Friday, June 26, 2015

Inside the Mind of An Other Woman

Elizabeth Gilbert (of Eat, Pray, Love fame) recently penned a piece for the Mental Health Issue of the New York Times Magazine confessing her "seduction addiction". 
In it, she lays bare her need to draw men's attention to her, away from their significant other. Unattached men, it seems, were less appealing than those for whom she had an adversary, a competitor. Seduction was sweeter, apparently, when it was harder won. 
She was rarely satisfied with her conquests. The incessant hunger for attention was not so easily tamed. She would grow tired and bored with someone whose gaze for her no longer burned as brightly and be attracted by the next shiny new man for whom she could do her crazy dance of "look at me! Love me!"
It's a candid look inside the mind of women who prey on attached men. I'm unsure why she wrote it, frankly. She had nothing really to gain and plenty to lose. But she's shown us something we rarely see so honestly: the truth about the Other Woman. Or at least some of them.
One of the points that particularly struck me was this: There was nothing special about the men she sought. It wasn't about love or soul-mates or star-crossed lovers. These men were merely different. 
And different can be intoxicating. Until it isn't anymore. Until it's revealed to simply narcissism dressed in sexy clothing.
It's true also for our unfaithful spouses. These women they cheat with aren't special. But they are different. And so our husbands construct a story based on what they imagine they see in that person's eyes. Interest. Desire. Escape. A parallel universe.
It's difficult for we betrayeds to understand, unless we too have been tempted by the allure of possibility. To us, these women are so obvious. They're manipulative. They're morally bankrupt. They're self-centered. They're crazy. They need a good therapist not a new boyfriend. 
And it can be tough for our spouses to realized they've been had. That they were nothing special themselves. That they were being used. They'll sometimes resist admitting that. It's humiliating, after all. 
Gilbert recognized the menace she'd become and created the conditions for change. For that, I applaud her. But I ache for the women who were devastated by her seduction campaign. We know their pain. 


101 comments:

  1. these women are so obvious. They're manipulative. They're morally bankrupt. They're self-centered. They're crazy. They need a good therapist not a new boyfriend. And it can be tough for our spouses to realized they've been had. That they were nothing special themselves. That they were being used. They'll sometimes resist admitting that. It's humiliating, after all.

    Yes, yes and yes. My WH is finally realizing that he was being manipulated. They had an initial affair that he ended many years ago, why, because at the time he knew what he did was disastrous and how much it would hurt me.....he did not cut her off, he was coaching her son and therefore had constant contact with her and he wanted to continue coaching this team. He eventually compartmentalized the affair and felt comfortable enough after constant contact that a friendship with her was okay. Then after the coaching her son was over, they continued contact as friends (apparently). What he sees now is that she was ALWAYS feeding him ego kibble....he says it was ALOT and I'm sure intoxicating that someone would make you feel so special. Then around the time that her BH lost his job and apparently didn't work too hard to get a new one, she started to want more again (apparently she was the original aggressor-I am still not 100% convinced of it). I do however believe that is when she turned up the EGO kibble....she would tell him how great he is, what a great father he is.....how she would treat him and what she would do for him if she had someone like him. did he get sucked in? Big time. This is when the physical started again. She would complain about how her BH was lazy and not earning and how great my WH was for his earning capabilities and how he does extra to try to earn a little more. My husband is now seeing that she was trying to replace her BH with a new, employed man. He is seeing how she manipulated him. And as it states above, I always saw those traits in her as did so many other people but for some reason he became blind to them. I was once told that she tries to seduce all her sons coaches...something I didn't think that was possible for my husband and it sure didn't seem like he was vulnerable to her manipulation, he use to complain about her all the time. I definitely saw flirting. It started as her manipulating her sons coach and then became a husband replacement.

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    1. Ewwww. Women like that give all of us a bad name. I remember asking my husband how a woman interested in an affair would behave. I just couldn't wrap my mind around how one could "seduce" a married person. It all seemed so...unseemly. I've come to realize I'm naive. Frankly I was never good at seduction when I was single. Too much work.

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    2. This article hit home with me. My (now ex) husband left us with another married-at-the time woman who broke up multiple marriages. I did not know her, so I did not get to see her in action (co worker of his). However, someone who knew her said she was the type who she didn't trust her around her husband. She couldn't really explain how she played the men in the office because she said she wasn't an overt flirt. So to this day I cannot understand how she got multiple men to jeopardize or leave their marriages. I guess I have never truly witnessed a woman like that so I am naive I'm how woman like this operate. Lizzie, if you can provide more insight in how you witnessed this, maybe I can wrap my arms around this. I am one of those women who, while married, was friendly with other men but always kept my distance and never engaged in questionable conversations....and I believe my female friends are also like this. So I do have a hard time, to this day, understanding other women like this.

      Thank you for this information.

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    3. Anonymous....I knew her for several years. We met her when my WH decided to coach a higher level team and her son was part of the same club but a couple of years older (same age as our son). We met her when we went to see the team play and she was "impressed" by his coaching skills/credentials. My WH decided to coach a team for the spring that was the same age as our son and hers and she wanted her son to be coached by my H. She flirted a little. I watched the way she was with other men and it was flirtatious....not too much....but noticeable. She is very short and they way she would stretch her neck and body up towards men and the body language she gave off show that she was being flirtatious. With my WH, it started off with this team and she would call him relentlessly for his opinion of her son's abilities. She called ALL the time. Drove me nuts and my WH also. When he was coaching a different winter team than her son, she would continue to call him for "advise". My WH eventually got the winter team that her son would be trying out for. Turns out they had a physical affair about 2 -3 months before the try outs for this team. Of course I didn't know anything about it. He cut it off and told her never again (apparently). She was the initiator (apparently). I say apparently because I don't really know the truth. He said that before the physical affair while they were talking on the phone all the time (and I knew about the calls but I understood they were all sport related-but obviously were not all about her sons abilities). My WH said that he remembers her coming up to him in the arena and pulling him down to his level and giving him a kiss on the cheek and he thought that was weird. She would tell him what a fantastic coach he is and how great he is with the kids and how happy she was that her son could be coached by him.

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    4. part 2
      After the physical affair where he told her no more- her son was still going to be playing gone the team. He still took her son as a player-said her son didn't deserve to be punished because of it (what he says now). He would have been able to and probably would have cut off all contact with her except the season just started. During the try outs for this team, another mother came up to me and told me that she had heard that OW tries to seduce the coaches of her sons teams to make sure he gets on the team.....I didn't believe it at the time. She was a family acquaintance/friend....oh yes I forgot to mention that I am also a sport conditioner and I trained her son in our basement many times where she NEVER ended up paying me. Anyway, I can see how my WH had to have contact with her as her son played on the team and she continued to call ALL the time and I was aware but again I thought it was regarding the sport only and my WH always seemed annoyed that she called and he still says that he was. During this time, he became used to talking to her again and he compartmentalized the PA and was able to NOT feel the guilt that he should have. After the season was over, the spring season started and he played on that team. After that, when her son no longer played for my WH teams-he went on to another higher level that he wasn't able to play for....she continued to call for guidance of what WH thought her son should do to further his ability and chances. I was now unaware that they were still in contact...and I had previously confronted him when I did know they were still talking and he swore there was nothing and he would never jeopardize our family like that....he almost vomitted because he was so upset that I suggested it. He said he would never do that to me or our son and that we were the most important people in his lives. So, I was unaware. She changed her phone number. I saw repeated numbers and I confronted him about them and he told me they were someone in the sport that he was coaching....fool that I am, i believe him and never bothered with it again. Then the phone company discontinued sending detailed billing so I had no access to what numbers he was calling-not that it probably would have mattered as I completely trusted him at this point and never would have bothered to check since he told me it was someone else.

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    5. part 3
      So in a nutshell, what I noticed about her during this period of time is that she is a flirt, she pushes boundaries with men and doesn't care what the wives think. She is loud and obnoxious. Most women don't like her. She is not attractive but she does and I have witnessed it on many occasions- an ego kibble giver. I watched her with other peoples husbands also, she is ALWAYS giving out ego kibble to all men that she likes, even some she doesn't. She talks about people behind their backs and she prefers men to women. Her BH told me that he suspected their affair during the season my WH coached their son but couldn't prove it and also thought it continued but couldn't find any proof....he didn't try very hard obviously as it was easy for me once I had an inkling. He told me she is a constant liar. This was also something I always knew about her, she lied about everything, both to look better herself and to make the men she was talking about see her differently. Most of the women figured it out. I always noticed that she treated me differently...kind of like she was trying to keep me at arms length....I didn't care because I didn't like her particularly. She thinks a lot of herself and even after I spoke with her after the affair was in the open, she still tried to make herself look like she was innocently taken advantage of by my husband and said and I quote" _____(wh) is bascially just a bastard who took advantage of me when I was in a bad place....he ruined my life, my sons life, my husbands life, your life and the rest of our families". She said she has taken responsibility but she has not, its all my WH fault. Previously she also blamed her husband for ALL the problems in her marriage. She used to tell my WH about how abusive her BS is verbal and apparently he slapped her a few time. Do I believe that....no. From seeing them together and even speaking with both her and her husband after the fact, it is more than clear that she is the boss in that family and I can tell she basically tells him what to do and how to feel. When my WH accidentally pocket dialled her BS (from a text where he threatened to kill my WH) it was her who called me to ask why he would call her BS. When she called the house, it was me who called her back and took her to task for the call, when I had confirmation that she was snooping on one of his sites, it was me who confronted her and gave her what for about it...why, because my WH was to have no contact and he stuck to it. If her BS wasn't being kept under her thumb...he would have contacted me to ask...not her. She called the house and broker no contact on her end....why because she is telling her BS what to do. When she found out that he sent my WH a text, she freaked out. When my WH found out I contacted her, he said I guess you have to do whatever you need to do.

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    6. Anonymous, I hope that info was what you were looking for,if not let me know what else I can add.

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    7. Thank you very much, Lizzie, for your detailed information. Wow. I didn't know my husband's OW (now wife). When you mentioned her body language, that rang a bell w/ how another co worker described her being w/ the MALE co workers (all of them... and my husband was the one who fell for it). Ugh. Thank you again!!! Good luck to you!

