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Just Found Out :
Just a kiss... or 2?

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 PFB84 (original poster member #80715) posted at 1:53 PM on Tuesday, September 20th, 2022

Well, you predicted it right; your wife corrected the marriage counselor. Which is nice.

The fact that the MC had to be corrected shows that they either 1) have less experience with infidelity or 2) they have the pov that marriage can be the cause of it. Not a very good sign unless they bring a boatload of other skills to the table or pivot hard from the initial take.

Yes agreed.

I thought she was nice and as I said i'm not completely writing her off yet, BUT I did not get the infidelity expert vibe from her. Sometimes it felt like she was just throwing shit at the wall trying to gauge our reactions, which I guess is part of her job. It's my first time in therapy of any kind so I'm sure I should not be expecting anything profound in the first session - but while most of it was pretty good, it was a struggle not to roll my eyes a few times.

The only thing that really irritated me - we had been talking about my wife's illness issues in the months before the cheating. The therapist asked me if those things were hard on me, and if it felt like our relationship had changed as a result. I explained that through the ups and downs of her illness I never felt that way, and that I of course felt bad for her, but ultimately it didn't change how I felt and I was just focused on trying to take care of the family when she wasn't feeling well. The therapist said something like "Well you realize she didn't choose this illness for herself either?" - ALMOST in like an accusing way. My wife again stepped in and said she never felt anything less than fully supported. But I was pretty annoyed. She definitely seemed to be looking for ways that something missing in our marriage lead to this happening, rather than a series of choices made by one of us.

posts: 57   ·   registered: Aug. 25th, 2022
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Justsomeguy ( member #65583) posted at 3:02 PM on Tuesday, September 20th, 2022

Yeah, the unmet needs fallacy gets pumped by too many ICs. It falls apart pretty quick if you really look at it. My MC wanted to look at how my actions contributed to my WW'S cheating. I immediately stopped her and asked her to repeat that question but replace the words WW'S cheating with the words your rape. Then I asked if she was normally comfortable with victim blaming. She never brought it up again.

I think the unmet needs fallacy stems from lazy thinking with therapists. It's cheap and easy. I mean, if you take the thinking to its logical conclusion, infidelity is the biggest way a WS can unmeet the needs of a BS, yet we don't give BS's a pass for revenge affairs.

You seem to be a solid guy and I really hope things work out for you.

Me:55 STBXWW:55 DD#1: false confession of EA Dec. 2016. False R for a year.DD#2: confessed to year long PA Dec. 2 2017 (was about to be outed)Called it off and filed. Denied having an affair in court papers.

Divorced 2022!!!!

posts: 1319   ·   registered: Jul. 25th, 2018   ·   location: Canada
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Crazytrain101 ( member #48200) posted at 3:11 PM on Tuesday, September 20th, 2022

PFB84

Firstly, I am so incredibly sorry your here, BEST support and people anywhere to help you navigate this. I've been away from SI for 6 years since my WH was discovered (D-day) without these site and people I would have never survived, everything they said to do was accurate. Yes, sadly I am back again, just discovered my WH is back at his serial cheating--heading to divorce now, full steam ahead.

My WH was a contractor, I am 100% not generalizing here on the profession BUT it does afford close contact with the opposite sex in homes and on projects, friendships made, coomunication turns flirty, boundaries are crossed. My WH patrolled most of his other OW (other women) through his business. A lot of the time men will let their women take the lead on projects and viola!

Get a polygraph scheduled, the ONE other woman my husband got caught with, turned into 13 other women the day before the polygraph. I can say I don't put a lot of credibility in the accuracy of the polygraph but the SCHEDULING of the polygraph does produce results & answers.

I am hoping that you know the whole truth, but until you do proceed cautiously.

Yes, marriage counseling, full transparency, expose the guy to whomever to save them some potential heartache.

