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Hayley47 wrote:
I was also the OW I’m not proud but maybe like I was she was a little insecure and this man who seemed to have it all together paying her attention was flattering for her. You will find that unless a woman is totally screwed up they would not actively seek out a married man, why the hell would they. In my case his wife was stunning, I was average, I remember him telling me about him building a conservatory on their house and I thought wow I want a husband just like that but he was the one who came after me and I guess in the end I caved. Stupidly.
And let me tell you.. i now have that husband who would build me a palace never mind a conservatory and as for him? Well over the last 15 years he’s been seeking me out.. 7 times to be exact. Yes he may love his wife, yes he may never leave his wife BUT it is him not me who tries to continue to have me as a back up plan incase his perfect life falls apart. It’s a cycle when he’s unhappy and needs an ego boost so I stupidly tried to be ‘friends’ but recently I came to my senses once and for all. 
What im saying is I guess I never considered his beautiful wife, I was just happy this nice man (maybe not so nice after all) was interested in me.. I learnt to work on loving myself and I’m truly happy with my new marriage. 
So it didn’t matter to her that he loved you she believed he loved her as well and everyone wants to be loved. yes she was wrong to get involved but trust me she’s probably not a bad person just a little niave. 
You don’t know exactly what he was telling her so please don’t think she was the one trying to pin him down because she wasn’t.. she just got caught up in a situation bigger than her and probably truly regrets it. I feel for her if she truly loved him her heart will have been broken too. I’m not making excuses for her just trying to explain that we are not bad people setting out steal men and hurt people. We all have our reasons for doing what we do and I’m sure she’s got reasons she probably doesn’t understand herself. 
I can guarantee you one thing, I bet she will never get involved with another MM ever again so maybe that’s her lesson in all of this.
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Just remember that most of BS think we are 'happily married' just like you are now.  I dont wish this upon you but should you ever find out that your husband is having an affair you will feel sorry for the other woman for 'giving in' to a married mans advances.
I can guarantee you that most women if not all women do not just blame the other woman.  Their anger and resentment will always ultimalty be toward their spouse.  God knows how I functioned in those early days with the arguments etc..  Like you she told me that her actions were justified as she did  not betray me. To this day I cannot fathom how insensitive humans can be.  To conclude. there is no and will never be a good enough excuse to have an affair behind the back of an unassuming innocent person.  I wish you a long happy and affairless marriage.
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Keepabuzz wrote:
Anyone that stays with someone who cheated on them can be viewed as giving the WS a “pass”.  The WS treats the BS with utter disrespect, and literal abuse, and after everything they get to keep their BS, their home, their relationships with their kids, all the financial stability and assets. From the outside it can certainly appear as they have been given a “pass”. I think on the inside, at least for me, it feels much the same. There are no consequences that I doled out to her. I think (hope really) that the consequences, or lack of a pass, comes from within the WS. As they get to see, at least some, of the pain they have caused, the destruction that their selfish actions brought upon others, the shame and remorse, that is the consequence. That is the consequence that they unleash upon themselves. We BS’s hope that this is a life changing experience for the WS, and they will never do this again. 

On the the other side of the coin, if the BS throws out the WS and divorces them, as they deserve, “no pass”. The WS doesn’t get to see and feel all the pain and destruction they have caused. I would venture to say, that many don’t “learn” from this terrible offense and likely may move on to do it again to someone else. Here from the outside there is clearly “no pass”, and on the inside there is clearly “no pass”. Many BS’s take this road, I would have certainly been one of them if not for my kids. 

In my opinion, unless the BS is aware of the affair and allows it to continue, there is no “pass” given.  If the BS is aware of the affair, and allows the WS to stay in the home and continue to cake eat, that is when I see a “pass” being given.  