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    8. So much of this makes sense. I know that the OW of my shitstorm had female friends, but based on the things she felt were inferior about myself, she seemed to have higher standards for them (not sure what let she has to stand on in regards to having standards). Either way it really seems to match the intentional OW mentality, that she's extroverted and loud which some will find fun and others will find obnoxious - before I knew of the joke I wasn't in on but after meeting her during the only time I spent with her, I know I told my SO in a moment of her absence that while she's "nice" that she seems like the kind of person you need in small doses. While this is probably no coincidence with someone's willingness to help betray another woman, get off on it and feel superior about it, she seemed like the girl that is proud that she has more male friends and judged women for being "needy" or, why can't she just say it, just not as much fun as her! That falls in line with the personality I've seen too, but also that this all allows them to pride themselves on having some special insight into the male psyche, especially that of your partner. It bothers me more that they'll do this to another human being rather than being gender specific on the platform of sisterhood, but when it comes down to it I just don't think this type respects women very much or actually think as highly of them as they do of men.
      The other major commonality, my god yours sounds like a control freak. Flipped shit when your husbands came into contact? Yeah.... Clearly we all know that the control is a big factor in betrayal and how that is what threatens them so much about being questioned about the information they two have, as they'd rather cling to that control and are otherwise relinquishing it. But it seems the OW has her own version of it, especially if she's cheating on someone too for the aforementioned reasons. Some of it is just the entitlement and backasswards thinking but the one in my life thought she could dictate our relationship and that he wouldn't sleep with me out of respect for their "relationship". She thought she deserved for him to be faithful to her by being inactive in the relationship she helped screw up. She posted a lot of gooey stuff and photos on his fb and at the point that she was losing control and the pick me dance, perhaps the beginning of the end for them, I posted a couple photos of me and him up on his fb wall and she FREAKED. Basically angrily insulted me through texting him, including a request to deliver that message to me. And to top it off on the subject of control and other tales of narcissistic woe, he (yes he still out of his mind and me too tired to fight for anything) tried to explain to her that they couldn't be together and would have to remain "friends", her response was an ultimatum. That yes they could go back to being friends, but that would only be possible if he broke up with me. SERIOUSLY. That's what she needed to be his "friend". That somehow he and I had to downgrade to friendship if they did. In her twisted logic, I guess maybe he needed to respect her ego by hurting me (and MY ego, admittedly) or punish me for "winning" by preventing the actual victory. Perhaps she had to try to be my equal the only way she knew how. Or some combination of the two. Unfuckingbelievable. Needless to say, I'm not past a lot of it but it especially pisses me off whenever I even think about that stuff.

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    9. better half- OW was faithful to my WH and not her BH. Hadn't had sex with him since my WH and her started having sex. NOT the case for my WH. Something it sounded like she was not happy to know. Here is an example of how she wanted control: My WH and I were on a cruise ship. On this cruise ship they have web cams that you can follow on-line. She watched them and told my WH that she saw us and was upset because he had his arm around me- his wife. Complained constantly about how horrible her BH treated her and how great my WH is and how she would treat someone like him if she had someone like him.....hinting to him but he didn't pick up on her hints until now.

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    10. Wow she sounds psycho checking up on you two. It doesn't surprise me one bit that she got ego-hurt when she realized she had been "faithful" to someone who "wasn't", but damn that at least had to be something that gave you a bit of satisfaction - something that challenged her view that she mattered more to him than you did, as actions speak louder than words. But isn't that just crazy though? How these women getting involved with someone else's partner can believe whole"heart"early that they should have fidelity even though it further intrudes on the primary relationship which is the primary commitment? Not in their minds I guess. But seriously, though she didn't succeed, even the fact that she was TRYING to do that and the colossal nerve and hypocrisy it takes infuriates me. Aside from just being pissed that I'd be sexually ignored by him because of HER, I don't think any of us take too kindly to someone making decisions for our lives, but this anger, pain and helplessness would be compounded by the fact that it was because of a vile someone we already feel so defeated by. It just feels so wrong as it feels like the LAST "person" who should have that kind of control over the most intimate parts of our lives.
      Now honestly, in case you couldn't tell from my attitude through the beginning of this post, not only do I find it hypocritical to expect faithfulness while in an affair, but I'm not sure it really exists. Certainly the active OW's of the world would think so, but I just don't think you can call it cheating when you're cheating. Obviously my personal distaste for cheating that we all share basically prohibits me from giving a shit about that, but I can't take affairs, considering they are illicit relationships, seriously enough to even consider it a real relationship. The real relationship is the one that is had with a betrayed/spouse partner, and in a monogamous relationship, the commitment is to that partner. Otherwise we wouldn't call it cheating when it happens to that first person. The shit these people are doing is out of fantasy and I think even they would admit that they don't have a real partnership to their name until ties are severed "when they can really be together" as they always say when they talk about their fantasy future post-divorce. By acting like the wife or significant other is the OW or intruding on their shared territory, and I surely mean a falsely identified one, it's just another extension of their entitlement and desperate attempt to legitimize what they claim to have together.

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    11. better half- I did find satisfaction that she was upset that WH wasn't being faithful to her....and I got to pass on that info to her. I guess it was never discussed between. While she was being arrogant and trying to tell me about the "state of my marriage" and that I am ignorant to what my WH apparently felt about it-she said "I told him to go back to you and ask what he needs and told me he said there was no point because there was nothing left" Then she said "he told me he wished he met me 30 years ago" and then said "he is only staying with you because he knows he can't have me because I would never leave". Sounds like all lies. My WH said she was the one that said she wished she met him 30 years ago. It was her that complained about her marriage....this is fact as she complained to me about it and how volatile her BH is and how she should have left years ago. If my WH thought there was nothing left of our M, he would have left when the shit hit the fan....or at least by now. He begged for forgiveness, never contacted her again and hates hearing her name. I saw him physcially vomit when I made him answer detailed questions about the sex with her. She became very involved emotionally with my WH and he was not emotionally involved at all. She seemed to get upset when I brought up the state of her marriage while she was being faithful to my WH and he was definitely NOT being faithful to her.....she seemed upset when I told her our sex life was more active during their A than hers was with my H. Shut her up quick. My H doesn't even remember what she looks like, said when they were "together" she was faceless. He said he can only compare it as though he was acting out a porn scene each time. If he didn't get it from her, he would do it himself. He said he just needed a release but doesn't know why he wouldn't wait until he got home for it. Once out of the affair "fog" which took me busting him, he was glad to be out of it and is now baffled as to what happened to him. I know she was relentless is making sure he didn't stop.

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    12. Wow, what a sad creature she is. It baffles me how they can still be compelled to hurt the wife and suffer "wife disdain" when they were the ones who wronged someone to begin with. Utter narcissism.
      It's so funny you mention the extent of how "unfaithful" he was to her. I've also always been able to know that my SO and I had more sex during their affair than they did. Never got to mention this to her though. I'm sure she'd be pissed, and I'm positive he had her believing that he wasn't sleeping with me at the time even though there was actually a pretty intense hysterical bonding phase going on right then that reached to about 5-6 times a day. I bet she figured it out though that he wasn't totally honest with her either. I know it's probably not the healthiest thing to focus on but it still serves a purpose, that whenever the voices of the media, or general public that buys into media portrayal of affairs in all its ignorance, starts to intrude on my thoughts with the idea that the wife is some frigid partner who should've expected to be cheated on because she never put out, I remember not only how untrue this was before him cheating but even how we spent our time together while he was cheating. It's kind of like it helps my version of the story ring more true for me than what everyone else tends to believe about affair stories. That's something I struggle with though. I'm not sure I'd call it an actual trigger, but whenever I see something that buys into the media image, I feel compelled to correct it and defend my own story.
      Btw does anyone here watch greys anatomy? It's like the only show I've ever seen where the affair type situations in the storylines was something different and honest enough that I don't feel so threatened and wanting to correct the perspective shown. I think my favorite storyline like this was early in the season where it was so well orchestrated that each person in the triangle has more than one role (betrayed, cheater, OW). Please chime in if you know what I'm talking about

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    13. BH, I haven't watched Grey's Anatomy in quite a few years so I'm not sure what storyline you're talking about. But I'm always so grateful to see an affair depicted that really reveals how messy and devastating they are.

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  2. I have come out of the shadows that I have been hiding in, silently absorbing everything I can from this incredible site. I hold out for it's guiding hand and the strength it gives me. Too frightened to write anything before for fear that it means I admit to the world that my life has spiralled out of control ( out of my control). It has been 9 months since my world crashed down around me. I thought we were happy. We were, or so he made me believe. He was my only love and I was his and it was special, and then after 17 yrs of marriage I discovered his lies. He says he loves me but it hurts so much how do you show someone you love them by having an affair. It lasted nearly a year and he said he loved her and shared things that were only meant to be shared between us. I'm so confused, sad, heartbroken. I have no one to talk to, I haven't told anyone. I don't want their pity, advice on something they haven't experienced or gossip. I feel alone in the world and on many occasions suicidal, something I would never have thought of before. I want to find me again in all this devastation but don't even know where to begin. When I think of him and our life ( and not what he has done) I love him, so I don't want my marriage to end. I know I am better than I was at first, I can eat now and get out of bed although it is hard. I still cry everyday and have trouble accepting what has happened. I take comfort from the stories that with time it gets easier. Sometimes it feels so difficult just to breathe, I have trouble sleeping and it is so difficult to get the images out of my head. Their choices have left me with pain. She knew he was married and had kids. I just need someone to talk to, someone to help hold my hand through this dark place, someone to put a bandaid on my broken heart. I have trouble understanding how these women can be so cold hearted that they don't care who they hurt and whose lives they are intruding on. Thank you for taking the time to read my story.

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    1. Alone - I want to put my arms around you and it's only the damn internet stopping me. This is the real price of all that narcissism.

      Is your husband in therapy looking at why he made the choice to behave in this way? And you must start talking to someone, you can't deal with this by yourself. 'I want to find me again in all this devastation', you see, your instincts are perfectly good. Are you doing anything you love? Walking, running, dancing, painting? It's going to be horribly painful whatever you do, don't be afraid of the pain. The pain will go whatever happens because we never stay in any state forever. It's grief, and you're suffering it in isolation. We all know how it feels and none of us would wish it on anyone. But you can gain strength by realising that you are, in spite of everything, more resilient and resourceful than you thought. You need to gird yourself, because you have decisions to make. What do you want? What do you want now?

      I don't know if your husband said he told this OW he loved her or if he's telling you he did. On the one hand, just remember people in this situation lie and that he was undoubtedly lying to her. On the other hand - if so (which I doubt, since he's resolutely not gone anywhere) has he really thought about what this woman was capable of doing? Perhaps he should read Elle's post.

      And btw you are not alone, Alone

      x

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    2. Alone,
      Please know that you're not alone. There are many many of us who have been exactly where you are and know the excruciating pain of betrayal. We know how lonely it can be. Some of us know that we want the pain so badly to end that we contemplate suicide.
      But please also know that you will get through this. As you're already seeing, life gets better. Sometimes in teensy incremental ways, sometimes in leaps.
      Keep on doing what you're doing. Practice radical self-care. Read on this site and in other places that practice compassion instead of blame. Continue to share your story. You'll find much support here.

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    3. Alone,

      Your words were my exact words about a year ago. I am doing better now, although my husband and I are still working through the pain. Please hang on. Please find someone to talk to--a therapist, if at all possible. I am here and so are all the strong women. Write as often as you can. We want to hear your story. Lots of hugs to you!

