Courage
I think this would be a good poll question. If a potential WS read through these posts, if they saw the extent of the damage an affair would cause to their partner, would they still cross the line?? My thoughts are that they would... they would already be in the fog, already be justifying it to themselves, believing they deserved this new found happiness. Perhaps they'd think, 'I would never get caught so I won't ever have to deal with the backlash and pain from my spouse.'
For those who have cheated... Do you think reading these posts from both BS and the regret of WS before having an affair, would have altered your choice to cross the line?
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Kalmarjan
This seems like an easy question, but it's tough to answer.

If I could go back in time to say to myself the outcome, yes... I'm pretty sure there is no way I would do something like I did. On the other hand, I came to that realization by a LOT of self reflection... And I fear that I could not have learned those lessons if I just prevented it.

It's kind of stupid, but I prefer to acknowledge and admit that I messed up really, really badly. That I threw away something that I should have preserved... But I am taking responsibility which means that I need to do whatever it takes to fix it.

So, I am way better to my wife and my relationship than I was before the affair I had to make things stronger in order to make sure this would never, could never happen again.

Plus, I would still be taking my wife for granted. It was this horrible situation that made me realize what I had, and that it was worth fighting for.

Would I cheat myself of the lessons? If I could still learn the lessons and stop my wife from feeling pain, I would.

But I can't. All I can do is be better than I was before. I can learn that I was immature but now I am a man and take responsibility for what I did, and for guiding, and being the guide for our recovery.

I hope that makes sense...

Oh, and if I could go back in time... I'd still kick my own ass. Just because.
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Kalmarjan
Gotta clarify.

I would not cheat on my wife had I known what the outcome of THAT affair was. But, I WON'T cheat on my wife now because I learned from what happened, from what I did.

What I'm trying to say is that if I just went back I'm time and said, hey, this will. Never work out, this will happen, don't do it... Then I wouldn't be preventing the right way.

Today there's no question. I just want cheat. There's a firm boundary and I will not cross it. But, unfortunately, I had to learn that the hard way.
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Courage
Kal, my husband says similar things. He's not sure if he would be where he is today if he hadn't been broken the way he has since the affair. He has grown tremendously since the affair. He sees things differently and has high hopes for our marriage and family to be amazing. Moving forward his goal is to be the best person he can. I admit I am slowly beginning to love this new man again ( except as mentioned in another post the additional pain of uncovering his many lies about the affair). Still committed and trying to trust and forgive, heading in the right direction, but not a smooth drive!

Thx for your input!
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TimT
Courage wrote:
I think this would be a good poll question. If a potential WS read through these posts, if they saw the extent of the damage an affair would cause to their partner, would they still cross the line?? My thoughts are that they would...

When I had my affair, I had witnessed many other previous affairs and knew all the "right answers" against infidelity. I had even been involved in trying to help friends get out of affairs in the past. I was certain that would never be me.

But at the right time, with the right circumstance, all my arguments went out the window and I just did what I wanted to do... what made me feel good... what it seemed I deserved. When people tried to tell me the same things I had said to others, it made no difference. In the "fog" I became convinced that I knew better.

There was one person who was able to break through to me: someone who had been through something very similar to me and who came to me without trying to judge me, change me, or manipulate me. They simply expressed a care for me and invited me to talk honestly to them about what I was going through. They didn't avoid honesty when I asked, but didn't try to argue me out of the fog. Those conversations had more positive impact during that time than anything else I experienced.

That's the kind of counselor I try to be now. I know every time another unfaithful spouse comes into my office and talks about how THEY are the exception to the rule (really in love, really found a soul mate, really found the connecting they wanted all their life, etc., etc.) that they are in the fog, too. But it will do no good for me to argue them out of it. It isn't a logical choice; it's an emotional one. 

The best I can do is offer grace and honesty and hope for a solution that will avoid mounting regret. By appealing to that part of them is deeper than just sense of duty (the choice I'm suppose to make) or longing (the choice that feels right to me) and consider who they are an who they want to become... cultivating a sense of passion for THAT is the one motive that can move someone out of the fog more quickly (without going back into it again).

