Livingingrief (original poster member #79723) posted at 9:32 PM on Wednesday, September 21st, 2022
I always wonder how my H was able to act so normal during his A. His behavior never changed. His A was with out neighbor/his friends wife and even when we were all hanging out together, there still was never an indication that he was having an A. How are Waywards able to look into their spouses sees everyday knowing what they are doing? I think I'm even more confused than most because of the things my husband told me for years prior to his A. He always said, " I'm so afraid of being hurt bc I was hurt so badly by my ex gf" or " I'm always afraid you will leave bc I feel like you are too good for me". How could he do to us the obe thing he feared the most? He knew how destroyed I would be and did it anyway. How does one ever trust someone again after this?
This0is0Fine ( member #72277) posted at 10:21 PM on Wednesday, September 21st, 2022
All cheaters are constantly lying throughout the A. Acting normal is just one more lie. I think most people don't act quite *normal* during the A, but certainly they are trying to in most cases.
As for the draw of the affair, it feels good, and in most cases is a slow progression through porous boundaries. I'm not sure if you have read "Not Just Friends" but it is very helpful in my understanding of the wayward mind set.
He had drinks with her alone (or something), which was totally not a date. He talked about very personal stuff with her, but he was going to keep reasonable boundaries, besides friends talk about these things. He was feeling attraction and told her just to clear the air, it's reasonable to tell her so that they can both be on guard, to make SURE nothing happens. Then one day they act on the mutually expressed attraction while alone and the A has started. Once it's started, it's very much self fueling. The illicit attention feels good, and the WS has to lie to keep it going.
Love is not a measure of capacity for pain you are willing to endure for your partner.
emergent8 ( member #58189) posted at 6:09 PM on Thursday, September 22nd, 2022
I struggled with this too. It is common for cheaters, particularly of the cake-eating variety, to be master compartmentalizers. They feel guilty when they think about what they are doing, so they simply do not let their brains go there.
Me: BS, Him: WS. Mid-late 30s.
Together 15 years, married 6 (11 m at D-Day).
D-Day: Feb 2017 (8 m PA with married COW).
5 years (and two toddlers) into R. Happy.
Trapped74 ( member #49696) posted at 6:10 PM on Thursday, September 22nd, 2022
I'm not sure how far into this journey you are, but as time went on, I realized, looking back, there were behaviors that were not "normal" that I just didn't recognize at the time. My WH has always had anger issues, but during his A, the incoherent, irrational rage was just bubbling right beneath the surface, and erupted at really weird times. Because, ya know, my very existence was inconvenient for his A.
Many DDays. Me (BW) 46 Him (WH) 49
Happily detached and compartmentalized.
BearlyBreathing ( member #55075) posted at 7:39 PM on Thursday, September 22nd, 2022
My XWH was definitely in a crisis throughout his A. I just attributed his behavior to a couple medical conditions (including a prostrate one that required surgery to fix) and a more-or-less demotion in his work-role. I gave him SOOOOO much slack and compassion and understanding when he was being an angry, dismissive jerk. When he wanted to go camping by himself for a weekend "to reset and get a grip on things" I fully encouraged it. ( I also pushed him to go to IC and talk to a couple friends, but he didn’t do this at all.) And "camping" of course was a long weekend with the AP.
Lots of red flags and I saw them, asked about then, cried over them… but I attributed them to other things. And he let me. He took advantage of my concern to give him even more "freedom" and unexplained time away. And yeah, he looked me in the eye the whole time and told me repeatedly that I was the only thing in his life he loved. I think that was true except for AP - total cliche midlife crisis (a little past mid-life, but still) .
The level of mental gymnastics is mind boggling.
Me: BS 55 (49 on d-day)Him: WH. 64. D-Day 8/15/2016 LTA. Kinda liking my new life :-)
**horrible typist, lots of edits to correct. :-/ **
Chaos ( member #61031) posted at 5:40 PM on Friday, September 23rd, 2022
LTA survivor here. And there were no signs. Even looking back - there were no signs. As emergent8 said - Cake Eaters are masters of compartmentalization. Knowing that doesn't make it any easier a pill to swallow.
