EAM
Do we wish to discuss how addictions, and/or childhood trauma can play into infidelity? We, the unfaithful partner, sometimes have deep issues happening, that need attention, since they may have been causing issues in the family for years. Is this an appropriate topic for discussion?
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TimT
Very appropriate. Is this part of your story? What have you learned?
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EAM
This is part of my story. Childhood sexual abuse, repressed and forgotten, un-remembering aided by alcohol, leading to passive-aggressive behaviour, resentment and blaming my spouse for personal issues and alcoholism, escapes from intimacy... and eventually infidelity. Infidelities.

The whole messy ball of wax needs to be addressed, with different tactics to deal with and heal alcoholism and the deep wounds of infidelity, though many of the same processes and learning can apply. Healing personal recovery is required by the unfaithful partner to recognize the hurtful behaviours, the internal processes that allow twisted thinking and blaming of the other partner (or even the OW). 

I, the unfaithful partner, realized recently that there is a deeper internal issue- not my current marital situation- causing my unhappiness that I unfairly blamed on my marriage.

Luckily for me, my partner is understanding of the process of healing that I need to go through, and she hasn't completely slammed the door (yet), but is giving me some time to work through the healing processes, to see if I can prove that I am actually a decent human being! She is taking time and space for herself too, to watch my process from a safe distance.

With work and grace, perhaps once I prove I can be a decent honest and congruent human being, we'll be able to redress the hurts that I have caused by my unfaithful actions. This is a current situation, and i'm very grateful to be able to participate in this discussion, find these resources.
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TimT
Anna26 wrote:
Is it possible do you think to be so utterly depressed and stressed that you do things you wouldn't normally do if you were thinking clearly?  Hope I'm making sense.  What do you think?


It seems any strong emotion (anger, hurt, fear, depression) can evoke behavior that doesn't otherwise come out. Of course, there are healthy ways to deal with all those feeling, but most of us have learned to deal with them in ways that keep us safe or in control rather than risking any vulnerability. 

Your attempt to understand this in your husband is admirable, I think. But if he's not willing to look at the stuff that keeps him from connecting with you and others, you'll likely continue to experience those disconnections. And that makes it hard to trust.

But maybe (and I hope this is true) he is becoming more aware of his need to make some shifts... to figure some things out. Maybe he's figuring out that he has a better story to tell than the one he's been telling. I hope so, for his sake and for yours, too.
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EAM
Yes, I think it is possible that a man can become so distressed that he stops "thinking straight" and accepts paths of behaviour that are ridiculous when viewed through a saner lens. That's my experience, specifically due to passive-aggressive behaviour and poor boundary setting skills. Now, sober and lonely, I wonder why on earth I risked ruining my relationship with my beautiful wife. Perhaps when we are distressed cognitive dysfunction kicks in, and we allow ourselves leeway to justify bad behaviour.
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Mi_alma13


"I, the unfaithful partner, realized recently that there is a deeper internal issue- not my current marital situation- causing my unhappiness that I unfairly blamed on my marriage. "



EAM,

I'm curious what made you realize this, and how long did it take for you to realize it? because I could see my husband was hurt from his childhood, and he knew it affected him, but he never wanted to do anything about it, and chose unhealthy ways to deal with it, such as drinking and being unfaithful. 
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Mi_alma13


"When both of these affairs occurred, we were going through a very stressfull time in our lives.  My husband is not good at airing his problems, he has never been able to talk about things to me or anyone else. After all, isn't that what men are supposed to be, strong, silent , and protective?  Stiff upper lip and all that!  He is not an emotional man and I feel he represses a lot of worry and stress to the point he somehow brings himself so low that he doesn't know what to do. Then, when he is not thinking straight, he seems to be at his most vulnerable. "

Anna26,

I'm recently getting a divorce, by husband was unfaithful emotionally 3 times that I know of, and physically this last time which was fairly recent. He used to say "when we're good, we are good, and when we are bad we are bad." I realized this was a cop out. My husband would always keep to himself, and would be passive aggressive. I was too, and I always felt like I had to walk on egg shells with him. I forgave him a lot, and made excuses for him a lot because he had an unfortunate upbringing. Even after he physically cheated on me, i gave him another chance and I always told myself love is unconditional. But it should go both ways, and you can't always sacrifice yourself for the other person, if they won't even lift a finger to help themselves. Hopefully your husband is not like mine, and is willing to get help. I don't hate my soon to be ex-husband, I feel sorry for him because he will continue to search for that happiness outside, when all he has to do is fix whats broken inside. But I have to face reality, as much as I love him and I don't want a divorce, he has a choice, and he doesn't want to change. I could have chosen to stay and live with that bad behavior. I could have also waited for him to change, but I've waited for 4.5 years and nothing has improved, it just got worse. He also chooses to drink and feel sorry for himself, instead of wanting to better his life. Regardless of what you decide to do, make sure you love yourself first, and take care of yourself, because I was trying so hard to heal my ex's wounds and cater to his needs, that I forgot to heal mine and fulfill my needs. I wish you the best! and I hope it works out for you. Also, seeing a therapist helped me, even though my ex didn't want to go. I made that choice for myself, and I'm so grateful!
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EAM
Mi_Alma13

It took me more than 40 years to realize this was a core reason behind my passive-aggressive behaviour, the incident when I was 4 was buried so deeply that only recently I started remembering and understanding it; that I lived over top of a deep well of rage yet swallowed anger and let resentments and blame build. Alcohol helped further bury the issue. It's only now- after a terrible and traumatic affair and being asked to leave my wife and home- that I'm seeking counselling, committing to a life of sobriety and hoping someday to be able to reconcile with my partner.