      Merilee

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    4. Thanks Elle and everyone it really helps to feel like someone is out there that knows how I feel without the words having to come out right. I hope that one day I can be settled with life again like you seem to be. I see so much strength in so many women on this site who are coping with someone else's choices.
      My husband and I had a good marriage, we were great friends, we rarely argued ( although looking back now he was irritable and more easily annoyed over the time this was happening ). He seems happier and more settled in himself now. This came so out of the blue. He says he would never have left me and always loved me. I am really struggling with why this happened. Why was he prepared to lose it all for someone who isn't what he really wanted and does all the things he has told me over the years that he loves me because I'm me and I'm nothing like that. If he wanted me then why would he do this. I think I am really struggling because he is a good person at heart. He has never hurt me like this before. He says he lost his way and made a terrible mistake and I can see he is trying to make things right. He has read some of this post including the letter to husbands that Elle wrote and has seen how good this is and is trying to understand how I feel, although I think it is hard if you haven't been betrayed. I love him dearly and sometimes it hurts so much that I could love someone who clearly didn't think of me in this. I have spoken to her just after I found out and she lied to him about a number of things. Clearly this was built on lies, but she did confirm that he always said he loved me and wouldn't leave me. He said how he thought he felt is not how he feels now and when he thinks of why he loves me he those qualities don't fit with what he thought he felt with her. I think he loved the attention and not really the person. He has had no more contact with her. Neither of us have.

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    5. Alone,
      Some of the things you said were almost identical to the things I asked myself. How could he love me and do this? How could be tell her he loved her and share things that should have been sacred to our marriage? When I was in such intense pain, it was virtually impossible to even grasp how he could be so utterly selfish.
      With some time (and lots of talking) I'm finding the answers to my questions and more about his state of mind when he made those awful choices. I wasn't in a state to accept or process most of that information when the pain was so raw.
      For me, being able to tell my story took one burden off of me. In my case, it was to a therapist and to only two people closest to me who I knew would have my best interests at heart. Finding this site and having others who have been there hear me and provide non-judgmental support was reassurance that I really needed.
      My heart goes out to you for the pain you are in. I hope this site is at least one place where you can find an outlet and some support. As the others said, taking care of yourself right now is so very important.

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    6. Alone, Dandelion, Lynn, Merilee,
      Sam has made some really good points (below) about why men cheat. And Melissa drives the point home when she admits that she was messed up, met a messed up guy and, voila, the perfect storm. Affairs are about escape. They're fantasy. The who is less important than the where and the when. As I've said elsewhere, affairs happen when moral failing meets opportunity. Often our spouses, once they've pulled their head from their ass, are as stunned as we are that they were capable of such a thing.
      As time goes on, we're better able to look at affairs more clinically and understand that, as nuts as this sounds, it was nothing personal.

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    7. It has been almost 9 months for me since my husband had a 6 month affair. He also told her he loved her and they were making plans together to leave us spouses. The woman he was cheating with was married and knew he was married. She was in our home almost everyday and pretended to be my friend. All the while after my husband. I wonder how could he claim to love me and hurt me so bad. He keeps apologizing to me because he can see I am still hurting. He tells me not to let her take our joy away, I feel like he gave it away. I am just trying to find it again. He told me that she used him and someone told him that she said he was her boy toy. He said it made him feel ashamed and use. That is how I feel along with stupid, hurt, betrayed and many others. There is a Facebook group for betrayed spouses if you want to join. It givesyou an outlet for the pain with people who truly know what you are going through. It does snd will get better I know because my first husband cheated as well 14 years ago. One day at a time.

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  3. Was this woman competing against Messalina? I think she may have won.

    We are all capable of narcissism (better if we embrace the possibility at least, if we want to stay sane) but insatiable narcissism of this particular kind implies a profound misanthropy. Ultimately, bearing in mind the making of myths and the selling of books thereafter and in the spirit of brevity, I blame Jung.

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    1. I generally prefer to blame Freud. For pretty much everything. But I'll defer to your blaming of Jung in this instance. ;)

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    2. we could blame them in turn, just so neither dead gent felt left out. You don't want letters.

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  4. Alone,

    when I couldn't get the images out of my head, I started imagining gathering them all up in a pile of trash and I would envision handing that pile of nastiness to God, turning it over to Him. Sometimes, I would envision handing it over to Him again and again and again. And again. Hundreds of times a day until the space between grew longer and longer. I just kept at it. The images would come and I'd get caught in that cycle and then I'd catch myself and I'd hand them over. In my head, I would say "God, I can't handle these. I need to give them to you." I could see this nasty pile of trash and it was big and chaotic and pieces would fall back to the ground and I'd pick those up and get caught again until I realized it was just another piece to give to God. After a while, I learned how to breath a big deep breath in and I'd envision it blowing through my mind and scattering all that trash, blowing it clean. I'd envision the trash swirling on the inhale and blowing out of my head on the exhale. I read somewhere to imagine a little housekeeper in your head who would come along and sweep all that trash out but that didn't work for me as well as the inhale/exhale. Whatever works. Find whatever trick works for you to help yourself find a release from the images, and then practice it over and over. This is YOUR head. They don't deserve to be there. To steal a quote from Gandhi, don't let them walk through your head with dirty feet.

    I've never been a religious person but as I walked through the hell of this experience, I learned to rely on a deep, profound spirituality. I invited my sense of God into my heart repeated, in desperation, really. You know the saying: when the world knocks you to your knees, you'll find you're in the perfect position to pray. Well, darn if I didn't learn to pray!

    I also kept a little notebook with me at all times and when the pain felt overwhelming or when handing the images to God didn't seem to be working, I'd get that notebook out and start writing. The notebook gave me a place to "park" the anxiety that was my constant companion. I filled so many notebooks - I burned them all when I was ready. I didn't want what was in them.

    Please, please find someone to talk to - a therapist preferably. The pain of this is too big to carry alone.

    Leslie

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    1. Leslie,
      Those are all really great ideas. Glad they've worked for you -- and I urge those still struggling to give them a try. I do find writing worked wonders for me. I never thought of it as "parking" my anxiety though that's a great metaphor. For me it was about catharsis. About purging those toxic thoughts. Once they're on paper, it all seemed a bit clearer.
      And I love the Ghandi quote. I too found myself sitting in church weeping more Sundays than I can count after D-Day. I desperately needed a place where I felt loved and valued and where all I had to to was just show up. Nearly 10 years later, I'm still sitting in a pew most Sundays. My version of God might be a bit unorthodox (then again maybe it's not. As a friend of mine, an Anglican minister puts it, "tell me about the God you don't believe in. I probably don't believe in him either") but it gives me a port in a storm. We each need to walk our own path.

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    2. I like the idea of writing it down and then burning it. It's like you can put it somewhere but then destroy it you don't need to hold on to it. I think I'll give that a go. Thanks

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  5. As many of you know, I betrayed my first husband (karma is a bitch) ... of course, I am to blame for that transgression, yet the OM is too. I hired him as my assistant at work, he turned on incredible charm from day one, from bringing me coffee every morning, to a barrage of compliments, to writing poetry for me ... really ... from the moment he told me he was interested in me romantically, until I left my husband, was six weeks. I then embarked on the worst relationship of my life. It lasted three and a half years ... each time I "got away" from him, I actually moved out to my own place, he lured me back. In the end I was moving 12 hours and another state away and he told me he was following me .... I was so frightened; I knew I wasn't yet strong enough; I had lost all of my friends and family due to his controlling nature ...
    I got into therapy so that I wouldn't go back to him. The most frightening thing I recall about him was one day he was on the phone with a very good friend of his ... telling the friend something which I knew wasn't true ... when he hung up the phone an evil laugh came over him and he said, "I love to manipulate people!" As I have said before on this site, my husband did NOTHING wrong. He was a kind, gentle man ... I was messed up and met a messed up man ... the perfect storm ... and the tragic aftermath. The good? I believe everything happens for the greater good ... I learned a valuable, life long lesson, my husband went on to get his bachelors degree and is happily re-married.

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    1. Melissa,
      Your insights are really incredible on this site. Thank you for being so honest and for sharing what you've learned through all this. This guy sounds positively toxic. Glad you escaped.
      I had a friend (now an ex-friend) who routinely wailed to me about her abusive husband. I believed her -- she was my friend -- though I couldn't ignore my gut feeling that it just didn't seem to "fit" with what I knew of her spouse. She cheated on him and left him for the loser she was cheating with and then, one day she turned to me and said with a Cheshire grin, "I'm amazing at playing the victim." I think it was the most honest thing she'd ever said to me and I realized I'd been played for years. It's scary when we realize we've let someone like that into our lives.

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    2. Ugh. Reminds me of the OW/COW. A week after my husband ended their 3 week betrayal, she "accidentally" let him see bruises on her arm. She spent 4 months manipulating him because he thought her life was in danger. It was no longer a sexual "relationship", but she used his childhood history as a way to keep him tied to her. The idiot thought she was still his "friend" and it never occurred to him that she was a sociopath. He told me about the abuse, but didn't mention how involved he was in trying to save her (because of their history) He knows better now...we have proof that it was all a pack of lies and that she has a history of this type of manipulation. But the hell she put us through (I eventually got involved in "saving" her as well...although it quickly became clear that she wanted my husband for herself)...

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  6. To alone,

    Many sources I have read and talking to my husband have taught me this:

    In general men and women are different. When women cheat they justify by saying its ok bc we are in love. They convince themselves they love this person, there is a future, and are either intentionally or unintentionally looking for a replacement for their husband. They are having problems in their marriage and rather than work on their marriage they think a new guy will b the answer (until the honeymoon period is over of course, just like in their first marriage. They are exchanging one set of problems for another.) For many women the affair is an exit affair (my husband's emotional affair partner wanted them both to leave their spouses to be together and his second sexual affair partner wanted the same). Women tend to cheat up, climbing the social and/or financial ladder. That is often why we cant understand how our spouses cheat with the women they do.

    Men cheat around and down. They justify it as only sex. It's ok to cheat because they don't love the other woman, even if they tell them they do-- that's usually just to get the women to continue sleeping with them. It's ok bc they never intend to leave. I asked my husband so if he loved me so much why risk losing it over someone whom he admits that the only special about her was she was easy. He answered like all cheaters he didn't think he would be caught.

    We women often don't understand the choice of affair partner bc we look at affairs from our own perspective, which is often that if we did it it must be for a better partner, an improvement. we have to look at it from their perspective. One of my books said people look long and hard for a spouse bc that is meant to be long term, but for an affair partner one need only look at the neighbor next door or the co-worker in the next cubicle, or at the person sitting next to you at the coffee shop or on the bus.

    So the emotional affair OW wanted to replace me & her husband, as did the second sexual affair OW. But the first sexual affair OW sounds a lot like this Gilbert woman. I actually met her on several occasions, one of which was her daughter's christening. At this party when she was talking to me and my husband, she was going on and on about how she has always had more male friends than female. Alarms were going off in my head. She was flirtacious and in my mind her ego needed her to go after men. I don't know if my husband was her first or last affair or somewhere in between, but she seems like she aggressively went after him as the woman in the article did. My husband's 2 other women I feel sorry for bc they are both now divorce. This one I also feel sorry for but in a different way. She is more evil but I think her ego was more predicated on what men thought of her. Im sure there are many women like that.

