Friday, May 18, 2018

A Cheater Answers What We All Want to Know: Why?

It's the question that all of us ask when we discover our partner cheated on us. Why? we ask, over and over, rarely satisfied with the answers. Sometimes we're dissatisfied with the answer because it's blame-shifting and gaslighting. Sometimes we're dissatisfied because it's entitlement and delusional. Sometimes because it's trickle truth and we know there's a whole lot more to it. But sometimes we're dissatisfied because we just don't believe it. Really? It meant nothing? Then why bother? Why risk so much for so little? Why? Why?
Lynn Less Pain posted this in the Sex and Intimacy After Betrayal thread and I'm so struck by the candor that I want to post it again here: 

I would be inclined to believe your husband when he says there weren't emotions involved. Most of the sex I've had in my life had no emotions involved. It was exceptionally rare for me to develop an emotional bond with someone I was sleeping with; and, that was as a single guy. When I already have an emotional bond with my wife, I can't imagine an affair having an emotional component for me, I really can't. I'm sure I'd say whatever it took, but the real payoff for me, the reason I'd do it and then go back, would be exclusively for the sex.

I'm not sure if this helps you at all, but, at least some men (me), think about this very differently than women do. Sex isn't the same for me as I see it described for others; the only time it's ever been that is in my marriage and that was a long process to get to the point of integrating the physical sensation of sex with the emotional connection. It's not the "default" setting at all for me, and I don't think it is for most other men.

And I do believe the sex he had with her, albeit new and exciting, was never what we have, and that it can still be "special" for us. Absolutely it can be. I'm going to say something that's going to really piss off some husbands, but, honestly; in a lot of affairs the OW is simply a substitute for the hand. Like, I'd jerk off, but this feels better, it's not too much effort to get her over here and have her do it, and, what the heck, I deserve it. It's an equation, how much work vs how much better sex feels than masturbating. And that's what these guys are often doing, they are just masturbating with another woman's body. I do think that a lot of the affair is just finding and keeping a masturbatory aid around, and feeling good because you can call her up at any time when you want some relief. It sounds like this is the kind of affair your Husband had, and this is the kind of Affair that I've seen first hand. The question isn't "did he care about her" because the answer barely makes sense, she was just there to bring the things he did care about with her. The question is "why did he think this was OK". And I think that's the question that husbands need to dig in on; not "why do it", that's obvious, but "why did I give myself permission to do it".

This guy has done some soul-searching and I suspect he's none too crazy about the lack of integrity he found. But, to his credit, it sounds as if he's done some hard work.
And he's absolutely right. If a cheater won't examine why he gave himself permission to cheat then he's vulnerable to doing it again. Without pulling that sense of entitlement into the light and truly examining the thought process, subconscious or not, that led to cheating, then a relationship with him is high-risk.
Too often I read the stories of women who come to this site, confused about why they feel stuck in their pain only to read further that their partners are insisting this is "in the past" and they need to "move forward". That sends off so many alarm bells in my head, it's a miracle you can't hear them ring across the Internet. 
Anyone who refuses to examine why they cheated is either still invested in giving himself permission to do so or so terrified of what's there that his denial will keep him so emotionally removed from any intimacy as to make a true relationship impossible.
If a cheater wants a second chance, then he needs to show you he deserves it. And he shows you that by taking a good long look at "why did I give myself permission to do it."


  1. I'm so grateful for this post. It have verbalise what I've been thinking.
    I have had to do a lot of work on me these 7 years since Dday. But I don't feel DH has done the same. He's told me it was an addiction and that he's over it now. He says seeing the pain it caused me means he could never do it again.
    I should be satisfied with this, but I'm not.
    I want to see the deep work he has had to do to fill the gap the sextet addition left. I want to understand the new wisdom he is holding to himself that means that he's on a different path now.
    Is that selfish of me?
    We are still together and get along fine. But this unresolved issue in me stops me from being vulnerable with him and able to trust him.
    Sometimes he's address the distance he sense in me. But gets angry when I tell him why. He thinks it should be water under the bridge.
    We were seeing MC that was helpful. One thing they said is that it often takes the same length of time to restore marriage as the length of the affair. In our case it was multiple affairs over 10 years. So I guess we keep going for another 3 years and hope for the best!