None of my past excuses my hurtful behaviour towards my wife, I understand this. My treatment and counselling now may help us get back together (but no guarantees). I've got some issues to work through, but I'll still have to encourage and support my partner to help her heal from the terrible and traumatic affair too.

Anna26
Yes, it's easier to stay 'in the fog' than face our demons. It's easier sometimes to bury our heads in the sand and pretend we can't make a decision, when really, we won't make a decision. Maybe until someone else decides for us, then what one thought they wanted (a love affair, a drinking life...) pales in comparison to what one has lost (wife home family security peace normalcy self-respect).

I'm beginning to accept that I'm an alcoholic, heading for rehab treatment Monday (woohoo!) (so I'll be absent from these discussion for a month...)

I'd like to think i"m a good man struggling to get to from under, so although I'm ashamed of the label 'alcoholic' and i certainly have a hard time discussing sexual abuse with anyone, I can see that my behaviour is more congruent when I'm sober. Dealing with old rage, repressed anger (and repressed love!) may help a good man emerge.

It is challenging to accept our vulnerability- that we may have a weak spot, or worse, a personality defect that causes us to screw good people up continually!
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Anna26
EAM:

I never really thought of it like that.  The probability that someone won't make a decision rather than being unable to.  Or until the decision is made for them.  Thinking about it, I surmise that in that situation someone is probably getting the best of both worlds.  If 'best' is the right word.  On the one hand you have the stability and reliability of your existing partnership, and all the excitement and escapism of the affair, the thing that releases you from the problems and insecurities that exist at home.
It's an interesting concept.

 I am sure that despite all your current problems there is a good man trying to surface.  This shows in your determination and desire to change, and you will do it.   Stay positive and good luck with the rehab.   Will look out for more from you later.

AHmember41:

The thing that stands out the most in your post is the fact that you seem to already know where your own contributory factors to the problem may lie.  I suspect that this is something that most of us have still to discover and that will be an uncomfortable journey for some.  Like you say, the decision to have the affair was his and you are not responsible for that. None of us can control another persons decisions, we can only make our own.  I think human nature is such that we all like to believe we are perfect and incapable of any failings.  So when we do fall, we beat ourselves up with a big stick over it, we've let everyone down, including ourselves.  Maybe the fact that we let ourselves down is the hardest lump to swallow!  I know that somewhere in my marriage there will be something that I need to accept on a personal level.  I have no idea what that is yet...you have an advantage.  Hope all goes well for you.
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Intuition77
I think this is a really good point. Usually you only see addiction and affairs mentioned when the cheating was under the influence. But I think it goes much deeper. For my own story my husband is an alcoholic though he quits for long periods of time & convinced himself he is not. I see now how an addict personality can allow an affair. Many of the same mechanisms-denial, justifications,rationalizations and what I call his "special snowflake" syndrome-meaning he thinks he's exceptional & his experiences are different. As in if someone else had problems with alcohol exactly like his he'd call them an addict. If I had done what he did he wouldn't think it was "just a mistake that needs forgotten".

Also we both have family histories of alcoholism and I'm learning how it shaped many of our patterns. Myself I learned codependent behaviors at a young age. And I see me in so many other betrayed spouses like the one most invested, who gave their all trying to "fix" everything is the one betrayed. Strangely on dday I was devastated, kept saying but we we're so happy etc. Within a few weeks of serious soul searching & dissecting my marriage (cause remember I thought I could fix it) I realized just how unhappy I had been! How much resentment I had built up for plugging along while my needs we're never met. Then when I informed husband of this his response was I thought we had a really good marriage! Well why would you cheat? Of course I also saw my flaws & how my resentments came out at him and how we had become stuck in this sick cycle. Unfortunately for my marriage my clarity & willingness to grow & change & deal with those issues we're not matched by him. But I'm becoming a better person for it. He's stuck to the same patterns of deny minimize justify it all away. Much like he does with his drinking.

So I def think even if neither spouse is themselves an addict that family histories if addiction play into the patterns.
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EAM
2 weeks into a rehab session. I've learned that my own addiction stems from childhood abuse- that alcoholism and sexual acting out is a wAy to insulate and numb childhood hurts. The alcohol and sexual acting out worked (for a while) until it actually started to damage my life and relationships. Now I see that sexual acting out was an addictive pattern while I tried to blame my spouse for not being ______ enough. I'm resolved to treat my acting out as an addiction and seek help. Maybe my spouse will have me back someday.
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raggedylaura
my husband's affair partner claims that she had a "alcoholic mother"......so that caused her to jump in bed with my husband....  she believed that my husband could "cure" this problem.......especially by sleeping with him.
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