CT101

6 years ago-found out he was a serial cheaterReconciled-2015 Back again September 2022 as WH is a cheater again Heading to Divorce

posts: 1749   ·   registered: Jun. 10th, 2015   ·   location: Ohio
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 PFB84 (original poster member #80715) posted at 3:17 PM on Tuesday, September 20th, 2022

I think the unmet needs fallacy stems from lazy thinking with therapists. It's cheap and easy. I mean, if you take the thinking to its logical conclusion, infidelity is the biggest way a WS can unmeet the needs of a BS, yet we don't give BS's a pass for revenge affairs.

This is the vibe I got. Sort of lazy questions. Didn't seem like someone who had dealt many times with an infidelity issue where both partners are insisting there were no prior issues in the marriage, so she didn't seem to have much input. Next week I meet with her individually so based on that session I'll decide if it's just a waste of time or if I'll continue.

posts: 57   ·   registered: Aug. 25th, 2022
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M1965 ( member #57009) posted at 4:27 PM on Tuesday, September 20th, 2022

I have a different take on the initial MC session. It may not have drilled down into your wife's "why's", but a marriage counselor tends to try to treat a marriage, not the individuals within it. What I think you should take away from that first session is that it established that there were not, and are not, any major problems in the marriage. Which bodes well for long-term reconciliation. Of course, it also means that MC may not be very relevant for you and your wife, but see how it goes at the next session.

My sense is that your wife made some bad decisions when an opportunity to cheat arose. People often do things when an opportunity arises that they might say they would never do, and which they would not actively pursue. The most obvious analogy would be to trying drugs. Many people might believe they would never try drugs, and would never actively seek a pusher by themselves. However, what happens when a trusted friend shows up with a bag of goodies, says it's perfectly safe, fun, and no big deal? That is a very different proposition to heading into the night alone, trying to find a pusher.

And that is basically what happened to your wife; she was not on Ashley Madison, trolling the 'personals' on Craig's List, or checking out guys on Tinder. However, when the opportunity to cheat appeared in her home, she decided to try the drug instead of saying no. And the reasons for that, which is what you really want to know, and which your wife needs to explore and fix, will come out in her IC.

I think it was positive that your wife confessed, when you would otherwise have had no idea of what she had done. The fact that it bothered her enough to do that, and the things she has said and done since then, suggest that she knows how bad her decisions were, and that she is trying to own them. You are not getting rug-sweeping, blaming, defensiveness, or justification.

The whole 'fog'/cognitive dissonance/compartmentalizing issue can be hard to understand if your mind does not work that way, but I think your wife now understands that what happens in Vegas does not stay in Vegas; it impacts everyone and everything. Hopefully she can embrace that.

posts: 1241   ·   registered: Jan. 21st, 2017   ·   location: South East of England
id 8756201
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Jameson1977 ( member #54177) posted at 4:28 PM on Tuesday, September 20th, 2022

Good approach PFB84. We have been through a few MC’s and a number of IC’s before we found someone that we liked, but more importantly, a councillor that pushed us to do the work, more of an experienced guide. The one we settled on was kind, but firm when it came to my WW. The IC didn’t let her off by using emotions (crying, etc.), she was very good.

IC’s, like other professions, have good, bad and sort of indifferent ones. Take the time to find the right IC / MC for you.

posts: 803   ·   registered: Jul. 16th, 2016
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Bigger ( Attaché #8354) posted at 7:28 PM on Tuesday, September 20th, 2022

This is how I see it. Let me preface this with that I’m not comparing the acts of infidelity and rape or suggesting they are equally serious or harmful or whatever. I’m simply using the heinous crime of rape to compare how people possibly think and act, and applying that line-of-thought to infidelity.

Not way back in the past there was a…. tendency… to assign blame to those raped for being raped. I remember questions taught for interviewing rape victims: Did you give him cause? What were you wearing? Did you button up your blouse? Did you resist? Do you have bruises or broken nails to show you resisted? What were you doing in that part of town? Were you drunk? (the gender base of the questions indicate my age…)

Fortunately for me I got to experience the new way of thinking before I finally left law enforcement. The way where the rape was always the crime or the act done by the rapist, and the person violated was the victim. No matter what from a moral standpoint, whereas the circumstances basically only impact the legal and ability to prove standpoint.