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    1. Wow Sam, that's so interesting. I've never heard it put quite so succinctly. It rings true, certainly. And yes, I too have met women who seem to make it their mission to draw attention from men in a power-dynamic kinda way. It took me a long time to recognize those alarm bells are something to pay attention to -- it's not just us being "jealous".

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    2. Sam,
      Yes, yes, yes! Thank you for putting it so simply and clearly. A lot of this was really hard to grasp the pain was so new, but, in my case, it's right on. My husband's affair was with a co-worker who was seeking someone to compliment her and make her feel good about herself. And she was willing to allow him to use her to keep the compliments coming. Everything about their affair was what was most convenient and easy for him. I had a tough time with the fact that he could tell her he loved her, but I know now that it was said to keep the affair going and keep the sex coming. He always told her he would never leave his marriage but she still gave ultimatums that it couldn't continue unless they were both single. Maybe that fantasy justified the way she allowed herself to be treated.
      As an interesting note kind of tied to this, at last week's therapy session, I asked our therapist how he could have spent so much time talking to the OW and really know so little about her. She posed it back to my husband and the answer was that the conversation was really a means to get to the ultimate goal (sex) and really didn't matter all that much.

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    3. Thank you Sam this really helps

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    4. Sam. This is helpful. I'm struggling with the men cheating down though, as my husband cheated with a girl ten years younger who is very attractive. She knows it too. She also knew he was married with a young family - she's married but never wants children.

      I'm still struggling to understand it. He says it was all her, and she says the opposite....

      But your post makes sense to me. She wanted a father figure, and he wanted a girl to worship him maybe?

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  7. My first exposure to Lizzie was from Oprah, of course. Oprah had her on her show when Eat, Pray, Love came out. Ok I'll admit it, I was an Oprah fan. As she sat there being interviewed so many years ago my thoughts were, "what is it with this woman? Who leaves a perfectly good seemingly happy marriage to go eat pasta in Naples and pray in India? Who has that kind of autonomy and MONEY?" What the hell? I didn't get her quest. She seemed so weird to me. I could not put my finger on it. I never read her book and had no interest in seeing the movie. Aha, Oprah , I had an aha moment. Fast forward to yesterday and all my red flags with Lizzie came together to form the huge red flag I knew deep down inside. Lizzie is a spoiled, lying, narcissistic, entitled, mysognist, cheater. Every book I've read about toxic manipulative people iwas exemplified yesterday in Lizzie's NY times article. What a charming, engaging, influential person she made herself out to be.. Why write the article now? I think because she was about to become exposed by her victims which would have destroyed her growing brand. She took the first stance. The woman is a toxic manipulator. I knew many years ago I just didn't know the name. You see she came out well before my husbands affair. Well before I had the privilege of reading books and articles and blogs about people like her. But deep down in my moral conscience I knew this woman was NOT the real deal.

    Elle I think you should send some of the stories here to old Lizzie and let her fully absorb the pain and destruction of people's lives. She liked going after men who were attached because in her toxic little brain that made her better, more desirable, smarter, cooler than the haus Frau sitting at home. She got her ego boosted from knowing she was fucking over another woman. Had nothing to do with love and everything to do with evil. It was her toxic game. Now here's the clenched. In her manifest she owns up to her actions and motives but she shows no regret or remorse. A whole "yeah I did this. There it is take it or leave it." No different than all the OW that were complicit in destroying our lives. Those women however don't have books, movies and a brand to that markets thei utter narcissism. Lizzie can go to hell for all I care. I'm not buying into her innocent, free spirit persona any more, ha, never did. She's not better or cooler or smarter than me. She's a common whore just like the every other women. She just markets her shit more effectively.

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    1. Since we are talking about the OW, I haven't thought about this in a long long time. I was a waitress in the summer making money for school, clothes and gas. There were men who asked me out on a date through out the summer. There were some I didn't go out with who asked. They were slightly older but not by a lot. We went to a public place on the first date. Then usually on the second or third date I found out through conversation, straight-out asked or found out they were married. The minute I did, I went straight home that very minute, never dated them again, made it clear to them I thought it was wrong and that was the end of it. I also thought what sleeze balls. I never went to bed with any of them but I did kiss them before I knew they were married. They returned to the restaurant where I worked. We both acted like nothing happened. There were three men over that summer that were married. I had the opportunity to be the OW. I was desperate for school money. I can see exactly what type of woman it takes to be the OW. I hadn't thought about this before today. I couldn't do it. They are lowest of the low in all ways. Makes me sick to think about it.

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    2. Lynn,
      I briefly dated a man when I was in my mid 20s. He was a decade or so older. Intimating but charming. Only after my husband cheated did I clue into the likelihood that this guy was married. Only called me from his work. I didn't have his home number. Seemed intent on getting me to sleep with him as opposed to actually getting to know each other. Fortunately I bailed pretty quickly but mostly because it just seemed weird. Now it makes sense...in the context of infidelity.

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  8. At least a prostitute phks and moves on but the psych kindergarten teacher wanted to phk and move in. She wasn't in for the chase but wanted someone to take care of her no matter what it cost her. She told me the sex wasn't that great but she would do anything to keep him taking care of her even if it was only to settle for less. She did invite him to dinner, first kiss, sex invite. She pursued him, told him she loved him even though he told her he loved me and would never leave. What I thought was most interesting his how she viewed our marriage and she was spot ion. Pursue then figure out what he is missing, what he wants and how to make him feel like a man. By that time he is in too deep. He bragged on ME to HER. So she knows he is married, and she doesn't care. He’s put it out there and she signaled to him by her kisses that it doesn’t matter. Mentioning ME so often is just a way of saying I am married not that he really cherished that fact. He is saying you know I am married but I am interested in you. They were both going forward here knowing he is married. He said he told her he had no plans to NOT be married or leave me but he is still interested. By inviting him to her bed she is telling him look, I know you are married, you’ve mentioned it several times, and yet I am still flirting with you, and letting you know you are attractive to me, so this married status doesn't matter in OUR relationship so she was ok with it. She had a plan and carried our perfectly. So although she wasn't as aggressive as Gilbert the pattern is the same. As I talked to her for two hours I know now that I'm better in every way than the both of them. Oh yeah and the necklace he gave her which I agonized over for months was the ugliest necklace I have seen. She is pathetic but calculating at the same time. Yeah, trying hard, love the last two lines.

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  9. You have all been so kind and have made such useful suggestions on how to try and understand how this happened from his point of view. He is a good man who made an enormous mistake. I try to remind myself it wasn't my fault and he admits that it wasn't anything I did, it was his problem. He doesn't really understand why he did it, except at the time he got caught up in something that he separated from our life. He didn't think he would get caught so it wasn't supposed to hurt me. He loved me and wouldn't leave me so in his mind he wasn't rejecting me or replacing me. The OW certainly had a big ego and flirted with him, she was manipulative- they work for the same company (although different departments) and she made it so he had to come and see her regularly to get part of his job done when he really didn't need to. I think it was definitely an escape from home life with the daily problems of bills, kids and all the regular things you deal with. She pulled him in to some fantasy world. He was attracted to the added attention he got and flattered by her flirting. I find it hard because she still works there, but he avoids her. Trust is a hard thing to get back once it's gone. I never doubted anything and now I am anxious and question everything. He is very open about his phone records and tries hard to reassure me of things. Always being contactable and things always add up. It's hard because I feel like I'm not being nice now by doubting him when he isn't doing anything wrong, all because he did something wrong and that trust is lost. I hope that will settle with time. He is good about it but it does upset him because he wants things to be how they were and knows he ruined it. It hurts him to see my pain, knowing he was the cause. I read on one of Elle's posts to not worry about the future just live minute by minute if that's all you can manage and I try that. I will try the suggestions you have made and keep putting one foot in front of the other and hope one day it just happens without me thinking about it. The nights are the worst, when it is quiet and my head is so busy looking for answers and trying to understand. But from everything I have read on this site and the good points you have just made maybe I'm looking to make sense of something my brain just isn't wired to understand ( men and women just don't think the same). Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read my story and help. It helps just to be able to talk to you all and not feel judged or like I have failed my marriage. People who haven't experienced this just don't understand, I know I never did until this happened to me. I couldn't understand why you would stay with someone who treated you this way but realise it's much more complicated than that. Your reassurances provide me with much needed strength. It helps that you all know how it feels. I haven't wanted anyone to know about this, as much to keep my kids sheltered from this storm as anything else. Now at least I feel like I have someone who will listen with a kind pair of ears. Thank you all.

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    1. Alone,
      It will change -- I guarantee it. You will stop agonizing, your brain will stop going in circles trying to make sense of nonsense, you will stop needing to question and double-check. But it takes time. It's prudent right now to check and verify. It's how trust is rebuilt. It's his change to show you, time and again, that he's being honest, that's he's being transparent. So think of it as his chance to prove himself worthy as opposed to your chance to prove him unfaithful.
      And we all need a space where we can share what happened to us. It's incredibly lonely. I'm glad you found us.

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  10. I'm afraid my husband and I are not going to make it. He clearly does not know what I need to heal ... even when I tell him. Although he agrees to therapy he is resistant and won't start until he gets back from a vacation with his dad - in mid August. I was actually Ok with that. He changed the password on his phone and I was actually Ok, not great, but Ok with that as I was tired of looking into his stuff ... tonight though I saw the writing on the wall ... some messages came through on his phone and two were from the woman he had lived with when we were separated .... she's friends of the OW and a single/unattached woman. I asked to see the messages - No, he wouldn't allow it and instead called his folks and talked a long time. I then approached him and said it is his job to help me to heal, to trust again. His response, "I don't want you in my stuff - I don't want you in my phone, I don't want you in my wallet, I don't want you in my computer, I don't want you in my truck. I don't want you in anything of mine ... I don't know if that will ever happen". I explained that he should not have contact with a woman that he hides from me. He went on to say, "You wouldn't want me in your phone, etc - I know I brought it on myself, but I just don't want you in my stuff." Yup ladies. He is less cooperative now then he was immediately following the affair. I hate that he is so emotionally thick ... He was highly controlled and abused as a child; it is nearly impossible for him to give up control .. sadly, this may be the beginning of the end. As you all know, reconciliation following an affair requires extreme dedication on the part of both parties,not just one ... ironically, the betrayed in our case is the one putting forth all the effort. Well, in fairness, he put through lots of effort in the beginning and of late we've been getting along fine ... yet I had concerns ... secrecy with the phone and reluctance to resume therapy. He doesn't even want to read from our books. He wants to place the affair bac in its box and pretend it never happened. Yup, that will work. Prayers please.

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    1. You're doing the right thing, Melissa.

