Monday, November 30, 2009

How to stop the affair: Respect yourself...and demand others do, too

I don't know what it feels like to hear the words, "I'm not in love with you anymore," though Diana does. Nor do I know what it feels like to send your child off every second weekend to live with an ex and his former-affair-partner-turned-girlfriend. But Anne knows. And I certainly don't know how it feels to live with a man who won't give up his "extracurriculars" even at the risk of losing his marriage. But many women do.
The thing about betrayal, though, is that the details rarely matter. They're eclipsed by the overwhelming feelings of loss, shock, rejection, abandonment that all betrayed wives share. All those primal emotions that strip us of our defenses and reduce us to feeling like infants.
That, however, is where we lose sight of our own power.
No we can't control another's feelings or actions. But – and here's the important part – we can control our own. We can refuse to participate in another's manipulation of us. Abuse of us. We can state our needs clearly. Then, if they're not met, we can decide to walk away. If you haven't figured out what your needs are yet, having spent a lifetime denying you have any, start with this: You need to feel safe.
We owe it to ourselves. We owe it to our children. To insist on being treated respectfully.
It's not easy, especially if we've never behaved that way before. It can be terrifying. But, in the end, all we have is ourselves. And if we let ourselves down, how can we expect others not to do the same?


  1. sending my kids off to be with my ex and his affair turned girlfriend 3 days a week is excruciating! I don't want him back, never again, after 8 affairs (that I know about) and all of the emotional abuse-- but it still hurts so bad!

  2. Annie, one of the BWC members, had the hardest time with sending her son to be with her ex...and his OW-turned-girlfriend. It drove her crazy that the woman who had caused such pain was spending time with her son.
    However, that's the reality of it. The pain, from what I'm told, does get less with time. And kids need a relationship with their dad, even if he is a total weenie.
    The best thing you can do for your kids and yourself is to use the time to take care of you and get yourself feeling good. Spend time with people who support you and boost you, have some quiet to work through all the pain and anger, read, exercise, watch a good movie...
    But yes, life does sometimes suck. The good news is that it never stays that way forever.

  3. E - it seems we have very much the same type of infidelity from our spouses - well, I mean, it sounds like your H was not in it for the emotions. I too also do not know any of the above. Plus, you did not mention in this post, but in past posts, the surprise child. I don't know what "real" affairs are like.

    I do not call one night or one day stands expressed in 20 minute intervals (or so) which my husband participated/paid for, affairs. Some people call them affairs, for some strange reason. But to me, affairs are of the heart - they are a replacement wife or additional wife. But to this day, I still don't know, like I said, what an actual affair - infidelity feels like and if it is worse or better but is certainly different than one night/day f*cks.

    I guess to tell you the truth, I'm confused. At first I wanted the women to be real women, not sex objects. Real women were something I could at least compare myself to - get into the head of my husband, the understanding of his actions. Affairs, to me are solid and REAL. Sex objects? The prostitutes - they are something so foreign, I'd understand an alien from space quicker than understanding a man who purchases a f*ck from a woman who then leaves 20 minutes later. Like my cheating husband so callously said after D-day, "What do you pay a prostitute for? To leave."

    1. Yes, I think you're right in that sexual encounters aren't really "affairs". But, as I write above, the details don't really matter. It's the lying and deception that, I think, ultimately mess with our heads. And that make it so hard to get back to a place of safety within the marriage.
      Why did your husband seek sex outside of the marriage? What was missing that a 20-minute encounter with a prostitute was worth risking his family?


  4. He thought he'd never get caught and it wasn't hurting anyone. He has always been into porn - secretly. He has always been obsessed with sex objects in some form or another - again, secretly. I am a feminist and I do not know why someone like him would be so attached to someone like me. I know why I was attached to him - he lied, pretended he was something he wasn't. I didn't. I was an open book, someone with integrity. There are some people who lie so well, no one knows who they really are, as in my husband. Every one would tell me - his family, friends, co-workers - how lucky I was. That my husband was such a good man. He never went to strip joints or had affairs or did anything the other men did. That's how good my husband was - he was worse. He lied to everyone. He did it during the work day - he was always driving from one place to another. That's what he does. He is well respected in his industry. He is trusted beyond limits with everyone. He is the go to person. So how easy it was to drive to massage parlors and get the whole deal. On the way to the next job, have a quickie, and go on.

    Again, he says that nothing was missing. So I'm not sure why you would think something was missing. All the men in his therapy group say the same thing - nothing was wrong with the marriage or the family. It was them. He was all screwed up. Over sexualized at an early age - porn by 12 and being obsessed with naked women. Then the internet porn drove him to pay for sex from the sex objects. It has nothing to do with me. What was missing was in him: integrity, character, and will.

    1. Oh I certainly didn't mean that anything was missing with you or with your family. I meant what was missing in HIM that he would risk what he had for a 20-minute quickie. It's absolutely about him.
      And yes, porn, especially at a young age, changes the brain's wiring. It changes the way those who routinely view porn "see" women, as objects not as people




Related Posts with Thumbnails