This is the POV most (if not all) mental health professionals have: The rape is never the fault of the rape-victim.

Now… No matter how compassionate and supportive one is to those that are raped there is no denying that they can have done certain things that facilitated or led to the rape. If a young woman (or man for that matter) decides to risk taking a short-cut through a dark unlit alley in a seedy part of town it might not surprise us if they were mugged or raped and we might question them why they didn’t get a taxi or stick to the well-lit main road. But… they are just as much victims. It’s not their fault that someone (generally) randomly decided to abuse them.

So how does this all tie in?

Well… Ask your MC if they would ever tell a rape-victim seeking counseling and support that THEY – the victim – caused the situation where the rape was inevitable or an expected or probable outcome of their actions.

That IMHO is what is going on when a MC suggests that the marriage created the affair. That we – the betrayed spouse – created the situation where we shouldn’t be surprised our spouse cheated.
Sort of like "well… he did give you a nice steak, red-wine, desert, and a cocktail. You shouldn’t be surprised that he expected you to put out so that’s maybe why he forced himself on you" mentality.

"If, therefore, any be unhappy, let him remember that he is unhappy by reason of himself alone." Epictetus

posts: 10946   ·   registered: Sep. 29th, 2005
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BluerThanBlue ( member #74855) posted at 9:59 PM on Wednesday, September 21st, 2022

Bigger, instead of using rape as an example, I would ask the counselor, "Would you ask a spouse who was being beaten what they did to deserve abuse?"

That's the point that a lot of people--even professionals-- tend to miss. Infidelity is an act of abuse.

BW, age 40
Divorced WH in 2015; now happily remarried to a great guy

I edit my comments a lot for spelling, grammar, typos, etc.

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 PFB84 (original poster member #80715) posted at 2:57 PM on Thursday, September 22nd, 2022

And that is basically what happened to your wife; she was not on Ashley Madison, trolling the 'personals' on Craig's List, or checking out guys on Tinder. However, when the opportunity to cheat appeared in her home, she decided to try the drug instead of saying no. And the reasons for that, which is what you really want to know, and which your wife needs to explore and fix, will come out in her IC.

I think it was positive that your wife confessed, when you would otherwise have had no idea of what she had done. The fact that it bothered her enough to do that, and the things she has said and done since then, suggest that she knows how bad her decisions were, and that she is trying to own them. You are not getting rug-sweeping, blaming, defensiveness, or justification.

The whole 'fog'/cognitive dissonance/compartmentalizing issue can be hard to understand if your mind does not work that way, but I think your wife now understands that what happens in Vegas does not stay in Vegas; it impacts everyone and everything. Hopefully she can embrace that.

You are right about all of this. I believe her story and maybe even her "reasons" - and I have zero doubt that she fully grasps the reality, and would do anything to make it "right" even if that's impossible. I do appreciate and understand it could be much worse on that front.

But as the numbness is wearing off I have just been so pissed off the last couple days. I cannot believe she let it get as far as it did. And although I am glad she is sorry and not blame shifting, etc... I also resent her acting like a kicked puppy all the time too. I resent the desperation in her eyes for me to kiss her goodbye like we used to. I hate the mix of pity, shame, and guilt I see on her face 24/7. I know the alternative to these things would be much worse and compared to what many others have dealt with, I should just be happy that she cares and wants to fix it. I'm still in the "injustice" mode though and when she's trying to be extra affectionate all I can think most of the time is YOU did this. I go between from desperately wanting that affection, to not wanting to touch her on a daily basis pretty much. This is not an enjoyable roller coaster!

