A reblog: Why many men have affairs — and the mental consequences

man__s_silhouette_by_tahaelraaid-d4s41x6I found this to be very profound and I could relate to it. I presents I think the mindset of many married men who have affairs and why they have them.  And I think it also highlights in this case the somewhat unaware or uncaring betrayed spouse who doesn’t care a dangerous emotional vacuum is opening up in the marriage.  Who doesn’t respond to the direct pleas and clues that their spouse is so unhappy that they may find their happiness elsewhere.  These will be the same betrayed spouses who will swear that they never saw this coming, and that there wasn’t a thing wrong in their marriages. That they were great spouses. And this article, under the “she said” parts, I think is a shrewd and largely accurate analysis of what goes in the married male cheater’s mind when he goes out and finds someone amazing who fills this void.  And the stress and internal dissonance it creates.  This blog may not address everyone’s situation, but it sure sounds familiar to me.

http://rougedmount.wordpress.com/2013/03/05/prequel-to-an-affair/ PREQUEL TO AN AFFAIR BY ROUGEDMOUNT

HE SAID I have a marriage the works well functionally but has long been drained of passion, deep intimacy and truly meaningful conversational full of the type of disclosure that builds connectivity. That void leaves me personally, emotionally and intellectually lonely in a very busy house. I do not suffer in silence and have tried repeatedly to talk to her about my issues and concerns I have for the relationship and our marriage. Late last year I made the decision to find a discrete and manageable way to fill that void and open the door to emotional, intellectual, and physical passion. I have been too lonely for far too long. My wife is a very educated business professional. I feel that we have taken different paths of growth and have drifted into separate emotional spaces. I am not laying fault or blame but where I have tried repeatedly to address things and bring them back onto a strong marital path, she has chosen to pull farther away and deny there are any issues. She dismisses my concerns and needs. I chose not to uproot the entire foundation of my life. The commitment is here to keep the family together; I have two growing fine talented boys worthy of the sacrifice. I am not sure where the matrimonial road will end in the future, but this is the way that it is today. We have a sibling type relationship, sharing a home and family but nothing of an intimate relationship between us. The idea of re-establishing an intimate relationship between us, almost seems abhorrent to her. This conversation, just the act of opening up and being listened to, has me feeling alive… and it is a good feeling. I actually like the no expectation reality that this is. There is great opportunity for free expression that touches me intellectually and emotionally. Sometimes some our complex needs are met through unconventional means encountered in random path crossing. I am glad that my path has crossed yours. If the experience is a day, a week, or longer I plan to value the moment. I didn’t expect to find that and so its presence is valued. After 20 years of marriage,  the baggage is very heavy and painful to carry daily. I know that well and consistently live out the reality of romance lost, respect diminished, affections gone, and tenderness replaced with a blunt cold wall. I know the feeling of importance that I seem incapable of giving and importance that I have lost. The dilemma that I face today is that I think I have acknowledged some issues I previously have been ignoring. I found myself today admitting that I have lost the capacity to pretend and can now confess that I am love depleted. Every attempt to walk it back to a better place ends in greater conflict and pain. I hate that I am a giver in this negative, stagnant relationship and have reached my place of none acceptance. It is definitely not okay. I am troubled that I am a player in this vicious cycle and have a role in how things have turned out. There are times that I cannot identify myself in it, such a far cry from the internal fire and desire to have a rich and powerful life, and the potential is ever present. These exchanges are such evidence that little stings are important and enriching to life. I am filled with love and passion that I desire to share and open to receive. It is caped inside and terribly in need of release. I truly understand and can relate to the need to be loved without reservation and have it reciprocated. Loving someone is uncomplicated and only stopped by fear. Being truthful, I have live with that fear for years. In all honesty, today was a telling time of reflection and personal decision making and resolve. I do not want to spend the rest of my life living under such a dark ominous cloud, the sun has stopped shining and I need to see and feel it again. Having this conversation of exposure  certainly does make the burden easier and certainly makes clear the wisdom of finding that woman who captivates my mind with the feeling of life again. I have a lot to give. I have no fear of what I need to do right now to bring joy back into my life…that is why I am seeking someone. I am not going to reproduce the emptiness in my marriage in an affair. I don’t feel like I can leave yet, but it is unbearable to stay the way things have been for the last 15 years. Its not fair to her that I stay and break my marital vows, but I can’t stay without having the support I need to endure the last crucial and agonizing mile of a marital marathon that has almost destroyed me. SHE SAID My fear for you is that an affair will not be enough. If you find someone suitable and the emotional connection does not pan out into what you need, you shall move on and lesson learned make a better choice for the next affair partner. But if u find someone with whom there is the attachment, and you actually have a person where you see a stark comparison to what you have and what you need, one of 2 events will happen; you run from it or you run to it. In the prior, you see the mistress as the embodiment of all the idealized wants and dreams come to fruition. You see her negatives; her baggage, her real self and you want it. It fits with what you can offer her. This scares you as much as it excites you. Reality sets in as to what do you do? it gets harder to return to your wife and to leave the woman who has made you see and feel again. But the fear of change or of even being a man who has walked away from a moralistic life comes too much. You feel selfish for the first time. You don’t want to disrupt the family life of your kids, but you can’t stand how you feel when you have to return home anymore. And so you leave her….OR… you make a life changing decision that the reality of an affair is not something you can live with any longer. You can no longer maintain the facade around your friends and family…you are smiling more, happier, feel more alive than u have in years. There is purpose and intent in your life once more. You no longer regret what the marriage failed to be but are sad its potential failed to be achieved. You are ready to move on. Through talk and discussion with the other woman, you realize that things can be simple, and often times we put too much onus on something that really has no impact on how we should really be living. Choices. We make them every day for so many things and so many people…and yet we seem to fail ourselves time and again because we add the weight of expectations and what we think others will need from us. We forget that we run our own destiny and if we chose to change direction, we can. Others accept more than we give them credit for. We forget that we deserve to be happy because we have been living in a neglectful environment for so long that we see its cold hollowness as normal. And when you see the juxtaposition of two woman who make you feel so diametrically different, then it places you in the position of confirming all your prior fears, hopes and concerns. Its real. Now do you ignore it or embrace it? How much of the rest of your life do you want to invest with someone who has proven time and again, they aren’t what you need? Clinically speaking if the relationship was a business, wouldn’t the sound advice be to cut your loses and stop investing in something that failed a long time ago? To diversity your interest and focus on something that is bringing you a return? As much as you wanted to have a lifelong marriage, sometimes that’s not what you get. Accepting what you have instead of mourning the loss of what you hoped for, gives you the ability to be more practical about your decisions. Working your way to understanding your needs, presenting your concerns to your wife, drawing up an action plan of how you can come back on track in the kind of marriage you want, should all be the first course of action. If after years of trying and meeting with failure, there comes a point where you reassess your situation and make the choice to change things. If that means divorce, then so be it. But you have earned your way out. You haven’t left her for another woman. Nobody knows where another is in terms of spiritual recovery. Because that’s what’s happening. When your partner fails you and doesn’t meet your needs time and again, they damage you spiritually. At some point, you either fight to get it back or accept that it’s killing you and as a result, killed what you felt about them. What do you want from your life? How long will you beat up over things that won’t change? When do you decide to embrace the things life has to offer again. When will you choose to live with love in your heart instead of false hope? Why are you struggling? Decisions are a process and if you haven’t accepted where you are in your journey then the harder it will seem.