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    2. Melissa,
      Oh that it were that easy -- to simply tuck all that pain into a box and put it where we don't have to think about it.
      Unfortunately your husband's previous trauma is likely driving his behaviour now and will continue to until he's willing to pull it from the shadows, examine it and decide he'd rather live consciously.
      Of course, that's his choice. Yours, as you're noting, is to determine what you'll tolerate and what you won't in your own marriage. It seems clear that tolerating secrecy is unacceptable for you, as it should be for any spouse. Marriage -- healthy marriage -- means making choices that, sometimes, benefit the relationship even if they don't benefit one of the partners personally. For instance, we might give up a "friendship" that our partner finds painful or threatening. Those of us unwilling to make that choice for the benefit of the marriage are making it pretty clear that the marriage exists to serve his needs...and nobody else's.
      I'm so sorry Melissa. I know how badly you want this to work. But it sounds as if you've done a lot of work to get your own emotional house in order...but that your husband won't. I suspect he'll come to regret that someday, if he's capable of that much self-reflection.

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    3. Melissa,
      In reading some of the things you've written here, it sounds as if you have takeh the time to learn what is needed on both parts to have a heathy relationship. You have my prayers for peace in any decision you make.

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    4. Melissa

      I am in the very same situation. I simply don't trust my husband because he is so unwilling to prove himself, and he just wants to forget what happened and move on.

      He thinks because he says it's finished between them that that should be enough! Never mind he told me that THREE times when it clearly wasn't going on.

      Sorry I don't have the same great advice as everyone else on here - just know you aren't alone xx

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  11. I actually think that it is a very brave and honest piece. It is hard to admit you were a toxic mess. She clearly identified the shameful way she behaved and rationalized destructive behavior. And she recognized her rock-bottom.
    Yes, she is a bit over the top but really, I have gotten over expecting everyone to be perfect. It allows me to accept that I am not perfect, neither is my H, nor my children, nor anyone else. It is incredibly freeing and much easier to let go of the obsession with the OW.
    I think it is understandable to rage against women who do these kinds of things. But really, they are just extremely faulty humans.
    My H not only recognizes the OW in this piece, he recognizes himself. Someone who needed admiration or else he didn't know who he was, and someone who needs new thrills or else he doesn't know what to do with the incredible insecurity he walks around with. That is a pretty horrible way to go through life and it explains quite a bit of his behavior and personal turmoil, besides cheating on me.
    There is one side of the OW that is a manipulator, but there is the other side that is a sad and insecure human being who is willing to prance around married men because deep down inside she doesn't really value herself. So mostly I am sad for the OWs. I can only imagine how crappy enough you must feel about yourself to be so desperate for attention. Also, it is a pretty hard thing to shake from you life.

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    1. MBS,
      I completely agree. And it was when I was able to really see the OW's pain and her complete lack of self-worth that I was able to feel compassion for her. You're right -- what a lousy way to go through life. And yet, I also understand what the others are saying. It's wonderful that she had her epiphany and created chance in her life. But there seems little recognition of those whose lives she devastated in the process. Perhaps that's a consequence of word count and not her actual feelings. But a nod to and perhaps an expression of regret for those caught in her Web would have been nice.

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    2. I must be a horrible person because I feel no pity for these women. Yes the ones who didn't know the men were married and stopped the relationship once they found out, those I do feel sorry for. But nope, nada, nothing no pity for all the others. Most of these people are sociopaths and sociopaths number one trait is they play on other peoples pity. There are way too many people in this world to pity and OWs are not one of them. Yes they are pathetic creatures but they do it to themselves and move on with not a care in the world. They are busy on their search for their next victim. No I don't feel pity for them I feel pity for the innocent victims whose lives are forever changed.

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    3. MBS, just wanted to comment I'm so glad for your sake to hear that your husband recognises both himself and the other woman in this piece. I know you have been waiting a long time for him to be able reflect this deeply on his affair, and were despairing that it would never happen. (Mine has come a long way but is not at this stage yet. He does sound a lot like your husband in some of your previous posts.)
      LC

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  12. Dear Alone,
    You stated the situation so well and have an idea of the situation. I'm 19 months out and when it is quiet my mind swirls around with all those thoughts. I thought it might stop soon. It has slowed down. Started out 24/7 then three times a day, then once a day now I'm down to several times a week and I am not to dwell so much that I go to Crazy town. You are doing the best you can right now and that is enough. Sunday for me was the worst. You are still trying to put the 10000 piece puzzles together but you are missing the corner and center pieces. Until in your mind you have an solid understanding, most questions are answered and the majority of the whys and how's make sense you will keep swirling and that is ok. There is nothing wrong with this no matter how your husband makes you feel. You need to be clear with expectations, for you it is never going to be how it was nor do you probably want it to be. Tell him so he can have realistic expectations about what YOU expect. He had his chance and blew it. Your brain is wired to understand if something really absolutely doesn't make sense to you, doesn't add up or seems out of line then ask because you are missing those puzzles pieces to complete the puzzle picture. Your writing is sound and methodical so maybe that is the way you need to have full understanding. My asshole husband and I have a meeting every Sunday which is a check in day for both of us. I save up all my questions, comments, anger and resentments it can be about the affair or just our marriage now. We start by "what was your low then high for the week?" At first it was uncomfortable, he was defensive but now we just talk about what is bothering us, we stay connected and don't avoid issues it is part of our new marriage. So I don't bombard him all week long, I can wait because I know I will have his full attention on Sunday. I don't think I will ever trust my husband again either and I'm ok with that. I still check his phone and email accounts although I know in my heart he could care less about the OW and has developed a distrust, anger and hate for her. Now that he dumbass woke up. You have not failed in any way. Unless you took his penis to work and then stuffed it in the low class woman's vagina then it is not your fault. His choice alone and in the near future when he sees what he missed in you and how strong your marriage is it will only make his guilt worse. I like that part of healing I'm getting better and he feels worse. He sounds like he is trying to win you back. So just go with that much and take pleasure he will be making this up to you his entire life. Take that each day and hold on. When I read all the encouragement on this site, I thought are these woman nuts? But I kept reading and found encouragement, different points of view and when questioned made me think about looking at something different. It helps just do what is right in your heart for you. You will get there, you are strong enough not to have an affair and lie so in anybody's book you are pretty strong to figure this out for yourself. There is no right or wrong you hold all the cards and you are in charge. The other noise in your head will amp down as you get stronger.

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  13. I recently (a week ago) found out that my husband of 8 months has been having an affair for two or so months. I am lost and frankly, devastated. I'm not sure what I should do; walk away or try to make it work. We don't have kids so everyone around me is saying to run. I love this man with all my heart but I don't believe he will be able to stay faithful ( he is admitting that he is weak and insecure). Am I being naive to even contemplate reconciliation? Oh, the female he had the affair with is also married.

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    1. Anonymous,
      I know how devastating betrayal is. And I know how hard it can be to know whether to work it out with someone we love or cut our losses and get out. There is no "right" answer to betrayal. But there are certainly things we can look at that are signposts. How did you find out? What was your husband's response? Admitting he's weak and insecure isn't necessarily a bad thing assuming he's admitting a character flaw he wants to eliminate and not offering up an excuse for why you can continue to expect bad behaviour.
      If you honestly don't think he can be faithful to you, then staying married to him pretty much means living with constant fear, anxiety and misery.
      There are absolutely men for whom cheating is the wake-up they needed to face down some demons and become better men. So, no, you're not naive in thinking that reconciliation is possible. It is not, however, easy. And there are men who subscribe to the "I'm wired like this" philosophy and are content to be led around by their penises, no matter the pain that causes their partners. I have no idea which camp your husband falls into. You probably do.
      Give yourself time to figure out what's next for you. Try not to listen to what "everyone" around you is telling you to do. This is your life. You get to determine what's next. But be clear-headed about it. And please please know that this is HIS problem; his cheating is not because there's anything wrong with you.
      Hang in there. Take time to figure out what feels right for you. And please also know that the day will come when this is just a bad memory.

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    2. Elle, I found out through a text message thread on his phone. He was shocked about my finding. He had the name under a work related number and was deleting the messages every night. Sadly, cheating between both he and his ex wife were the reason for their demise as well. I thought we were in love and his prior mistakes were due to getting married at a young age. He is sorry but says that he battles inside and that it was only a matter of time. All of this scares me and should help with making the decision yet I'm still torn. I adore him

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    3. You can adore him...and still realize that he's not the man for you. There's nothing adorable about a lifetime of being cheated on. It sounds as if he's happy making excuses for himself. Anyone who subscribes to the "I can't help myself" thinking is pretty much telling you flat out what your future will look like. Though it might have been nice if he told you that before you bought the white dress and paid the caterer.
      Marriage is really tough. Even great marriages will have their share of hurdles. If he's cheating already -- and pretty blasé about it -- then once you factor in children and job loss and economic downturns and mid-life crises and sick parents and on and on...it sounds as if you can count on going through all that alone while he's romancing Bachelorette #32.
      I'm so sorry. Some guys really do smarten up and realize what a colossal mistake they've made. They work really hard to prove themselves worthy of a second chance. And their marriages become stronger. Others just won't do the work. They don't want to look any deeper because, frankly, they're terrified of what they'll find. Desperation and insecurity and narcissism aren't the most attractive qualities.
      I'm curious...what's so adorable about him?

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    4. Anonymous, I find myself compelled to point out that the early months and years of a marriage are supposed to be amazing. You are starting a new life with your soul mate, the one person you felt would honor you and cherish you. Everything is fresh, exciting and new. You haven't had time yet for things to become boring or for the flame to go out. This tells me that this behavior probable truly is "who he is." You haven't even made it to the one year mark and he is already putting his selfish needs first. What happens when things truly get tough and you both need to be there for each other? Can you count on him ever again?

      To continue this marriage is to subject yourself to this type of behavior for the entirety of your marriage. He cheated on his last wife and he has cheated on you and apparently, he thinks it's ok. If you can live with this lurking around every corner than move forward. But, I have to say that I believe you are setting yourself up for a lot of pain. You deserve better.

      It is a blessing that you found out early as you can make the decision based only on what's best for you.


      Putting myself in your position, if my dday had come in the first year, before our children, before our lives were so entangled ~~~ I would have walked away.

      Wishing you didn't find yourself in this place. Hoping that you find your way to what's best for YOU.

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    5. Anon
      You don't have a lot invested in this marriage and you are lucky for that. Your husband has unfortunately set a pattern for how he wants to live his life and that is of entitlement. Me first. Is that the kind of person you want to live with for the rest of your life? Get out while you are still young and have no obligations with or to him. Seriously dear, just get out and don't look back. You made a bad judgement call marrying him. You can learn from this. There's great guys out there. Go find him.

