic spousal love post A? Its possible and there are breakthrough WSs who do just that and my hat's off to them. Truly amazing efforts from stand out people. Sadly, for every one of these amazing people, there are untold dozens of others that remain somewhere on the infidelity scale for whom authentic spousal love is a bridge too far. The real tragedy is that there are also many BSs on the other side of that equation that are hoping that the proverbial "sows ear" miraculously turns into a "silk purse" of authentic love, only to come up empty (again) and experience the additional heart break of false R.

Hope that diatribe makes sense.

All the best jb.

[This message edited by DobleTraicion at 9:41 PM, Tuesday, August 23rd]

"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 5:14 PM on Wednesday, August 24th, 2022

Just heard this beautiful tribute to authentic love from another cruelly betrayed husband. It really got to me this AM. Thought Id share what he said:

"To love your spouse is to be devoted to them. To commit to them, to their happiness. It is to protect them, to honor them, to care for them. Love is a husband and a father who works back breaking hard labor day after day repeatedly not looking for something exciting just so he can give his children a bright future and make his wife happy. Love is a mother who would walk on fire so her children wouldn't have to. Love is a wife who is there for her husband to give him comfort and care after he comes home with an aching body after a hard day's labor. Love is a family who always sticks together and helps each other overcome anything in good times and in bad. In sickness and in health.

Love is a verb, an action. Its something shown, not just told. It is commitment and not just something that can be described as an emotion. Love is something beautiful and amazing but too many are blind to it. I have been around the world from South Africa, to Europe, the Middle East and Asia. On all of my assignments, I had the time, money and resources to cheat as much as I could want. I could have cheated on my soon to be ex wife with women of almost every continent. Everywhere we went, there were women who were literally trying to pour themselves on us. But I never strayed. I didn't even entertain a thought. I never touched another woman other than my soon to be ex wife.

I always cared and did my best to show her my love and commitment to her in every way I could think of. From small every day kindness to large scale gestures. She couldn't really reciprocate but I thought that's just how she was. She was shy or something, but she did try and I was happy with that. I loved and accepted her with all my heart, and she stomped on it. I showed by my actions that I truly did love her, and she showed by her actions that she was selfish, thereby was incapable of loving someone. She merely saw me as a provider and protector who she could leach off of and satiate her lust in bed, so when I was away, she would just find someone else. She has shown me through her actions that she is unworthy of my love and affection. She doesn't deserve it.

For her, our 31 years of friendship and 20 years of romance meant so little that she so easily betrayed me. Well, never again. I will never again be there for her when she gets sick and would need someone to care for her continuously for 2 months on just 3 to 4 hours of sleep. I will never again be there for her when she pulls all nighters helping her to study for her exams by making her coffee every 2 hours and studying with her. I will never again be there when she gets stuck in the middle of nowhere because she forgot to fill her gas tank. I will never again be there when she is sad because a friend died due to cancer. It's painful, but I need to live with myself more than I need to live with her. I need to look at myself in the mirror every day. I won't let her haunt my thoughts anymore. I won't let her voice dictate my actions anymore. I wont clean up after her or fulfill her whims any longer. These are my thoughts so far."

Amen. God bless brother, and Godspeed.

[This message edited by DobleTraicion at 8:19 PM, Wednesday, August 24th]

"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 11:45 PM on Thursday, August 25th, 2022

[This message edited by DobleTraicion at 11:45 PM, Thursday, August 25th]

"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

posts: 92   ·   registered: Mar. 2nd, 2021   ·   location: South
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 DobleTraicion (original poster member #78414) posted at 8:16 PM on Thursday, September 1st, 2022

Had a bit of a pain epiphane on this concept of cognitive dissonance today. One of the things many of us heard in one form or another from our WSs that drove me crazy (still does) was, "It wasnt about you, I never thought of you, our marriage and children never entered my mind while in the affair," as if that explained anything and/or was supposed to make BSs feel better....that we werent even on their radar. Many times it appears that they say it with absolute sincerety. As if theyre saying something good, something healing, something helpful, beyond being truthful and transparent.

