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Damaged
I felt like their relationship was more authentic than ours. They were honest with each other ( I think) and knew what they were getting into.  Our relationship was a lie. She knew about me but I had no idea about her. 
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hurting
It may feel like it, and certainly we have been forced to live a lie. We have lost months/years to their lies. But I don’t think you can really know whether they were honest with each other. In fact, I’m pretty certain being in an affair requires that there is a certain level of lying and deception going on. The WS will lie- both to the AP and to themselves!! To rationalise and justify their cheating. 

At least in my case, I don’t believe the relationship was more authentic. It was FAR from it. How can you call a ‘relationship’ that is built on fantasy, lies, stolen time and consisted of nothing but ‘holiday time’ together authentic? An authentic relationship is one that can face reality, deals with the daily grind together and not just idealised fantasy bubbles where the people are forever in holiday mode and don’t have a care in the world other than making themselves feel good. 
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Vanessa
They absolutely lie to each other!
It may be overt or by omission but they DO lie to each other.  How many times do you hear "our marriage was all but over" but the spouse had NO IDEA? Well then the marriage wasn't really all but over, it was just a justification for the cheating.  We have a "dead bedroom" and yet spouse ends up pregnant, etc.  Many spouses are very surprised when they learn about the WS's "dead bedroom" that the BS thought they were having sex in!
There is nothing "authentic" about lying and deceiving the people who love you.
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ThrivenotSurvive
My husband actually told me that a SIGNIFICANT part of the appeal was that he could present a "better" version of himself.  One that didn't have doubts about his parenting, that was only successful (forget that the business failure from earlier in our lives still hd us in debt - all she saw was a man on top of his field), etc...   I know all his secrets, his insecurities, his fears.  With her he could have a "prefect" version of himself mirrored back - the one he wanted to be, but wasn't.  

And for a while this was VERY appealing  But he said it also became exhausting.  That it became stifling not being able to really be himself.  And when DD came and he thought he was going to be stuck with her?  He realized he didn't want to go through down times with her.  He didn't trust her, or feel supported by her, or even LIKE her as much.  She was just girl that worshiped a fake version of him and made him feel good during a time that he felt alone and taken for granted.  

While i do believe that it is sometimes easier to be vulnerable with someone you don't know well (because you don't need their approval in the same way), I don't think that plays into a lot of these affairs.  Particularity the classic mid-life crisis versions.  They seem far more based in trying to create some fantasy version of themselves...

And in those cases where they WERE more honest with the other person?  That doesn't show how close they were... it only shows that they have trouble being vulnerable with those they fear to lose the love/respect of.  Think about it - Isn't it sometimes easier to show your true feelings HERE with virtual strangers than tell your WS how you feel?  Because you worry about hurting them, dealing with their judgement, etc.  Of course the goal is to work together to remove that insecurity.  But it does explain why it is sometimes hard to show your "warts" to the ones you love. 
BS - Female
Married 27 years, one adult child
DD May 2016

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” - V Frankl
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