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    6. Thank you for the amazing advice. He has since told me that he has been doubting us for a while now, though that was all new to me. He hasn't been fully happy for some time and not sure why. He doesn't know if he wants to be married but he still loves me more than anyone in the world (of course, except for himself)

      I have also spoken to the OW and she was devastated to know that we were 'happily' married and he was not getting a divorce, lies he told her. She has now dumped him and I too intend on leaving. What's a life filled with lies, deception, and lack of trust. While I sound sure and tough, I'm falling apart. I know we don't have kids and it's only been less than a year of marriage but we have been through a lot in the 4 yrs together; deployment for him, family matters, recent medical issues for me (which he was there for the entire time). How do you move on? I have already told him we are getting a divorce -and we intend on talking in person this Friday (I have been away for this whole time). I need help. I'm broken. Devastated. Lost.

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    7. Anon
      Those first three lines you wrote are lines all of us here have heard. Same play, different actors. You cannot take his words seriously. They all say this. It's cheater talk. He's confused that's a given, again they all are. I'm sure he's questioning his actions. But truly this is for him to figure out not you to parse his words and try to make sense out of nonsense. He's gotten himself into a pattern of behavior for whatever reason, he's depressed, he has family of origin issue, he's bored, he's a sex addict, maybe none of the above maybe all of the above. I know you love him. A part of you will always love him. The point is what do YOU want to live with? Can you live with a person for a very long time without doubts or checking up on him, or wondering what the hell is he doing now, if you are not financially or neck deep in children? Once you make the decision to stay you are in it. You've made a choice and you have to live with it. Many of us here make that choice and have to learn to own it despite our doubts. We do it for many reasons. I can only say if I didn't have my whole freaking life invested in my husband and marriage I would have chosen to move on had this happened in first few months of marriage. I don't know it seems the younger generation, (yes LOL I am probably old enough to be your mother so take my advice with that intention) isn't going into marriage as a life long commitment and that's ok I guess. But having children and investing in finances with a person with these kinds of problems is tenuous at best for any kind of stable relationship personally or in a marriage. He has many problems to work out and maybe he will. You go and do what's right for you. Do not set yourself up for failure at such an early age. You've got a long life ahead. So if he changes and gets help and comes back maybe then consider a life long commitment but right now I'd chalk this up to a bad choice on your part. Get out while you can little sister. This is what I would tell my younger self. I hope you realize I am not trying to be cold or hard hearted. I understand you love him and want to support him but he has to support himself and sometimes love just isn't enough. You hang in there little sister :) You WILL be fine!

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    8. Sweetheart, this won't be easy. Even right decisions aren't necessarily easy ones. Let yourself be sad. Let yourself feel devastated and lost and broken. But know that those feelings will pass. And know that his role in your life doesn't disappear. Some people are in our lives for a short period but they teach us a lot. Others, of course, remain with us for a lifetime.
      Heartbreak sucks, no matter the reason for it. Him telling you that he "hasn't been happy" is cheating code for "I need an excuse for being a total cad". Believe me, honey, it's not you, it's him.
      Cry, rage, vent, pull the covers over your head. And then, when the day comes when you realize that you don't feel quite as lousy as the day before, get up and embrace the world. Because there's still so much to enjoy.

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    9. Thinking of you

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    10. Those who know how it feels to be betrayed can be the strength one needs. Thank you for your support and listening. As another person stated, being on this blog (and remaining anonymous) has helped me clear my mind a bit. Also knowing that others who have gone through the same agony and have been able to slowly move forward has also helped. I'm only 36 and can still build a life. It just seems that the road is very dark and lonely. I loved being married and my husband. But I can't be married to someone who is married to himself alone. I would like to blame it on the military and his upbringing. Either way, I'm left alone to pick up the pieces.

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    11. Anon and Alone
      You are NOT alone. I just know you have people who love and care for you. We are all here trying to love and care for you as best we can because we know what you are going through. We know all your dark thoughts. Let me reassure you those dark thoughts are NOT real. They are NOT you. But they are normal. More normal than you can imagine. You will find they will be useful in a short time. You will turn those dark thoughts into strength. Strength to do what you need to do whether it is divorce or stay. You will become stronger and smarter. You will get through this but never over it. You have the privilege of going through one of lifes biggest lessons. Betrayal. You will turn this very negative experience into a very good learning experience. You will do everything in your power to never be fooled again. There are a lot of smart, compassionate and at times funny and snarky women here to help you. Lean on us whenever you need. Most of us have something that will help you. You are NOT alone.

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    12. When do you stop asking questions? It seems that the more I ask and press issues, the more heartache I have to deal with. Last night he told his brother that he doesn't want to be married anymore and doesn't want to be married to me anymore (and yes, his brother called and told me). I feel as though with each day, it hurts more and there is more deception and pain. When is it enough?

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    13. I don't think it's the questions that are causing the heartache, it's his response to the questions, which, from the sounds of it, are to emotionally dismiss you (ie. not want to be married anymore). What's up with that? He's either in, which means helping you heal through this, or he's not. Telling his brother that he doesn't want to be married to you anymore is ridiculous. If it's true, then he needs to tell YOU that so that you can dissolve the marriage. If it's not true, then what the hell is he saying it for. It's childish. And what's the deal with the brother telling you? Sounds pretty nuts.
      It really comes to down to whether or not you two want to recommit to the marriage. If he can't/won't, then all the questions/answers in the world aren't going to help you heal. If he does want the marriage, then he needs to stop saying stupid things to his brother and start talking to YOU like a big boy, and accepting full responsibility for the choice he made to cheat.
      You can't do this on your own. If he's continuing to hurt you, then you need to get support for yourself so you can leave. Betrayal is devastating. Don't let him continue to cause you pain.

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  14. Alone. I understsnd, we all do, just how alone you feel. Just be very choosey when or if you decide to tell people most will give the advice we ALL thought we would follow which is "he would be outta here SO fast". Shocking how we just don't know until it happens. Shocking to feel that we want to stay! That we still love Them despite the rage and gutting pain we have inside. Your h though sounds as if he is on the right track. Mine was too the MOMENT of discovery. My H would never have left me either. My H is a good man. It does not take the pain away but it's something. Why they risk losing everything is still a mystery to me. But that they now realized they could have, are getting a 2nd chance (and in our case ONLY a 2nd chance. 2nd strike he WOULD be out ) and are making the most of it by making it up to you is a good start. Therapy in the works? I know its hard for THEM to see us in this much pain. Well I say too bad. They did it and should see the aftermath. It's a good reminder to never ever do this again. This was not your fault (read the Elizabeth Gilbert link). This is NOT ABOUT YOU. You did nothing to bring this on. He did. Let him make it up to you. Hugs to you.

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    1. Thank you Steam. I have read all the old posts on this site and really value your advice and comments. I decided at the time never to tell anyone and have stayed strong on this as I don't know anyone who wouldn't give me the advice to leave ( that would have been my advice to myself before this happened) or look at my husband differently and make me feel as though loving him is wrong. Loving him isn't wrong, what he did was wrong. I want to make the decisions about what's best for me ( and my family) not anyone else make them. People can be quick to offer advice without really thinking what is best for you. We aren't going to therapy for a number of reasons. Financially it would be difficult. I'm not really very good at telling people my personal problems - it feels different here. No one knows who I am and that helps. I also really don't want my kids to know as they shouldn't have to carry this pain with them. He is a good dad and they love him. I don't want that to change for them. It's a small city and it's amazing who knows who. I would hate them to find out from someone who sees us going in to a marriage counsellors office. He knows how important it is to me that we talk about things, no more lies, full access to everything etc. at the moment it feels right to try and sort this out together. I try to take the suggestions from this site that I think will help us and he is trying. This is the only thing that has ever been a problem for us ( a huge thing I know ) but other than this we had a good marriage and have been great friends. Therapy is always an option if this stops working and we need some extra help. He has been encouraging me to look after myself and doing more so I can have time to do that. I look forward to the day I look back on this and just see a crack that's been repaired and not broken pieces. Thank you again for being there for me and your compassion.

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  15. I'm glad I found your site Elle. It has provided me with much advice and comfort. I was drawn to it immediately as I loved the way you offer such hope, not promises that everything is going to be wonderful but just honest hope that you can pick yourself up off the floor when you are ready and if you need to just stay on the floor a while that's ok too. You are like the person standing holding a hand out to steady you as you pick yourself up and it feels so comforting to know that there is someone there. I like the way you speak from your heart and show that it is possible to live again. Your reassurance means so much and hearing it from you has settled me over the last couple of days. I see that you have been where I was, where I am now and where I hope to be and it helps to see how you have coped with it all. The support from you and the other lovely ladies out there has somehow helped me to find a little bit of inner peace at a time when I needed it most. May everyone's pain be a little lighter having shared it. I think of you all and hope for happiness in your lives and lots of inner peace. When I first read 3-5 years I cried, although I see now that this time is necessary to process what has happened. I have a long road ahead of me but today it feels like I'm going to be ok. Today I am just thinking about today and not worrying about tomorrow when I may find myself back on the floor for a while. Sorry for the lengthy posts.

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    1. Alone,
      I think when we see three to five years, we imagine that we'll be in a heap on the floor until then. No so. We heal incrementally -- sometimes in inches, sometimes in yards. It's just that it takes roughly three to five years before we begin to understand that the betrayal is largely behind us. It has become something that happened, part of our story, rather than THE defining part of our life.
      Your approach to take it a day at a time (or an hour, or a minute...) will help you enormously. As the Buddha has said, suffering comes from living in the future and living in the past.

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  16. Alone, I know there are people (on this site and in real life) who make it through without counseling, I know that I am not one of them. I HATE conflict, I despise it. In my own home pre-day-day I had the hardest time speaking up for fear of sounding like a shrew. Post D-day I had the hardest time when these waves of nausea and anger hit me over and over and over again--I had no idea this was normal--for MONTHS.
    This is where counseling helped me, and without a doubt it saved my relationship.

    I didn't know that I could and should have all access to his phone/computer/etc
    I had no idea I could tell him EXACTLY what I needed from him.
    To me that felt like manipulation.

    But in the end, my H ALSO had no idea what in the world to say or to make me feel better--he's a brilliant man but has a tremendously difficult time with intimacy, fear of rejection (heck, me too) and so we lived side by side in harmony (except for his bouts with alcohol--that was our only sticking point) --no fighting, because we weren't really talking. We talked about dinner, about what we watched or wanted to watch on TV, we talked about our brood of pets and our next vacation. But our feelings? Nope--we had to learn. What I am saying is that therapy IS an option---and there are low cost alternative available if you look hard enough. A friend is a shrink, I told him nothing, i didn't even tell him it was for me, but I told him I needed the name of a good couples therapist. That's all the info I had to give. He was professional enough to not ask for any more info and never has 18 months later. Just keep that option open. There is no shame. Zero in needing help.
    A couple hundred bucks in the very long run is not a bad investment in treating something that almost destroyed your family.

    I will say I am very happy to read how accommodating your husband is being. He should be. He screwed up in the worst possible way. Keep us posted on your situation. I have a good feeling for you.