Oh, well, thanks for that. Thanks for letting me know that your spouse, your betrothed, your own children, the fruit of your womb/loins never even came to the surface of your conscious awarenes. Wow, that really helps!! I can go about my day now.

Truth? It is one of the most devestating things you can be told. This is what we hear: You didnt even register. You dont count. You have been deprioritized to the point of oblivion. Why are you even here?

It is a pain and trauma impact mega multiplier. Want to make a BS feel like absolute shit? Say that to them in some form or fashion.

End rant.

[This message edited by DobleTraicion at 8:02 PM, Friday, September 2nd]

"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 8:42 PM on Thursday, September 1st, 2022

Forgive me if I am not in the arc of the post. I read a few responses and then didn’t read the other two pages.

I am a ws. I absolutely do not believe it’s one over the other.

I was duplicitous in starting the affair. Regardless of knowing him for a long time. I knew lines were being crossed. I hid it. That’s duplicity.

I did experience cognitive dissonance- I believe that boils down to the mental gymnastics you go through to keep it going. The narratives, the justifications.

Texting Ap from the bathroom so I wouldn’t be detected, that was duplicity.

Telling myself that H could not connect with me emotionally, that was cognitive dissonance.

I truly believed the things from the CD. I knew I was doing things that was wrong and that was duplicity.

I think all affairs no matter the type have both factors- duplicitous behaviors that we are aware of, and the the CD is just the unconscious behaviors that we have in order to continue to do something that we know is wrong.

As far as foo is concerned, that has nothing to do with why I had an affair. That was an important part of recovery/healing though.

Learning about how my foo gave me the propensity towards people pleasing, perfectionism, passive aggressive behaviors, etc. those are patterns that led me to lead a life where I became very unhappy but still had a smile on my face.

The purpose of understanding those things was about learning why I didn’t love myself, value myself, why I do the things I do so I could change them.

A recovery/ healing of anyone not just a ws has a lot to do with understanding who we are, how we got there, what we need to work on. It allows us to be mindful of ourselves so we can lead a life in which we love ourselves, have peace, and an overall sense of happiness despite our circumstance.

And I think that process is helpful to many bs’s too. Especially ones who accepted poor behavior for years prior to the A. There is a need to understand why they self abandoned and put up with it to be with that person. That’s about changing present and future behavior.

But it doesn’t have anything to do with the decision to cheat. There is no excuse for that. But by doing the work towards those things we hopefully can become a more reliable authentic version of ourselves and improve our safety towards our partners.

[This message edited by hikingout at 8:48 PM, Thursday, September 1st]

5 years of hard work
Reconciled
WS & BS

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DevastatedDee ( member #59873) posted at 8:55 PM on Thursday, September 1st, 2022

Truth? It is one of the most devestating things you can be told. This is what we hear. You didnt even register. You dont count. You have been deprioritized to the point of oblivion. Why are you even here.

Not only is it beyond insulting, it's complete bullshit. They didn't suffer a severe head trauma and forget who they were. It's not like they forgot where they lived or what lies they needed to tell to the person they forgot existed. They were fully aware of what they were doing and to whom they were doing it. If my XWH had truly not thought about me while cheating, he'd have accidentally been inviting whores over all the time. Just "Oops, I wasn't even thinking about you. Just forgot all about you for a minute there. My bad. Sapphire, Destiny, meet my wife whom I totally forgot existed when I invited you over." lol

DDay: 06/07/2017
MH - RA on DDay.
Divorced a serial cheater (prostitutes and lord only knows who and what else).

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 DobleTraicion (original poster member #78414) posted at 2:08 AM on Friday, September 2nd, 2022

Thank you both for your responses.