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10 thoughts on “A reblog: Why many men have affairs — and the mental consequences

    • Come on. It’s reality. You might not like it, and I don’t think he’s excusing himself, but he’s honestly saying why he had an affair. Long term neglect of him and his critical needs inside of a marriage. And if he is being honest, he asked his wife repeatedly to deal with these issues, but was ignored.

      While it’s easy to say to someone, well get divorced then! You know it’s not that simple. Could be consequences of divorce he can’t face – financial, familial, societal, professional. Or he doesn’t want his kids’ home broken. Or even he believes, as many cheaters do, that they can keep both worlds going, especially when they feel they have a spouse whom is apparently uninterested in them. But mostly what occurs is you find yourself sliding into an affair and then don’t know what to do! Stay? Go? It can get very murky. As a cheater, your feelings, thoughts and emotions about your marriage, about your affair partner, and even your LIFE, are not black and white – they are a stormy sea of grey.

      I mean, what if I had just up and left for the OW? You know my story. Would I be better off? NO!! Would’ve been a huge mistake! Would my wife and kids be better off now? Clearly, no! My hesitation in making a decision like that was clearly a good thing!

      Would’ve it have been better for him (and me, and anyone like me) to tell the spouse up front the seriousness of the marital issues instead of embarking on an affair? Yes, absolutely. But again, what should be and how things often play out in life often are at odds. I didn’t set out to have an affair, although I did nothing to stop it either. I had essentially given up on my marriage, although I did not want to face the consequences of breaking up my home either. I was definitely in a bad place. Torn by competing emotions and thoughts. Like this guy. THAT is what real life is like. I honestly wasn’t sure what I should do. Stay in the marriage and cut off the affair? Go to the OW? Leave BOTH of them? I was in a stormy sea of confusion and indecision and careening from one “decision” in my head to another, and back again, sometimes in the same day. THAT is life.

      So while I understand your sentiment, I think this is an important post because many cheaters and former cheaters can relate. Life is so rarely black and white.