Thanks to everyone as always for the input.

posts: 57   ·   registered: Aug. 25th, 2022
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HarryD ( member #72423) posted at 3:21 PM on Thursday, September 22nd, 2022

I get the feeling that MC all have a sheet of paper with 1 to 100 questions. That they ask, put to you ect.
Does your wife want to fix the marriage, that she broke. Because she loves you, even though she hurt you. Or is she just realizing, BF is gone. If you D her. She has to tell everyone she screw up and lost everything. Will lose all her married friends. Ect

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grubs ( member #77165) posted at 7:00 PM on Friday, September 23rd, 2022

Are both of you in IC? I think I see that much more useful in your situation right now than MC. She does need to past her shame but that's not going to be something that happens over night. How much of your frustrations have your shared with her? It's a tricky balance since she is already leaning into her guilt, but holding it in isn't going to do either of you any good. You've pretty much said whatever she does is going to be wrong part of the time even if she is consistent.

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 PFB84 (original poster member #80715) posted at 7:16 PM on Friday, September 23rd, 2022

Are both of you in IC? I think I see that much more useful in your situation right now than MC. She does need to past her shame but that's not going to be something that happens over night. How much of your frustrations have your shared with her? It's a tricky balance since she is already leaning into her guilt, but holding it in isn't going to do either of you any good. You've pretty much said whatever she does is going to be wrong part of the time even if she is consistent.

I have an appointment with an infidelity trauma specialist on 10/4, earliest opening I could get. She started her IC last week but isn't sure if she found the right person yet.

Yes I have mostly communicated my frustrations to her, though not 100%.

Any thoughts on the book "After the Affair?" I think I've seen it mentioned here before. The MC mentioned it and my wife has already bought it and read half. I started reading it, there is some good stuff so far but when it repeatedly talks about BS taking responsibility for their small part in contributing to the affair, I get leery.

Thanks

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Stevesn ( member #58312) posted at 7:38 PM on Friday, September 23rd, 2022

I agree. There may be some good advice there but I’d make sure that Youre clear with your wife that there will be no blame whatsoever that you accept for the affair. If and when she works on herself to become someone who can be a safe partner, helps you heal, and figures out why she was someone who could so easily give away something so precious to your relationship, then if you want to attempt reconciliation, and only the … you can discuss what issues were in your marriage before her affair.

I’d ask her also to make that clear to her IC if she finds one to work with.

fBBF. Just before proposing, broke it off after her 2nd confirmed PA in 2 yrs. 9 mo later I met the wonderful woman I have spent the next 30 years with.

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This0is0Fine ( member #72277) posted at 7:49 PM on Friday, September 23rd, 2022

PFB84,

We can get a little dogmatic on this forum about blameshifting. I do think the BS contributes to the environment the affair happened in. I do think the BS is responsible for their share of marital problems. The thing is, the BS had no say in the occurrence of the affair and has zero blame for the affair itself and the surrounding decisions and deception necessary for it to happen.

After the Affair has what some people might call blameshifting baked in to it. Personally I try to take the points that are made and reframe them in a manner that isn't directly related to the affair. You'll have to decide if you think the rest of the advice is still useful or not. Janis Spring's other book "How Can I Forgive You" is much better.

On this forum "Not Just Friends" and "How to Help Your Spouse Heal from Your Affair" are the top two recommendations. When I was first betrayed I thought "How to..." was too hard-line and religiously based for me. However, I ended up quoting it heavily after we followed a "haphazard" attempt at R. My wife and I re-read it and implemented a lot of the advice in it to make R work after I asked for a divorce in writing about 1 year after DDay.

I personally have my own mental model for the affair that uses fire as an analogy. To me, this explanation of "Why?" is absolutely key to understanding, healing, and creating a safe relationship in R.

https://www.survivinginfidelity.com/topics/653154/why/

Hope that helps, and good luck with recovery.

Love is not a measure of capacity for pain you are willing to endure for your partner.

posts: 2121   ·   registered: Dec. 11th, 2019
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annb ( member #22386) posted at 7:55 PM on Friday, September 23rd, 2022

Any thoughts on the book "After the Affair?" I think I've seen it mentioned here before.

^^^I think I managed to read maybe two chapters of that book and in the trash it went. IMO it partially places the blame on the BS if I can recall. Nope.