To be clear, I have reluctantly acquiesced (intellectually) to the concept of cognitive dissonance. I think I have kicked against it for so long because it offended my sense of justice. I saw it as an attempt to lay a thin veneer of justification over something that is inherently evil. I now believe that belief was a gross oversimplification. I also believe that it is much more diabolical than what my previous supposition implied. I now believe that As start out with telling yourself lies while beginning to live those lies (in spite of what you may have claimed in the past), this being duplicity, which then metastasizes into cognitive dissonance which involves becoming that lie. Put another way, you become (lifestyle) the lie with which you poisoned yourself in the first place. This is why the WS becomes, in many ways, unrecognizable to the BS when the A is exposed to the light of day.

The other issue that gives me a headache (remember, I am a linear thinking) is the inherently difficult thought of juxtaposing antithetical concepts in cases where the WS has some measure of remorse; i.e. I love you but I never thought of you; I am your spouse but will live as the love of another, I never meant to hurt you but will will hurt you more than you have every been hurt by anyone, etc. Still gives me headaches. Truly.

Now, I am all in on the concept of FoO issues. Absolutely. It is NOT nature vs nurture (innate/genetics vs. environmentally learned), it is nature + nurture. The hardest part for me with FoO was not the learning. It was the unlearning. Not the layering of new concepts and enacting them, although challenging, it was the stripping out of the old that had been reinforced by years of unbroken trauma before I even faced the beast of infidelity. This again is why my therapist enjoins me to this day to stop plugging in my thoughts and emotions into the socket of my old coping habits, but to be mindful of my new learned strategies and act upon THEM. Easier said than done, but rewarding.

And I think that process is helpful to many bs’s too. Especially ones who accepted poor behavior for years prior to the A. There is a need to understand why they self abandoned and put up with it to be with that person. That’s about changing present and future behavior.

Spot on Hikingout, at least it was for me.

Devastated Dee

Just "Oops, I wasn't even thinking about you. Just forgot all about you for a minute there. My bad. Sapphire, Destiny, meet my wife whom I totally forgot existed when I invited you over." lol

You ma'am just about made me destroy a perfectly good laptop as I about spit out my iced tea while typing this on my back patio. laugh Thanks for a bit of dark levity in this weighty discussion. I needed that, and, yes, to your point, "they didn't suffer a severe head trauma and forget who they were." It's worse than that. It is the self inflicted trauma of duplicity-induced-cognitive dissonance, the fuse in the bomb of infidelity if you will. Put another way, it is the genesis of our betrayal and we did not even know it was there until the bomb went off on Dday.

[This message edited by DobleTraicion at 2:52 AM, Friday, September 2nd]

"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 3:43 AM on Friday, September 2nd, 2022

I am in the camp that the ws could not possibly love the bs at the time of the affair.

Could they have fond feelings for their spouse? Yes. But marital love is commitment and putting your spouse in the same level as yourself. By that definition I did not love my husband.

For me, there was a prolonged period of disconnection with my husband. I could go into the logistics of that but it doesn’t matter.

It’s not the reason I had the affair of course. It would have been better to try to address the disconnection or divorce.

But my lack of action in loving him had nothing to do with who he was. He is certainly a good man, worthy of love from a good woman. It was my selfishness of not wanting to put work or effort in either fixing or leaving.

My affair had nothing to do with him in that way. But to say I didn’t know that I was gambling everything would be absurd. It’s just when you gamble it depends on what you feel you are gambling, is it of value to you.

I think after dday what often happens is when you really are getting ready to lose, you realize there was a lot of value and that it was only you that lost sight of that.

I think the ws who truly change realize this is absolutely rock bottom. I know that facing this is who I had become was the worst period of my life. I set out to do that discovery because I was a complete fool who lacked integrity and was getting ready to lose the best thing that ever happened to me. And watching what I did to him was soul crushing. I was the lowest thing I could ever imagine.

The fact he has stayed is the greatest gift of love I have ever received. I will protect him, our connection, and never lose sight of what I have learned from this experience.

I do agree with you CD is part of becoming that person. But I don’t think duplicity is ever not a factor or you would not hide it from your spouse. You are purposely making those decisions. I did push away thoughts of him of course, but that too was just a coping (CD) of not being able to face truly what I was doing.