      So read this post for what it is — not an endorsement of an affair or even an excuse — but I think this post speaks clearly to the mindset of why many get into affairs, and the internal stresses and contradictions it causes when you do. It’s insight that some can relate to, and hopefully, betrayed spouses as well can gain

  1. I think there is some relevance in this he said/she said article for me but very little. I do not relate at all to the female’s point of view. And my husband says while he initially engaged with his AP because she was ending her marriage and claimed she had no one to talk to about it. She showered him with attention and adoration,but he eventually felt that her needs always trumped his needs. He never felt that I wasn’t listening to him or that our marriage was no longer intimate. We both desired more sex in our marriage during the time of his affair but we truly enjoyed each other’s company.

    I think this article overemphasizes the relationship between a wayward and the AP. It seems to me that quite often, there is no valuable or true intimacy between the wayward and the AP. The veil of these relationships are quite transparent if the wayward is willing to really analyze it.

    • I never assume that every post speaks to every person that reads it or their particular situation or point of view.

      And I disagree with the last part. You can’t make generalizations like that. While some affairs are brief and very shallow, and focus on sex. others do not. While affairs in general are prone to some illusion, aspects of them can also be very real. Especially when true intimacy is lacking in a marriage/relationship, the affair that is pursued will be one that make up for it. So some affairs are long term and extremely close and intimate. His apparently is/was.

      • I shouldn’t make generalizations at all. If there is one thing I have learned is that every affair is different and people have different illusions/realities with their APs. I was speaking from my own personal experience…. My husband was not unhappy with our marriage and relationship. His affair grew from a discontent of his own life goals not being realized (unemployement, he wanted to open his own business by this age, weight gain, etc). In so many ways, it was a mid-life crisis…. but I don’t want that label or excuse for his behavior either. But his AP didn’t know any of the issues I listed above–he never told her that his career goal for the past 25 years was to open his own business, that he lost his job and was unemployed for 13 months…. Reading through their emails and conversations, I realized he left that information out because she would not adore him as well. Also, a huge factor in his affair was her need for someone to help her overcome her divorce and he admits he stayed because he liked the feeling of being her hero. He stayed because he didn’t want to be another “bad” guy in her life.
        It’s different for everyone… but hopefully we all grow from these experiences and become stronger, better spouses.

      • I agree that every situation is different and this man’s story, while more typical than not, doesn’t necessarily reflect every story. That being said, your experiences might be exceptional and don’t disprove what’s more typically going on. The reality is few happy and content spouses have affairs. It’s simply a fact. But some do.

        Good luck to you.

  2. The key sentence for me in this whole article is “I do not suffer in silence and have tried repeatedly to talk to her about my issues and concerns I have for the relationship and our marriage. ” I don’t think her lack of response to his open communication is reason for him to have an affair (and I know you don’t either). I also think this guy is in the minority. I think most spouses who cheat do NOT vocalize their stress and unhappiness. It’s something that perhaps they can’t even express to themselves. This makes me very sad. If only my husband had been in better touch with his depression and stress. I tried numerous times to get him to seek some help to handle the overwhelming stress in our life at that time. I tried to discuss what we were dealing with, and how it was impacting him and us. He chose denial. He says now that the affair was just a temporary escape from his problems. He didn’t want to admit, even to himself, how deeply he was struggling with losing his dad, and potentially losing his business. He says now that he can see that it was just an escape. She pumped up his ego in a way that I could not, because with her there were no demands of kids, and bills and responsibility. The problem became that she wanted something in return. Leave the wife, leave the family. And he never wanted that. She changed the rules. So here we are, dealing with a psycho that won’t go away.

    • I agree with you. Most spouses don’t verbalize the true extent and depth of their unhappiness to their spouses. I know I didn’t, and probably should have, but again, hindsight is very 20/20. My unhappiness grew very gradually and I really didn’t know why I was unhappy and my marriage didn’t have the type of communication for me to have verbalized it. We didn’t talk like that.

      And I guess in my mind it seemed to me that she really didn’t try and find out either. I don’t recall until years into my unhappiness and just a few months before D-day her EVER asking me why I seemed unhappy. or if I was happy with our marriage. Nothing was said. We just floated along while this huge emotional chasm between us opened up. I felt lonely, frustrated and trapped by my life circumstances. All the environmental elements were in place for something drastic to occur, like an affair.

      And frankly I didn’t just didn’t wake up one day and think, “I’m unhappy, and now I think I’ll have an affair!”. It wasn’t like that. It was all so gradual. I made one small compromise after another until I found myself fully emeshed with someone else. And that is more typical than not. Few cheaters really set out to cheat. And sometimes the depth of your unhappiness becomes even more apparent when you meet someone else who DOES seem interested in you. Who makes you feel wanted, desired and appreciated. It makes you even MORE miserable at home because you realize, “gosh, maybe there IS something better out there!”.