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  17. Elle,

    And BIG love to all here..... have not been able to read all recent posts

    but did read Elizabeth Gilberts essay displaying Uber narcissism. She validated that feeling of being "Watched." that I have long pondered over. The Pre-Discovery period. How I sensed but could not see the presence of my husbands, "Toxic-paramour." Sex was just the "portal to the heist and hit from seduction. Misogynist- feminist to women she studies to become the "opposite." Appears to have self serving awareness and insight into the crushing damage and harm she produced. And at the end of her bold self disclosure? She's off and running again....for more fun in the park with another man (might he be married?) Adds to my tall pile of observations about the "Other Woman" and all those who collude with the 'alchemy' of narcissism and individuality justifying cheating and affairs....all beginning to look more like math or patterns of behavior that repeat over and over and over. Is she perhaps about to be promoting a new book after all?

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  18. Valkyrie
    Exactly. What is it about sociopaths that think their actions are unique. They are some kind of special. When there is actually nothing special about them. They are all chicken shit narcissists and sociopaths.

    I think you are right on. She probably does have a new book coming out. She's laying the path for something. Either a book or someone she's screwed over was going to expose her. I think Elizabeth Gilbert is particularly obnoxious and toxic. She comes across as all quiet and demure and shy and innocent. She is def a wolf in sheep's clothing. Very deadly and lethal. I feel sorry for the dolts that buy into her bs.

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  19. I've had a bad couple of days. Some difficult conversations with H. I believe him that it's over and things seem to check out. He doesn't seem to want to admit she was in this for her own self gratification. I think he still wants to look back on it as though they loved each other. Why can't he see her and the whole horrible time they were together for what it really is - a marriage breaker and just selfish destructive behaviour. It's as though if he thinks of it as something which was nice, but a mistake and shouldn't have happened then it makes him feel less of a "bad guy". She is very manipulative and would tell him that by being with her meant he loved her. I later found out she was in at least one other relationship at the time, I'm not sure if he was married. She helped cause nothing but pain in our lives why can he not see that those actions are not from a kind person. He said she helped him when he needed someone. Well I was here telling him I loved him why did he not ask me for help? He said he was to blame not just her but he doesn't put any of the blame on her even though she made the first move. It's like he doesn't want to be angry at her. I feel so confused. Should I be worried about this, or doesn't it matter. He is trying but it bothers me. Is it just that the pain feels so raw still? He said he doesn't love her now. He says to forget about her and work on us but how can I forget?

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    1. It can take time for them to come out of the "fog". He may never be able to admit that she was manipulative, etc. because that would mean admitting that he was a fool. And that he risked everything for, well, nothing.
      In the end, it doesn't really matter though I do know how satisfying it is to have a spouse finally see the OW for who she really is.
      In the meantime though, accept that YOU see her for who she really is.
      That's one of the benefits of therapy -- the chance for him to really examine the relationship under the cold light of day instead of the fantasy he constructed. As long as he's still believing in that fantasy it makes it harder for you to feel safe.

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    2. I had the same issue with this idea of the OW being a 'nice person'. I wanted my husband to see that this was not the case. He was naive generally about women, a case of 'she was nice to me so she must be nice'. In fact I was pretty naive too I realise, about the motives of certain female friends. We were both the sort of people who tend to see the best in those we take a shine to. So Alone, I can see how annoying this is.

      No one who knowingly gets involved with a married person in this way is being 'nice'. There are plenty of people who do this who are capable of good works in other areas of their lives, nevertheless in this area they have messed up. If they don't realise this, making excuses for their behaviour long afterwards, their ability to rationalise cruelty is going to cause harm elsewhere as well. My husband had a thing about saying there were no 'nice' or 'not nice' people in the world (which lets Hitler and Pol Pot off the hook) but after a few months he began to see how his OW had behaved selfishly and without empathy for anyone at all, including him. She was telling him what he wanted to hear, of course, or rather not saying what he didn't want to hear and not being honest about her motives. Why should she have been honest? He wasn't honest. The whole situation was horribly harmful and a Very Bad Idea. I am not going to judge the particular quality of her poor choices.

      My husband was not 'nice' either. Sometimes we have to admit we fucked up and there's no one to blame but ourselves. I hope the OW does that too: but her recovery is not our concern. Meanwhile, no, she was not a nice person. She was a selfish and unkind person who was not looking after herself. Inappropriate sexual relationships can bring out the worst in anyone.

      Part of my husband's moment of truth was reading Elle's posts. 'She's very sensible,' he admitted.

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    3. I've never been called "sensible" before. It's a nice change from "too sensitive" and "overwrought" and "high-strung". Thanks to your husband for that. ;)
      And thanks for that very common sense (and, as usual, wry) take on women who sleep with married men. Very Bad Idea, indeed. Kinda sad that it needs to be pointed out as such, isn't it.

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  20. Fragments of HopeJuly 2, 2015 at 12:09 AM

    I've been finding this Elizabeth Gilbert stuff quite difficult. What enrages me sometimes in my own situation (and of course most people's) is that bumper sticker hearts and flowers sense of entitlement that my OW had. She romanticized an act that had despicable and devastating consequences. My husband was her rock, he had told lies 'to us both' her words (as if she had a claim!). In the texts, links to songs to do with love "we will find our way", "we can make it if we try," "we can find our destiny" "cllimb the highest star" blah blah blah. All delusional, we're meant to be together, so similar to the kind of 'finding yourself' and 'being true to yourself' mantra of Elizabeth Gilbert. When I read the bathroom scene in Eat, Pray, Love and how she left the marriage, years ago, before D-Day, I felt that she was selfish. Find yourself, fine but not at the expense of others, don't use your 'soul emegency' (another one of her phrases) as an excuse to treat others badly. In the article I see no true remorse or understanding. It's all pretty phrases to explain how she now understands herself even more. Self-development is king but only on a superficial level, she has certainly not engaged with the pain of others. And her 'honesty' is applauded and friends of mine assume she apologised to the partners. Of course she didn't. It's not about them. In my case when my OW contacted me, it was still all about her and what she'd hoped for and how her hopes had been crashed and how when she recontacted him and he kept in touch it must mean something (their love was undeniable and fated was the jist of the exchanges!) Like Elizabeth Gilbert her aim was to 'win'. My husband admitted that one of their conversations towards the end chilled him when she said 'why should they win.' Though he felt he had problems with me, her 'they' included the kids and she was trying to 'win' over them. She was a troubled person who was going through a difficult separation involving her 6 young children. She was a prolific spender (totally contrary to my husband's life philosophy) and she continued to see herself in all this as a lovely and caring person. I know I shouldn't care if she's sorry or learned from it but in general I abhor institutions, public figures and so on who do terrible things and never really show remorse. This Elizabeth Gilbert thing has really pressed my butttons. She does terrible things, and her admittance under the guise of honesty and bravery seems to exonerate her for in it the publics' eyes. In the case of the OW, their fated love was reason enough (to cause years of heartache and take a toll on our children as well). It really sickens me.

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    1. I too was struck at how little remorse she seems to show for those who were involved in her conquests. They barely merit her attention.
      Which feeds into our cultural notion that betrayed wives are somehow invisible, that we're classic nags and sexless hags.
      Of course, the value of discovering each other is that we realize how untrue those characterizations are and how they shape our sense of self post D-Day. I'm sorry this piece has triggered you but it also seems to have galvanized your strength. You've quite articulately and persuasively outlined your point of view.

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    2. Fragments of HopeJuly 2, 2015 at 10:38 PM

      I must say that I did have a lot of compassion for the OW and her significant difficulties at that time and told her so in a reply to her 'entitlement' and 'thought you should be aware' message post D-day. I said to her that I knew they had turned to each other in bad times. She had not got out of the fog herself by that stage though. I suppose she was incapable of clarity or remorse. She was legally and (acrimoniously) separating from her husband and father of her six kids. From her texts (she was asking for help, purchase advice, money loans, emotional support) it's obvious she was mentally trying to make my husband a replacement for hers. Which, now I look at it, does make me feel genuinely sorry for her as a lost and panicked soul.

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  21. Fragments of HopeJuly 2, 2015 at 12:22 AM

    Oh and I just remembered I saw one of Elizabeth Gilbert quotes 'women should be good to one another'. While it's to do with body image, not infidelity, I can see all these women nodding and saying 'right on' while she destroyed the lives of plenty of women and is not called to account for it. I also read that the 'guru' who changed her life in Eat, Pray, Love has been under investigation for sex offences and financial scandals http://www.salon.com/2010/08/14/eat_pray_love_guru_sex_scandals/

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  22. Fragments of HopeJuly 2, 2015 at 10:19 AM

    Alone, all I can tell you is that even though my husband was remorseful, shocked at himself and went to several sessions of individual counselling, even after all that it took him the best part of a year to see his relationship with the OW for what it really was and to process and move on from the seductive and 'special' feelings the relationship with the OW gave him. They'd been texting (and met for coffee several times and a special dinner) over 18 months. He was depressed and low in himself in that period and even though he had very little in common with the OW and in practice a relationship with her would never work he still formed a strong attachment with her. She made him feel good about himself, complimented him, was interested in him and pushed for 'a life together' - all very flattering at a time in his family life that was very difficult and demanding. Even though the relationship with the OW is more about how it makes each party feel in themselves, rather than how they feel about each other, it's still very addictive. It's like the Keane song 'when we fall in love, we're just falling in love with ourselves'. That's the best way to sum up an affair anyway. I don't want to generalise and say that all men are emotionally naive but my husband at least would definitely be swayed by praise and admiration ( I suppose we all are) but he would not have seen any manipulation behind it. It will take your husband quite a while to understand and alter his feelings towards the OW. He will also not want to villify her too much because he may feel guilty and that he should take all the blame. The thing is that there is a grain of truth in everything. Some of what he saw in her may be true but for the most part it was built on illusion and delusion and once your relationship continues to improve, the illusion of the other will hopefully fade. All the best.

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    1. Fragments,
      Thank you for summing that up in a way that I couldn't have done so simply. My husband was caught up in the flattery and the fact that the OW didn't "judge" him. And he, himself, has also used the word addictive to describe it. I've seen a change in the way he saw her immediately following both D-Days and now. In those moments where I wasn't yet able to acknowledge that it had nothing to do with me, his skewed vision of her was tough to handle.

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  23. Alone, I understand what your husband is doing. My husband is in a similar position/mindset. And the truth be told, I rather agree with them. Our husbands are much more to blame than the OW. Even if the OW was the manipulator and the aggressor. Besides the fact that they are a woman and on a humanity level we should treat each other kindly and with respect, other than that, the OW owes us nothing. I did not have a commitment with the OW. My husband betrayed our vow of marriage. In my case, the OW betrayed her own husband and to me, more importantly, and that which makes me ill … she betrayed her three daughters. I believe that everyone wants to be good. They simply don't know how. My husband will never view the OW as an evil, manipulative woman. And I won't either. I hope she has learned from this lesson and pray to God that her daughters never have to suffer the pain of betrayal from their husbands. Any woman who could engage in a relationship with a married man and then turn and look into the eyes of her grown daughters ... That is a messed up woman. And I have compassion for her. I do not want to be her friend; I certainly do not want my husband to be her friend; I do not want to see her, hear about her, or even know that she is alive, yet I do wish her and her family all the best.
    There, but for the grace of God, go I.