BS-me/WH-4.5yrLTA Married 2+ decades - Children (1 still at home) Multiple DDays w/same AP until I told OBS 2018 Cease & Desist sent spring 2021"Hello–My name is Chaos–You f***ed my husband-Prepare to Die!"
swmnbc ( member #49344) posted at 9:08 PM on Friday, September 23rd, 2022
You don't have to trust him. It's yours to bestow, or not. It's a choice, and an act of faith, and you can decide if the criteria you need have been met.
The flip side of what you write is true . . . it was "easier" (not that any of this is easy) to rebuild trust with my husband because he did seem really stressed and guilty during the affair. It does give me some modicum of reassurance that while I can't control his behavior, I will figure it out if he starts abusing my trust again.
But I tend to think that's true for all cheaters. We're all here because we figured it out one way or another. Maybe you can't trust your WH, or any other human completely, but you can trust yourself. You can trust that you'll figure out what you need to know and have the strength to do what you need to do.
BreakingBad ( member #75779) posted at 6:50 PM on Saturday, September 24th, 2022
You can trust that you'll figure out what you need to know and have the strength to do what you need to do.
You nailed it!
How to they seem so normal? I do think many are great compartmentalizers.
Also, life is complex and stressful. So BSs often attribute any moments of "off" behavior to other things we know are happening IRL.
Even when I read the title of your thread, a creepy thought hit me. My fWH was really stressed and depressed about his job during his affairs. I probably thought he was feeling better and less depressed when his affairs were going on because the ego boosts were helping him. I was probably happy he was "back to a more normal state."
In fact, the one time period that stands out during his affairs is when his LTA with OW#1 had just ended. During that time frame, he was snarly and super sensitive to any comment or feedback--reacting as if it was EXTREME criticism. That was when he behaved out of the norm, when he wasn't getting the ego boost. His ship righted itself soon enough when he found OW#2 and then #3. Back to "normal" again.
"Don't you love it, don't you love it?
No, I ain't happy yet.
But I'm way less sad."[Credit to group AJR]
Me=BW; fWH=online affairs with 3 APs over 2.5-3 yrs
Both in IC & MC
Married 31 yrs now
2 kids-both in HS
jb3199 ( member #27673) posted at 7:56 PM on Saturday, September 24th, 2022
Implicit trust has its ways of making us oblivious/dismissive of some of our partner's 'normal' behavior.
I would bet that with a do-over....with the knowledge and, for lack of a better word, cynicism, that we now possess....our partners may not have been as normal as we thought.
Married almost 30yrs.
All work and no play has just cost me my wife--Gary Puckett
Accepting that I can/may end this marriage 7/2/14
FireandWater ( member #80084) posted at 7:20 PM on Sunday, September 25th, 2022
In some ways, my WH appeared "normal" during his 2-year A. He's always been self-centered and more focused on himself. But looking back, I recall that he was even more into himself, his activities, hanging out with a group of former co-workers (the AP was part of the group and some of their "outings" turned out to be a front for him meeting up with only the AP). While he was unemployed, he would take very long walks. I would seem him coming and going from our Ring Doorbell while I was at work. He would sometimes be gone for up to 2 hours. When I would mention it to him later, he would say, "Oh yeah. I walked to the park and sat down to rest and ended up looking at job openings on my phone for a long time." Yeah, no. The AP was parking near our house and they were walking to the park together, among other things. There were lots of red flags that I finally put together before I decided to look through his computer and discovered the evidence. I also recall that he was very dismissive of me during that time. I tried many times to open conversations about how I felt we were disconnected and I wanted to work on it with him. He seemed to have no interest. He would make a few comments like "Yeah, OK. I get it. I'll do better." But nothing would change and I would get more frustrated. Why work on fixing things with me when he could get free BJs without much effort? I also think if he leaned into fixing the marriage, he would feel guilty about the A and cause himself to feel uncomfortable. He had no interest in doing that either. He now says he doesn't remember me initiating those conversations. Of course not. He was completely closed off to me and only saw me as an annoyance to his exciting new f*** fest.
WH claims he was very good a compartmentalizing. He could come home from screwing his bitch and jump right into a conversation about sports with our son. I asked him how he could face his kids after what he had just done? He said, "I didn't think about them while doing it, and I didn't think about her while I was with my family. I put everyone into separate compartments." I have no understanding of that. It's not something I could ever fathom doing.