    1. Thanks for sharing, Faith Rose. You put some of my current "stuff" into words. xo

  2. My husband for the most part said the same thing. He had no feelings for her or for anyone at that time because the Citalipram side effects and how they made him feel, nothing. It was the OW who had some kind of fantasy of what the so called relationship really was about. Even though the physical part of the affair only last 10 days at the most. She thought that there was something more between them in the short time we all worked together because she had some kind of sad crush on him that she carried forward from 20 years ago. He would walk away from her and she would follow him around constantly wanting his attention. I think that this is why she started putting something in his coffee. He didn't show any feelings for her other than being a coworker. Because this all happened so fast and I got to watch her do it I take some blame in telling him that we needed to leave but, I loved my job and tried to ignore her and her actions. I trusted him. I also got to watch how this medication changed him. Not only his personality changed but his looks changed in some way too. I remember how patchy his skin was at that time grey and yellow and his lips were purple. This is when I started to really take notice and started asking more questions. This was just a few days before D-day To this day his actions eat at him still even after almost 3 years. Anyone that talks about medication and how it makes them feel he has to change the conversation or walk away. And when I still have some emotional breakdown over what happened he tenses up but will talk to me about it. I know that my situation is different from everyone else's on here and I go on and on about what happened. I probably don't relate very well to the rest of you as far as the pain that you have all gone through I just need to get it off my chest. There are days I can't believe the circus that we survived and have been able to rebuild our life together. So many people didn't think that we would make it but here we are.

    1. I don't want to make assumptions but this sounds like you guys haven't resolved things.
      I'm not a pharmacist or doctor, but citalipram is an antidepressant known for lowering sex drive and in some cases impotence. Surely your DH has to take responsibility for his actions?!
      I only say this as I know too well the pain caused by repressing. I've also learned that all the while my DH is experiencing shame, he isn't able to talk through the issue. To more forward I have to totally give up my right to payback, forgive and show DH acceptance. Also MC has been a helpful tool for getting us talking.

    2. First off he’s not my DH. Second, different people have different side effects to citalipram. Severe side effects like what he had are more of a norm than most people realize. And when you have sleep deprivation, forget to take your meds, then over take them, mix them with older antidepressants trying to sleep you then have problems. I’ve done tons of research on this because I didn’t believe it. His doctors confirmed all of it. One of the severe side effects is not feeling anything. Another side effect of this drug is suicidal thoughts. He tried to end his own life a week after I found out. And the day he tried to end his life I stood in the Dr’s and she was talking about what disgusting women do to destroy other people’s marriages. I knew then too that she the OW had been slipping something in his coffee. DDay when I kicked him out, he went to the Dr’s because I flushed all of his medication down the toilet. He went that day to get help and they had taken blood from him and explained that some people experienced those side effects. They also gave him Cialis because he couldn’t keep it up for her.. And as far as repressing anything. I don’t think so. I’m still angry that this woman got away with what she did because I wanted to take her court. My husband never wants to lay eyes on any of these people we worked with again and-has taken full blame for his actions.

    3. I also want to say that I played detective very well after the initial shock wore off. I had gone after her mentally after her friend attacked me on social media. I knew that I would find out the truth of what she did when she put total blame on me and never took any blame for herself including telling me that I put the ecstasy in his coffee. And when it all blew up in her and friends faces she ran back to the fiance she left weeks before she slept with my husband and told people all kinds of lies to protect herself. So if my story doesn't mesh with the rest of you I'm terribly sorry. What we went through was total hell and I felt that it was my position to tell others what actually happened so others can share similar stories.

    4. I understand that your situation is complicated my medication/drugs, and that must be very conflicting for both of you.
      It is very normal for the spouse who had the affair to not want to see the pain it caused. But, in a safe environment, perhaps with MC, it is necessary for moving forward that he understands you to. You have shown a lot of understanding, which is great, but I hope you are looking after yourself too. Xxx

  3. A very enlightening post. Thanks to the human chain who brought it to us all!

    And I needed to hear that point again about a guy refusing to face the "why" ("why did I give myself permission to do that?") That is key.

  4. "I would be inclined to believe your husband when he says there weren't emotions involved."

    Nope my H fell in love within 3 months if A and wanted to leave me!