[This message edited by hikingout at 3:44 AM, Friday, September 2nd]

5 years of hard work
Reconciled
WS & BS

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DevastatedDee ( member #59873) posted at 4:18 AM on Friday, September 2nd, 2022

You ma'am just about made me destroy a perfectly good laptop as I about spit out my iced tea while typing this on my back patio. laugh Thanks for a bit of dark levity in this weighty discussion. I needed that, and, yes, to your point, "they didn't suffer a severe head trauma and forget who they were." It's worse than that. It is the self inflicted trauma of duplicity-induced-cognitive dissonance, the fuse in the bomb of infidelity if you will. Put another way, it is the genesis of our betrayal and we did not even know it was there until the bomb went off on Dday.

You are most welcome. grin

I heard things like "I didn't think you'd care" and "It wasn't really cheating because I didn't love them" and though clearly he was full of shit on the first because if he truly didn't think I'd care, I'd have long been acquainted with Sapphire and Destiny. Probably would have been exchanging Christmas cards by the end. Now I do think he partly believed that it wasn't really serious big deal cheating because he didn't love them. I do think he alleviated his guilt with that idea. He honestly didn't understand my pain over it.

[This message edited by DevastatedDee at 4:24 AM, Friday, September 2nd]

DDay: 06/07/2017
MH - RA on DDay.
Divorced a serial cheater (prostitutes and lord only knows who and what else).

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WhatsRight ( member #35417) posted at 5:41 AM on Friday, September 2nd, 2022

I’m late to this thread and I admit I haven’t read each post carefully, so my apologies if I repeat something.

If the definition of cognitive dissonance is as you say…holding 2 opposing beliefs at the same time, then I definitely believe this happens quite often.

Infidelity is disgusting, catastrophic, and wrong, wrong, wrong!

But I do believe it doesn’t singularly define a person. My H cheated, but I still believe he is a person of value with positive attributes. The infidelity was one choice (series of choices) that I believe "went against" who he really was/is. IMHO.

So in that context, not only did he act in "opposition " to who/what he generally was, HIS cognitive dissonance…but my response to his infidelity was also contradictory.

I generally believe people are mostly basically good and one (series of) decisions do not a person make…BUT 16 years later I am not healed and have never looked at him the same way as before he cheated.

So what does that say about me?

I struggle with this every day.

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

I will not be vanquished. Rose Kennedy

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 DobleTraicion (original poster member #78414) posted at 1:00 PM on Friday, September 2nd, 2022

Thank ya'll again. Your perspectives bring insight into the different facets of this complex and very perplexing subject. The more I hone in on this, the more I believe that the duplicity-to-cognative-dissonance progression is key to understanding the germination of infidelity in the heart/soul/mind of the WS. I am grappling with this hard now as this shit has robbed me of years (my mishandling of the whole thing notwithstanding), robbed me of a good friend, and has now touched someone in my immediate family. Sooooo, I wrestle on seeking more clarity.

The torment of the result of this concept is just so prevalent that it shows up in almost every thread I read from BSs. Read one this AM where the WS said that they never stopped loving the BS during the A and this guy is now a living pretzel of unanswered questions. I feel his pain.

Hikingout

I am in the camp that the ws could not possibly love the bs at the time of the affair.

Could they have fond feelings for their spouse? Yes. But marital love is commitment and putting your spouse in the same level as yourself. By that definition I did not love my husband.

I must say that this admission took me aback. I so very much appreciate your transparency and reflection. I guess what bothered me is that this truthful statement of who you really were and actually believed concerning love for your BH hits me hard in that, this is what I also believe of my WW when she cheated. That she truly did not love me in that time frame and it is still a bitter cut. Possibly "the most unkindest cut of all." I could not help but overlay your admission on my own experience and wince. Thanks for your insight here.

Question, How do you reconcile this black and white statement with what we've discussed concerning CD? I think you may have hinted at it here:

But to say I didn’t know that I was gambling everything would be absurd. It’s just when you gamble it depends on what you feel you are gambling, is it of value to you.

but could you elaborare as it pertains to your statement concerning loving your BH?