      And now it’s an addiction. Like your husband’s mistress, “she” was meeting all the needs that my wife would not or could not meet. And I was hooked. It was an escape from my dreary, frustrating existence at home as husband and father. She was like a drug.

      And yes, like his mistress, the problem really became that “she” started to press me for more. That I was being pressured and manipulated to leave my wife and family, and all that this implied. I was already in turmoil over the affair, and this made it worse. My state of mind for the entire affair was simply awful. And “she” didn’t help matters. I too was seriously depressed and stressed out. I think that’s when my wife FINALLY really noticed and FINALLY spoke up. But in reality, not until I mentioned that we might have to separate did it really get her attention.

      Even she realizes that I had not been a priority in her life since we had kids. While she violently disagrees with my decision to have an affair, at least she acknowledged her big role in creating the environment where one became an attractive option. And that was the launching point to recovery. We both had to “own” our part in this.

      And like you, we are still dealing with this psycho even though I haven’t spoken to her in about 600 days now. She refuses to fully go away.

      Our stories have many many parallels.
      Thanks for the input.

  3. Have you thought about how things might be different if your AP did not pressure you to leave your wife? And at what point did that pressure start triggering guilt and stress?

    It is tough to say but interesting to wonder if you chose an AP who would eventually push you to a moment of truth, too…

    • I get your question — did my wife win by default because of how my AP acted? Did she merely drive me back to the arms of wife?

      In my blog post “A letter to the other woman”, I lay most of what I say below out. but that’s ok — reader’s digest version here.

      To answer your question, no, not really. It’s not why I went back to my wife, although it certainly made it easier to move on.

      When D-Day hit, I was already in the process of trying to get out of the affair, which I knew would be difficult and ugly. Knowing her, I knew she would not go quietly, and would likely try to really hurt me just because I wanted “out”. And I was right.

      In fact, the OW engineered D-day because she saw that I was backpeddling. 3 days earlier she told me that she was anticipating that I was going to dump her. And she didn’t like it. There were tears. She was angry. So what happened was predictable and awful and spoke volumes about who she was.

      But that’s not why I went back to my wife. During the previous month, my wife and I had finally begun to REALLY talk about our marriage and it gave me pause. I knew then that the affair had to end, which was already too stressful on me and had been since the beginning. I didn’t know if I could save my marriage, but I knew the affair had to end. I knew that I wasn’t going to leave my wife and kids for this woman.

      But yes, the red flags about the OW had begun to pile up and I was beginning to see her for who she really was, and yes, that certainly was a factor in me wanting to get out of this messy situation. And her actions AFTER D-day cemented in my mind that I had made the right decision.

      And yes, if she hadn’t pressured me, accepted things as they were, I may have been less motivated to have terminated things. I won’t lie about that. But that being said, I was never comfortable with having an affair and leading a double-life. It was stressful from the get-go. The OW’s pressure, which began in earnest about 5-6 months into the affair, certainly made it worse, but I was not happy with being a cheater and trying to lead a double life. Never was. I was addicted to what I was getting from the OW, but it was all very stressful.

      Her actions after D-day cemented in my mind that I made the right decision to terminate things with the OW. If she had been more understanding and loving, I think it would’ve been much harder for me to have gotten over her and I would’ve been more tempted to have contacted her along the way. I admit that.

      but she wasn’t. Her behavior showed me exactly who she was and it wasn’t pretty.

      I know today that even if I were divorced, I would never EVER go back with her. She is not a life option for me. I will never be lonely enough to want someone like her in my life again.

      And I have discovered wonderful new things about my wife and marriage since then. I made the right call. But my wife didn’t win by default. I went back because from the previous month, I had begun to see glimmers of hope for us. Our intimacy was coming back. I felt encouraged. But I didn’t choose her because I had nowhere else to go. Quite the contrary. I could’ve made it on my own without either of them. I choose to rebuild my marriage because I saw hope that it was possible.\

      The OW didn’t “push me to the moment of truth” — she cowardly told me lies, sent anonymous emails to my wife, friends, family and colleagues – in order to manipulate the situation. She has no sense of “truth”. She told a lot of lies about me to my wife and others, and mixed in just enough truth to make them seem plausible. She fully betrayed me and all my confidences to her merely because I wanted “out.” The truth? She didn’t care about the truth — she just wanted me, at whatever cost. She went after me, my wife and my kids — anything to either undo my decision and marital reconciliation, or to inflict damage upon me as retribution. Truth? She’s a horrid, immature, cunning, manipulative, self-centered drama queen. It just took me a while to get through and past her clever disguises. Her actions are also clearly spelled out in the “letter to the other woman” blog entry.

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