    When I found out on the 4th June 17 he said he didn't love me and everything he was giving up eg me, our 2 children, our home & life together! she was all worth it! 8 month's with a drunken whore destroyed my world!

    That morning I will never forget "I don't love you! and left to be with her. Well his sister drove him back to the whores house as he was still over the limit after being out all night celebrating her 50th!

    Still can't say why! Never said he was unhappy to me! Not one word that there was anything wrong with us,even when I asked what was wrong as he seemed so stressed! Just blamed work! Well he was fucking 1 of his cleaners from work! so a half truth there!

    The attention, the ego stroking the new sex I can understand! but the falling for her and out of love with me still hurt's my soul!

    1. Anon May21
      sorry for the pain you are dealing with.
      These husbands/fathers are just scum bag humans.
      Gabby xo

    2. That must be really hard, you are so brave. I guess with no clues or answers from him, all you can do is practice acceptance.
      In our situation the shock got me for a really long time, as I just couldn't believe he would do it.
      It may not feel good now, but I hope in time you will see that you are better having a clean cut, rather than spending years trying to make it work when it can't.
      You also have dignity, that you can hold your head up and know it wasn't your decision and you have nothing to feel bad about.
      Lots of love xxx

    3. Take No PrisonersMay 23, 2018 at 8:57 AM

      Anon May21 - I can only tell you that based on what you have said I'm guessing he doesn't know what love really is - or somehow he's lost a grasp on that. My H also thought he was "in love" but now says it was all fantasy (and trust me - I believe about 8% of what my H says but on this one I think he's actually telling the truth).

      I'm guessing your H is still trapped in that "fantasy world" too and that he doesn't realize that love doesn't happen in 3 months - it can't - attraction, infatuation, and all those twinges of "puppy love" - sure - real love takes time and attention and RESPECT...I'm just learning that myself now in my 40s. The fact that he has so little respect for relationships tells me he simply has lost touch with what love is all about.

      I know it's easier said than done but try to drop the semantics and make a list of what "love" means to you and I'm guessing you'll see that he's not capable of love right now. Luckily for you, you won't have to be around when the "fantasy" runs out. (As an aside, my H's family runs rampant with affairs - his father left his mother for the OW, married her, and now they are miserable together...the fantasy/reality doesn't usually come together well. My mother and step-father's marriage is also a product of him cheating on his wife with my mom - they are now married, and "shockingly" are miserable to this day - he has cheated on my mom so many times it's impossible to count).

      Basically, it's not all a bed of roses - don't let yourself get trapped in his messed up reality. If he really knew what love was, and he really loved the OW, he would not have disrespected her by carrying on like a petulant child and having an affair - he would have ended it with you immediately before starting anything with her. That's respect. That's love. What he has is pure self-indulgent fantasy. Let him have that - you deserve so much more.

  5. So my H confessed 20 years ago to having an affair with a colleague. I was suspicious of it before he told me. Their affair could have been for over 3 years. Not sure. Anyway we were separated and then made up after 6months. Never dealt with it just thought we moved on. Have 4 kids now. But I have Never been able to trust him. I assume he’s having an affair with every female colleague. I hate him most days for what he did. I hate that I took him back. As if I deserved this. We fight like cat and dog. Nobody wants to leave cos of the kids but we clearly hate each other

    1. Anonymous,
      I am so sorry for the pain you're in. And for two decades. That's excruciating.
      I'm curious what has happened that his making right now the time that you're writing here. Do you think he's cheating again? Are you ready to leave? Or are you hoping that there's some way to rebuild your marriage so that you're not fighting?
      Cause here's the thing: You've got four kids (not sure of their ages but I assume they're...teenagers?) and they are watching you to determine what a relationship/marriage looks like. For that reason alone, I would encourage you both to either leave and be as civil to each other as possible or take this time to actually try and work through the pain of his betrayal. It can be done but it takes two partners willing to do the work. He needs to be able to truly recognize the pain he's caused you and you need to be able to find a way to release it. Imagine how good that would feel, Anonymous? Even if you don't stay with him, imagine how good it would feel to let got of that pain. It has been lodged in your heart for a really long time. And you deserve so much better than to live your life feeling constantly resentful and angry.
      I hope you'll take steps to move forward. It's never too late to go back and face something painful. Whether he will join you or not, I hope you'll do it. Find a therapist who can truly help you...and free yourself.



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