DevestatedDee

You said:

I heard things like "I didn't think you'd care" and "It wasn't really cheating because I didn't love them"....Now I do think he partly believed that it wasn't really serious big deal cheating because he didn't love them. I do think he alleviated his guilt with that idea. He honestly didn't understand my pain over it.

To me, this is the flip side of the same coin of CD. He believed he loved you, but did not, He believed he did not love "Sapphire and Destiny" but thats where his affections lay. Then he tries to drag you into the justifying thought processes that twisted him in the first place as if that would in any way help you. rolleyes

Hey WhatsRight

Thanks for pitching in here.

You said:

but my response to his infidelity was also contradictory.

This piqued my interest. Would you elaborate?

I generally believe people are mostly basically good and one (series of) decisions do not a person make…BUT 16 years later I am not healed and have never looked at him the same way as before he cheated.

So what does that say about me?

I struggle with this every day.

I can no longer hang with your first statement but boy oh boy, do I understand the second. Sometimes I wonder if Im camped there.

Thanks again all for your input. Sometimes I feel like a blood hound on the scent of a long abandoned trail but I am determine to get more clarity here.

[This message edited by DobleTraicion at 8:08 PM, Friday, September 2nd]

"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 2:11 PM on Friday, September 2nd, 2022

The search for clarity may be elusive, despite the really great contributions to this discussion.

Ultimately, I think a betrayed spouse who hasn’t chosen to cheat will be unable to fully comprehend a series of choices they’ve never made.

I think most of us have at least had opportunist or temptations or even questionable boundaries at times, but if we haven’t actually cheated, it is hard to wrap our heads around it.

Catching up on this thread, it’s interesting that defining "love" — in addition to duplicity and cognitive dissonance — has been added to the discussion.

Love is tricky, because the word means so many different things to so many different people, yet, all agree betrayal is the antitheses of what love SHOULD be.

That aside, my wife was certain, based on her limited understanding of love in her 20’s, that she loved me, despite her horrible decisions.

In fact, her AP, who was a family friend, turned out to be a serial cheater. His last question to my wife before the A started was, "Do you love your spouse?"
She said she did. Thus, their fantasy bubble was something "special" and unique. Of course it wasn’t.

I do think the reason the duplicity starts with or at least the rationalization is: what a betrayed spouse doesn’t know, can’t hurt us. The WS is protecting us from the truth. That’s the lie they tell themselves, and where the cognitive dissonance kicks in to build the reasons they aren’t being BAD.

In my specific case, my wife wasn’t caught. Her A ended and she planned to take her secret to her grave — keeping me from harm (in her mind). Nearly two decades later, she understood the damage was done, and keeping it a secret only made it worse. So, she confessed.

As to the love part, neither of us fully understood what love was or could be, until we began our journey to reconcile and rebuild our marriage from the ground up.

My wife is still sure she had feelings for me, and didn’t set out to destroy or hurt me, but understands NOW that’s what infidelity is, and it certainly wasn’t any kind of healthy love. She betrayed her own standards. She didn’t love herself, at all. She only thought she knew what love was.

It sure would have been easier for both of us if she had learned what love is or isn’t before our marriage. Although, if I’m honest, I really had no idea either. And neither of our families were good at it either, some tough FOO lives (for most of us I imagine).

I’ll always hate the A, yet, I am amazed what we’ve built and rebuilt from the foundational reset.

I’ll also likely never fully comprehend a choice or series of choices I have never made to hurt someone else.

I have learned a key element of love is empathy. It’s what I showed my wife after her confession. The irony being, I think ALL infidelity lacks empathy -or it couldn’t happen in the first place.