The best book out there is Not Just Friends by Shirley Glass.

posts: 11617   ·   registered: Jan. 10th, 2009   ·   location: Northeast
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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 8:20 PM on Friday, September 23rd, 2022

I started reading it, there is some good stuff so far but when it repeatedly talks about BS taking responsibility for their small part in contributing to the affair, I get leery.

There is NO part in contributing to the affair. The WS makes that choice without our consent. The "unmet needs" fallacy will spin your head like a top if you don't recognize it for the horse hockey it is and there are still oodles of therapists out there working it.

I'm going to reprint a post for you rather than type it all up again, but yeah.. that's the main complaint most BS's have with After the Affair. Whatever good Spring might have written is undone by this assertion that we have responsibility for our WS's infidelity.

My own WH went on a Craigslist binge seven years ago, multiple partners, various degrees of emotional attachment. He even thought he was in love at one point. But ten years before that, I'd caught him out in some online shenanigans, porn, cybersexing, emotional affair, etc. In fact, I caught him out only two weeks before a planned meet-up. I'd already seen an attorney before I confronted him and I was bent on divorce, but he pretty much cried his way out of it and I settled on MC. As you might have guessed already, we too were bamboozled with the "unmet needs" model of therapy, which sounds so reasonable. I upped my wife game, and did my best pick-me polka, but within a couple of years, he was right back at it behind my back. By the time we reached the ten year mark, he had screwed up his nerve to go live and in person on Craigslist.

Of course, I was pretty shocked as you might imagine. I thought we were good. I thought his "needs" were met. Damned if I hadn't been turning myself inside out for a decade to make sure, right? The more I thought about it, the more I revisited what I knew about the "unmet needs model", the less it made sense. I was doing everything right and he still CHOSE to cheat.

Here's the fly in the "unmet needs" ointment...

Healthy ADULTS don't need to be validated. They validate internally. Healthy adults are self-fruitful in the matter of contentment and life satisfaction, and when things come up which make them unhappy, they address the cause and solve the problem. OTOH, the vast majority of cheaters cheat because they're seeking external validation. They are NOT emotionally healthy. They can't do it on their own. They've got a hole inside them and no amount of external validation will fill it. Certainly, the old and familiar validation of a spouse doesn't get the job done. Our "kibbles" are stale and boring. They don't create enough adrenaline anymore to make the cheater feel special. It's like getting an "atta boy" from your mom, right?

This is old pop-psy which is still being taught in schools and still selling books. But it's bullshit. NOTHING you can do (or fail to do) can MAKE another person throw away their core values and do something that's in this kind of opposition to good character. If you're a person who BELIEVES in fidelity, who VALUES fidelity, you don't cheat. End of story. Because when we truly value something we protect it. The cheater has a "but..." in his values system. ie. "I believe in fidelity, but... not if my needs aren't being met." For people like you and me, we have a "so..." in our values system. ie. "I believe in fidelity, so... I don't put myself in risky situations with the opposite sex." This is the BOUNDARY we create organically. We don't sit around planning it out. It just happens, because it's innate to our character to protect what we value. The cheater doesn't have those boundaries because he doesn't really honor his values. He only claims to.

I'm not saying that your marriage is over or that your WH can't change. What I am saying though is that this "unmet needs" model is NOT going to challenge him to clean up his flawed character. In fact, it allows him to offload responsibility onto the marriage and onto YOU. It's not your job to MAKE him feel (fill-in-the-blank-here). It never was. It's his job to manage his feelings. You could have been doing everything exactly perfect for the entire length of your marriage, and he would still have cheated... because there's NOTHING in his character stopping him and he has no coping mechanism to fall back on when he feels unvalidated, inadequate, unappreciated, etc.

It's HIS job to see that his "needs" get met. Sometimes that might mean negotiating with you, say if it's about sex or about the division of labor in your home, etc. But sometimes, it might mean that what he sees as a "need" is unhealthy in an adult, like external validation through attention and flattery.