There is really no way for a betrayed spouse to stop the WS from continuing his affair.  You can throw him out of the house, you can threaten divorce but my experience was that no matter what I did or said nothing stopped his affair.  He continued to escalate his acting out behavior by finally leaving me.   He came back a week later but still continued his affair.   I think that in the end his affair partner finally gave up.  When you build and illicit relationship on a lie ("I have a rocky marriage"  "I have a bad marriage") and it isn't true and you cannot force the betrayed spouse to follow your "script" then you end up with an issue... that is that you have no valid reason for committing adultery in the first place.  I do not think that if the BS does not want the marriage to end and the WS is deliberately doing everything to cause the BS to instigate a divorce (my WS told me that he did not want others to think that his adultery was the reason that his marriage to me had ended... even though it was the reason... ) from a tactical point of view my attitude was that if he wanted a divorce he could file and I would countersue.  I was not going to play his game and I was well aware that his behavior was meant to try and induce me to divorce him.  This is not about giving your spouse a pass.   This is about fighting for your life and your children's future.
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I didn’t mean to come across negatively. The point I was trying to make was if the BS is aware of the affair, and allows the WS to stay in the home, and carry on their affair in full view of the BS, that is giving a pass.  I agree that the BS can not force the affair to end. What I meant by that was that BS has full power to control what they put up with. The affair can continue, but the BS does not need to allow it to continue under their roof, in their home, in their face. You can certainly choose to force the WS to file, or file yourself. For me that was a simple formality. If I had discovered her affair, instead of her ending it, and then confessing, I would have had her out of my house, and filed the next day.  But that is just me, we all have to make decisions for ourselves. 
Male BS, D-day July 2015, trying to stay out of the dark.....
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ThrivenotSurvive wrote:

I agree that no two APs are the same.  Just like WS’ there are similar themes than run through many of their stories, but each is still unique.  

I thought it was interesting when I was accused of giving my husband a “pass”.  I know he did it because he wanted to - I never thought otherwise (nor has he ever said he wasn’t 100% at fault).  

But I also know there are complex reasons behind the thoughts and feelings that built up to make him justify that behavior, that “want”.  And I have sought to understand those - for my own sanity and to gather whatever wisdom I could from the sh*tstorm. So if that is giving him a pass, well... then in a way I was/am trying to give her one too.  To understand her not as a cardboard villain - but a human being that made decisions that were not in her own best interest and were likely to hurt her and others.  

For me, once I can understand something, I can find a way to forgive it.  And honestly, I have wanted to forgive her as much as I have my husband because I don’t want to poison my own heart with bitterness.

Interstingly, as I read the responses, I realized two important things - 

I can’t expect to see into her heart through other people’s eyes.  Because we ALL see everything from our own experiences and perspectives.  So what I am really getting is each person’s feelings of what they experienced.  

That being said, based on the communications I saw, her reactions on DDay and more - I think I have an idea of her thinking.  

I think she was a lonely woman who was having serious confidence issues after being dumped by her boyfriend after she caught him cheating on her.  I think she idolized my husband for his success at work and was envious of our marriage.  But I honestly don’t think she expected to have an affair with him in the beginning.  Maybe I am being too kind, but I don’t think so.  

I think she just thought he was a good guy that was lonely and wanting to explore the city the same way she did.  I think he actually seemed “safe” - someone she could look up to, be mentored by, flirt a little with and enjoy some attention from - without it really going anywhere.  I actually think the fact that she did believe he loved me deeply made her think that it was a “safe” friendship and harmless flirtation.  

And in the beginning, I think my husband thought they could be friends and he could enjoy the warm fuzzy feelings of being looked up to without it ever going anywhere. 

Butthey were both wrong.  

My husband was putting on a facade of “having it all” - when he was actually feeling really lost. He was having trouble showing anyone - even me or his mom how much losing his father had shattered him.  He was feeling lonely in a strange city and hurt by what saw as me “putting everyone else first”.  (On a side note - while that wasn’t a fair assessment - there was some truth to the fact that I took him for granted during this period.  It was a hard time and I think we were both guilty of that - it doesn’t justify his choices, but it does provide context).  

I think during this period they were hanging out as friends - during lunch and the occasional after work happy hour and he would share his disappointment that, once again, I wasn’t going to be able to come for this event or that... etc.  He has said that in the month or two before the affair started she asked why i didn’t visit more often and he’d told her that he was worried about us.  That he worried that I’d grown used to us living apart - that it didn’t seem to bother me like it did him and that sometimes it felt like we were living two separate lives (we kind of were) and he hated it.  