Married 34+ years, together 40+ years
Two awesome adult sons.
Dday 6/16 4-year LTA Survived
Restoration takes time.
"Circumstances don't make the man, they only reveal him to himself." ― Epictetus

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JasonCh ( new member #80102) posted at 2:29 PM on Friday, September 2nd, 2022

I generally believe people are mostly basically good and one (series of) decisions do not a person make…BUT 16 years later I am not healed and have never looked at him the same way as before he cheated.

So what does that say about me?

I struggle with this every day.

I can no longer hang with your first statement but boy oh boy, do I understand the second. Sometimes I wonder if Im camped there.

I believe this is one of the 'costs' for a BS. That if we decide to stay we are choosing to live in a constant state of cognitive dissonance. We know one thing *but* choose to live another. A modified cost is still there if we choose to leave. Leaving allows for not living in the constant state of dissonance.

In theory I believe that all of us know that it is a possibility that an affair could happen in our marriage before we get married. We do this anyway as we believe we have 'vetted' the other person. That we have looked at their words, actions and situation and decided that that particular fate will not befall us. Human beings are capable of all sorts of treachery and betrayal or otherwise bad deeds. We don't go around announcing these things to the world as we know that stating those values/actions out loud would adversely impact prospects.

This is leading to a dark place. Thank you for the thoughtful conversation.

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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 4:31 PM on Friday, September 2nd, 2022

Sharing my way of handling this; it's certainly not the only way.

If we decide to stay we are choosing to live in a constant state of cognitive dissonance.

I disagree with this ... because I believe WSes cheat because they don't know what love is or how to do it.

As a corollary, one of the WS's tasks in R is to learn how to love themselves and, therefore, others. The way I make sense of my W's A is that she thought she loved me, she fucked up, and she changed to love herself and me more - probably much more - than before.

I believe my W believed she loved me during her A. (Her ow convinced her she had evolved enough to love 2 people simultaneously.) Whether she did or not, her actions were not loving. No cognitive dissonance there.

Leaving doesn't change the fact that the BS nurtured the serpent in their bosom. Whether I stayed or left, I had to deal with that. I joined those who think the A is about the WS not about the BS. My W fucked up; I didn't. No cognitive dissonance there, either.

fBH (me) - on d-day: 66, Married 43, together 45, same sex ap
DDay - 12/22/2010
Recover'd and R'ed
You don't have to like your boundaries. You just have to set and enforce them.

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 DobleTraicion (original poster member #78414) posted at 12:50 AM on Saturday, September 3rd, 2022

Thank you all again for contributing. The input has been helpful and continues to be thought provoking.Oldwounds

You said:

The search for clarity may be elusive, despite the really great contributions to this discussion.

Sure has been elusive for me, but, am in pursuit and hope to narrow the focus.

That’s the lie they tell themselves, and where the cognitive dissonance kicks in to build the reasons they aren’t being BAD.

This seems to be the majority consensus, including me.

I’ll always hate the A, yet, I am amazed what we’ve built and rebuilt from the foundational reset.



I have read your story and commend you both for what you have built back. It gives me hope.

JasonCh

You said:

I believe this is one of the 'costs' for a BS. That if we decide to stay we are choosing to live in a constant state of cognitive dissonance. We know one thing *but* choose to live another. A modified cost is still there if we choose to leave. Leaving allows for not living in the constant state of dissonance

Yes, I believe they call it the "shit sandwich" in these parts. The BS is left with no good options, just the lesser of the evils (hopefully). This is not to say something good, maybe even great, cant be rise from the ashes, whether it be R or D.

sisoon

You said:

I believe WSes cheat because they don't know what love is or how to do it.

I respect your opinion, I am just not here. I am leaning more toward the BS and WS having very different definitions of love, and/or the WS either possessing either a lesser version or a warped perception of the love they had for the BS while under the influence of full blown CD. It is part of the fog effect IMO. No less devastating and disorienting for the BS however. As I said before, how does someone who had professed love, do the most unloving thing to their betrothed. It drives me to distraction.

I believe my W believed she loved me during her A.

I do believe this is possible with many WSs.

Whether she did or not, her actions were not loving.

A universal truth with all WS's IMO.

"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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