MC's are there to treat the marriage. The marriage is the client. So, of course they're going to talk about communications, resentments and expectations. The MC doesn't want to alienate anyone, so s/he's looking to find balance on both sides. But marriages don't cheat. People do. The only way your WH is going to make a change that safeguards against further perfidy is by correcting his need for external validation and becoming an emotionally healthy adult whose deeds are as good as his word. No excuses, just honoring the things he claims to value. For that, I would recommend IC (individual counseling) with a therapist who is well-versed in adultery.

The last thing any newly-minted BS needs is to walk into an MC's office, believing that they've come to safe harbor, and being handed a copy of The Five Love Languages or some other "unmet needs" gobbledygook. It would be really nice if we actually did have the power to control our mate by giving them "acts of service" or "words of affirmation", but sadly, we aren't gods who can stop a cheater from seeking out his/her choice of adrenaline rush and new kibbles. Although, this kind of pop-psy suggests that their behavior is somehow our responsibility. The more you dig into this ridiculous line of thought, the more absurd it becomes.

Anyway... sorry for the lengthy post. Nothing fries my ass more than seeing new BS's being sold this bill of goods.

BW: 2004(online EAs), 2014 (multiple PAs)Married 38 years; in R with fWH for 7

No one can make you into a liar but you.

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 PFB84 (original poster member #80715) posted at 8:43 PM on Friday, September 23rd, 2022

Thank you for the feedback. I almost stopped reading when right in the damn intro it said something like "we don't assign blame for the affair" or something like that, and repeatedly referenced how both share responsibility.

I may not be a perfect man, but I know I did not contribute to this in ANY way. I am a great husband, father, lover, and any unmet needs that may have contributed to this had nothing to do with me. My wife agrees that I don't share the blame and we have been open in talking about those "unmet needs" takes on infidelity and how they don't apply to us. I do think that she understands this part better than most WS because of how her previous marriage ended. (Ugh, sometimes I just need to shake my head and take a breath when I remember she knows EXACTLY how this feels and still decided to do it to me.)


Any time I have been feeling low and have even started down the road of "maybe if I was a better husband" type thing she shoots me down and absolutely refuses to let me entertain the thought.


But I did read past the intro of the book and the first couple chapters had some good stuff. So i'll keep skimming it, I will just skip the parts about the BS being in any way at fault lol.

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NotInMyLife ( member #67728) posted at 11:03 PM on Friday, September 23rd, 2022

Speaking of books, I like What* Makes Love Last?: How to Build Trust and Avoid Betrayal by Gottman and Silver. It's based on decades of observation of what characterizes functional and dysfunctional marriages. They describe the research in The Science of Trust, which is very academic. There is an interesting list of counseling approaches to avoid in What Makes Love Last? that's worth a read in and of itself. Actually, all the Gottman books are good. If you think you to switch to another couples counselor, look for one who is Gottman trained.

posts: 167   ·   registered: Nov. 3rd, 2018
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This0is0Fine ( member #72277) posted at 11:19 PM on Friday, September 23rd, 2022

Also with an asterisk that Gottman claims details may be more traumatic than helpful and that the BS shouldn't ask for details they know will hurt them. It buys into a little bit of rugsweeping and minimization. Otherwise, the "Atone, Attune, Attach" model for recovery is very good.

Love is not a measure of capacity for pain you are willing to endure for your partner.

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Unhinged ( member #47977) posted at 7:29 PM on Saturday, September 24th, 2022

Any thoughts on the book "After the Affair?" I think I've seen it mentioned here before. The MC mentioned it and my wife has already bought it and read half. I started reading it, there is some good stuff so far but when it repeatedly talks about BS taking responsibility for their small part in contributing to the affair, I get leery.

There are way, way too many marriage counselors and authors out there who believe that if someone cheats on their spouse there must be something wrong with the marriage. There are so many false generalizations and unwarranted conclusions in this premise that I often question what the fuck they teach these idiots in college.

There is no justification for infidelity and the cheating spouse is always 100% responsible for their own choices. It's pretty simple. No need to complicate things at all.

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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