I think somewhere in here is where her intention may have changed/become convoluted.  I think she began to believe that while might love my husband, I wasn’t “in love” with him.  I mean, I didn’t work and he always constantly begging me to come and visit - so if I really loved him - I would, right? I think that thinking was how she justified her part.  

And on his side, he was finally getting the attention he felt I had been denying him.  She looked up to him and saw him as this vibrant, successful man in the peak of his life (the opposite of what he was feeling).  It’s a painfully classic midlife crisis.  I wish it was unique - but it wasn’t.  

My husband has said that when he looks back on it, it was just pure fantasy - on both their parts.  They each needed someone to make them feel better about themselves at a time when they felt crappy inside.  So rather than really see the other person - they saw the reflection of a fantasy they built.  

He’s said that it shames him to realize how badly he used her - that he never even really got to know her that well.  Not really.  Only how her attention made him feel.  And that when she told him she thought she loved him and he said it back to her, he knew he shouldn’t be saying it - because he didn’t really know how he felt about her. He knew he cared about her - and in some ways he wanted to believe he loved her  because otherwise he had to face that he was betraying me AND using her -  all to make himself feel better like a junkie uses drugs.  

I think she (and he) were emotionally weak, at a bad place in their life and wanting someone, anyone to put them first.  I believe for a time they found great comfort in one another - but because it was based more on their own neediness, rather than falling in with someone else’s unique qualities and values, it had no “meat”.  

Sadly, their cure for loneliness created far more heartache for everyone - including themselves.  My husband who I had only seen cry a handful of times in his life, has wept repeatedly from shame and regret.  For how he let me, our daughter and himself down.  How he used, hurt and rejected a young woman who had already been hurt and rejected. How he disappointed his and my extended family.  It is not who he thought he was - or who he wanted to be.  

So he is doing the work now to become more emotionally healthy, resilient and authentic.  This finally made him realize that success isn’t about your bank account - it’s about being strong enough to act with integrity even when life has you on your knees.  For being capable of staying true to who you are and your ideals even when it’s really, really hard.  

The last few days of reflection have made me realize that I have finally gotten to a place where I wish her no ill will.  I hope she’s doink well - that she has done the work to make herself a more emotionally healthy person.  I hope she is making better choices for herself.  I hope she finds happiness - in an honest way with her integrity intact.  We have enough damaged people running around creating pain in their wake.  We need more of them to wake up, and work to heal themselves so they stop causing so much havoc.  

Its sad that it usually takes something big like this or a drug addiction for people to stop saying “I’m fine” and be willing to finally take an honest look at their baggage.  

And then there are those who never do and have one broken marriage/relationship after another... even sadder.  For them and wven more for the people they leave in their wake.

Okay, another long post but I am happy to report that this really was cathartic for me.  It was a last remaining piece that I had trouble fitting in and now it feels pretty complete.  

I may be giving them both a “pass” in trying to give them deeply selfish, but not inhuman reasons for their actions but I am not sure I care.  Trying to see their actions from a different, less deliberately cruel and more just painfully self-centered perspective is allowing me to let go, and move forward.  I feel much more at peace and am thinking about retiring from this forum for a while.  It’s been so helpful and I admire all the people here trying to make the best out of one of life’s most painful experiences.  

I just think I am ready to stop making this the focus of my life. I still think there’s healing and learning to be done, for both my husband and myself for a long while.  Maybe forever.  

But I want to begin to move past it. This isn’t what I want written on my tombstone.  So it’s time to begin to think about my life in terms of new horizons, new projects and new goals.  I am so grateful to all the people here who helped me get to that place.  

I think that you probably have a pretty accurate view here from her perspective.. I also think that you are an incredibly mature person to be so compassionate towards someone who caused such fall out in your life.

I wish there was a switch that you could flip to stop the mind from wondering. It's easy to know that there is no point in dwelling on the affair but it's a lot harder to actually do. 
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