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  24. Fragments of HopeJuly 2, 2015 at 10:29 PM

    Hi Dandelion, yes the relationship with the OW is an ideal and idealized relationship and not 'of this world!' (Although my brother-in-law ended up with his OW, ditched his kids and moved across the world to paradise. I'm still waiting for his world to come crashing down :( ) We all want unconditional praise and attention. Real life, real pressures is sometimes not pretty. My husband came from a family where the mother heaped praise and the father criticized. I was not like his mother, I was the more critical type if something was wrong, and my family of origin would argue things out but still love each other behind it. So my husband and I were coming from two different modes of operating. He hated conflict and felt that any issues I brought up were attacks. It even got to the point where I'd say 'I just need to say this to you but I'm not against you.' Of course I would get more frustrated and emotionally wrought and he would disengage even further. The OW was non-threatening (mostly) and manageably at the end of a text message most of the time. Between them they occasionally discussed a possible life together - it sounded like the Walton's even though they would have had 10 kids between them at times. All so ludicrous. But in that 'bubble world' she made him feel good about himself like his mother had done. And the terrible thing is that his lovely mother had a terrible stroke a few years ago and is not herself any more. It makes so much sense what happened when I say it all out like that. I'm just so sorry he couldn't have turned to his long time friend (that's how we started out 25 years ago.) But I was also his 'nagging' wife who would not let him off the hook. I was pushing for things to make our family life better. He just felt overwhelmed. Again, Dandelion, what your husband feels for the OW is how she made him feel, not actually 'her.'

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    1. Fragments,
      I tended to be more straight forward. If he was doing something I didn't like, I said it. I have always been incredibly independent as well, which is completely different from his mother. Not necessarily bad traits, but I have now realized that my independence came off to him as me not needing him at all. Add to that my tendency to withhold affection and sex out of resentment and it went downhill. In comes the OW and the opportunity and the rest is history. It is a relief to see him now acknowledge that his perception of her was fantasy.
      I still harbor a great deal of resentment toward her which I know is partially my own stubbornness and refusal to keep her from occupying space in my head. I struggle with whether she is just really selfish or emotionally screwed up. But I had an amazing moment of clarity today... I may be suffering through a great deal of pain, but in the end... At least I'm not her. I don't have to wake up every day knowing I sacrificed my morals and basic decency, and potentially my own family, for a cheap affair.
      Thanks for the reassurance!

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    2. Dandelion,
      I too had that moment of clarity. I absolutely knew, no matter how much pain I was in, that I would rather be me than her. And that can be incredibly liberating.

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  25. I've been reading a lot about sociopaths. My therapist told me from the descriptions I gave her with regards to the OW that she believed she was a sociopath. I thought socio/psychopaths were all crazy ax murderers. Not so. Most are living amongst us. Bernie Madoff is a prime example. Anyway I needed to learn about sociopaths and reading books on the subject has opened my eyes.

    Well it's as if I've had an epiphany. Puzzle pieces started falling into place with regards to the OW and how she so easily manipulated my husband. I could go on and on all I'm saying is understanding other peoples psyche and motives helps to answer some of these questions we all have.

    Of course they are going to perceive and promote the wives as being sexless hags. It's part of the M.O. They also do the same to all their exes and people in their lives that have "mistreated" them. It's the number one factor in a sociopath's agenda. They are always victims. They prey on people who pity. Since it takes a lot for me to pity people when I first met the OW I was repulsed by her. A huge red flag went up for me and after that when my husband decided it was a really good idea to hire her!!! Yep she preyed on him for financial purposes and she was really good at it. She used sex and flattery and convincing him they were soulmates (also a big part of the sociopaths M.O.) to manipulate him to her benefit. She told vendors and customers she was going to own our business!!! Power hungry too.

    All sociopaths need their victims for one reason or another. There's lots of info out there on them. really quick reading and I promise you will have a light bulb go off when you read about their traits. Many of the OW and OM fit the characteristics to a T.

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    1. Trying Hard, I find that information very interesting. I am going to look up more. My therapist said OW sounded like she had borderline personality disorder but I am not sure, Socio/phychopath sounds more like it. OW spent years manipulating my husband. Especially in the last 2 when it went physical again. he now sees the manipulation. He was going to be her new man with a regular that her husband no longer was. She would praise him on his ability and willingness to do extra to make additional income so we could enjoy more vacations etc...and then get upset when we took the vacations apparently. She told my husband stories of her husbands verbal and apparently physical abuse-something I am not sure I believe and my husband now sees she may have been lying. She wears the pants in that relationship and I showed him several circumstances to confirm that....of course I don't know for a fact but she didn't miss a chance to complain to my husband about her husbands verbal abuse to make him feel sorry for her. He would tell her that she didn't deserve to be treated that way and I saw texts where he would say "I felt bad for you all day". Complete manipulation I believe.

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    2. That threat of physical abuse is one I hear often. And I hate that I now question some women when they say they're being abused...but when it's within the context of "please don't tell my husband or he'll beat/kill me" I find myself wondering why the hell they're risking that by sleeping with a married man. At least in some cases it's more a matter of keeping their secret under wraps than any genuine concern for their physical safety.

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    3. Exactly Elle. In this case, she was keeping my WH in contact with her because she would complain about how she was being treated everyday to him and he said only once she mentioned that he slapped her. I am quite sure that its all a lie. An example, when my WH accidentally pocket dialled her BH (because of a text that he sent my WH), it wasn't her BH that called my WH or even me to find out what was going on. He told his WW and SHE called ME to find out why. She was the one that took the reigns to find out and it was me she called...why? Because in her family, she is the stronger one and in mine, I am the stronger one. That is NOT an abused wife. I do know that her BH suspected for many years that she was cheating on him and he even suspected it was my WH (I wish he had told me of his suspicions). I suspect that him saying derogatory things to her about her behaviour and his suspicions was what she perceived as being treated poorly. Thing is, she was cheating. So while my WH was telling her that she deserved to be treated better, she probably was just getting what were the consequences of her actions while he was treating his BW poorly (me). I don't think I ever did anything to him that made me deserve to be betrayed. I doubt her BH ever did anything to her to deserve the betrayal either. Anyone who claims to be abused who are in fact not is a disgrace and make it much more difficult for the people who are actually in that situation.

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    4. It's insane, isn't it? The people who are the ones out there complaining about their marriages are generally the ones out there complaining about their marriages...instead of actually making the marriage better by being faithful and honest and present. If only women, when some guy starts banging on about his wife doesn't understand him, nags, etc. etc. would tell him to get his ass home to his wife, do the dishes, rub her feet and listen to HER thoughts about him.
      Sure there are crappy marriages. But they're made far crappier by cheating.

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  26. Trying hard,
    Learning the same thing that you have about the ow! When I blocked her contact on my phone, h sent her a text telling her to leave us alone! This only angered her and she began a six month long truth texts to him because she knew I was reading them too! She did not tell me anything h had not already told me. She just wanted to keep digging at the pain to break my spirit! This made h realize how dangerous she had become! H had the police call her for no contact. She left us alone for a couple weeks and then daily calls! Meet me one last time! H finally had to press charges. This is month three with no contact. I am stronger each day! I put the shame where it belongs! On the 2 that chose to cheat!

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  27. Theresa
    Why didn't your husband block her number as well? Seems odd that he didn't. She definitely sounds like a lunatic or a very determined psycho!

    Yes you made my point. By her doing this I'm sure has put her in a very bad light in your husband's eyes. He sees what playing with fire truly results in.

    Unfortunately going to the police only stops the people for a while. If they are determined as obviously this woman is, she will stop at nothing. Maybe a restraining order is needed. Three months is NOT a lot of time. Trust me she could rear her ugly head many months down the line.

    I'm sorry you've had to deal with this horrible person. I think even if you don't block her a no response to anything she sends you will give a very strong message. Every time you or you husband responds to her, it fuels her determination.

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  28. Lizzie--If you know enough about the OW and you read some books ie The Sociopath Next Door, Sociopath Psychopath, there's a bunch of books out there from Amazon. You will see how they manipulate. Actually sociopathy is a type of Borderline Personality Disorder. There's traits that qualify them as sociopaths.

    You will see how your husband was held hostage to her. You will see how she fed the fear that she would go to him, how she was his soulmate, blowing up and then feed his ego, it goes on and on. Not excusing what he did or even holding her responsible because it's all on him but it does help you understand how these people operate.

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    1. TH, I will have a look, thanks. I knew her for many years so I am sure I will recognize the personality traits. I think I will find it very interesting. My WH and I seem to be getting to a place where he can access his memory a little better and see a little more about how the relationship was and some of the things she used to do or say to him...ie...she used to send piles of texts in a row trying to get him to respond when he was ignoring her or he was too busy to answer and she would get rude and also panicky/clingy with him sometimes when he didn't answer her. She always told him to call her so her husband wouldn't see it, not really thinking about the fact that I might catch on. She told him how awesome he was and if she had someone like him what she would do for him and to him sexually...without coming right out and telling him that she wanted him to leave me and be with her.

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    2. Read the book shared section of their tools to manipulate by charm seduction and so on... with hubby he said fit ow to a tee ... he feels used the fear he explains i dont understand may never on why it continued for so long ... but i guess u dont know a persons shoes if u havent walked in them no excuse for it still we as betrayed just want so badly to understsnd make sense get thru survive in 8 weeks in from dday ... some days agony some days manageable everyday raw!

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  29. Trying hard,
    Husband did not block her for fear she would show up in person. He wanted to know what she was thinking. He spent over a year trying to get rid of her so I would not find out! He would have done anything to prevent the pain we are both in now! He slept with her one more time to 'shut her up' ! Those are the things that hurt still. She was able to manipulate him over and over. He sees that now. He understands that he didn't make the right decision in how to deal with her. We are still in limbo untill the court date so she will not contact us at least until that happens because she would go to jail again. I am trying daily to understand my new place in his world. I thought one thing about our marriage only to learn that it was not what I believed! Some days I feel very strong and other days I just crumble! Thanks for the support I feel from reading your posts.

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    1. Wow, these women truly are sociopaths. I think we tend to throw that word around a lot to describe anyone who's a jerk. But when we come up against a genuine sociopath, it's chilling, isn't it?
      I'm glad, Theresa, that you called the police. Too often I think we don't take the threat seriously.

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  30. It took my husband's lover's husband telling him that not only was she having sex with him and carrying on their marriage like normal while she was having sex with my husband but she also had a THIRD guy that she was having a sexual relationship with. She literally didn't care at all about who this would hurt. It was psychopath behavior. Her desires outweighed her empathy or conscious.

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