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