But, honestly, I think most people in the fog will learn the hard way, if they learn at all.
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Kalmarjan
Hear hear. I once told my wife that even if I myself found a way to go back in time to tell myself not to do it, I probably wouldn't have listened. I guess I needed to learn it the hard way.
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Guiltguilt
If they learn at all. Sad truth.
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J
I wish my CS cared enough to get on a forum like this or do anything at all to show he regrets his decisions or even recognizes the damage he's caused even after the affair. No, I don't think these forums would help prevent someone from cheating when already in the affair fog. There are too many justifications and it feels too good at the time to worry about the fallout. Spouses who are cheating or even thinking about cheating aren't concerned with the potential pain and destruction their partners will face in the future, but how good they feel in the present.
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TimT
On the other hand... I CAN give examples (from even this past week!) of unfaithful spouses who were deeply entrenched in their affair thinking/behavior who made rather quick turn-arounds to end the affair and commit to their spouses. There is no magic for dispelling the fog, but when it does happen these are the circumstances that tend to present:
  • the married couple has a history of trust & intimacy that both can acknowledge
  • the character of the cheating partner is fundamentally honest & faithful; the affair is an anomaly, not consistent with their true values
  • the message of recovery is presented with a balance of compassion & truthfulness (being very honest about the situation and outcomes, but with a sense of care and respect for the person) rather than with demands or shaming
So, there IS hope. Despite the power of the "fog", people do make choices to walk out of it before it dissipates on its own, especially if the 3 things above are present. (By the way, that is why it is important to find a counselor/helper who is both knowledgeable and compassionate to both the betrayed and unfaithful spouses. Betrayed spouses sometimes reach for support from people who simply reinforce their point of view and so the unfaithful spouse remains strongly defensive.)
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UrbanExplorer
I am the one who had an affair, and perhaps the only thing that would have stopped me (assuming I knew it before I got in so deeply), was how horrific it would be when the affair was exposed. In particular, my AP's wife became completely filled with rage and spite and set out to ruin me. Because we know people in common, she can actually do it (and has, to some extent). I rationalized during the affair that she didn't actually want her husband because that was how their marriage was presented to me. I also never saw my husband cry in 21 years until this came out. I assumed if the affair was exposed, they would divorce us. In some ways, it is more painful that they did not.
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Apples
I agree with UrbanExplorer....if I had known the utter devastation and all the endless consequences that have resulted from my affairs, I would have stopped them. I literally had myself convinced that if he found out that a) he'd only know about one of my several affairs and b) he'd be upset for a month or two but we'd work it out and put it behind us. Or he'd file for divorce and it'd be over in a few weeks, essentially (moving out, making new arrangements for the kids, etc). 

Wow. I was such an ignorant fool. 

I am floored and devastated from the deep and wretchedly painful consequences of what I did. It is a wonder I can get up each day considering how heavily they weigh on me. 
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Sorry
No. I came across an article cautioning against affairs and the fact that they always cause damage.

Someone about the embark on an affair will always believe that they are the exception.

Sadly that is the truth. I have always felt revolted by affairs and the damage they cause. I still am. But in the situation, you dont listen to the logical part of your brain.
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AnywhereButHere
Contemplating the destruction I would visit on my wife and children was precisely what kept me from falling during a 30 year career in which a handful of women, who knew I was married, let it be known they were interested. I even had a busty babysitter come on to me as I was driving her home. It just wasn't going to happen BECAUSE of what it would do to those I loved.

I think having WSs and APS on this site describing the agonizing aftermath of an affair is very, very valuable.
BH, 5+ Mo EA, DDay 3/8/18
"...regarding all as God after God."
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Experiencethedevine29

Sorry wrote:
No. I came across an article cautioning against affairs and the fact that they always cause damage.

Someone about the embark on an affair will always believe that they are the exception.

Sadly that is the truth. I have always felt revolted by affairs and the damage they cause. I still am. But in the situation, you dont listen to the logical part of your brain.



 what you’re saying seems oppositional to me, so forgive me if I haven’t comprehended it’s meaning.

Surely, if you feel revulsion about the damage affairs do, wouldn’t you be aware at least, of starting down that slippery slope and stop yourself skidding full speed?

look, I’ve had my share of ‘come ons’ in my time, and I was fully aware of exactly what they meant.   Some even made me ‘think’ ...’yep...I could definitely dance a horizontal tango with him’.. BUT... I was fully aware that it would be a very dangerous dance that could cost me more than it was worth.  And that’s aside from my respect for my vows and the man I promised never to harm.

I do sometimes think it’s a bit like a ‘safety’ switch, that in some people doesn’t work.  I always think that people who beat and abuse others physically don’t have that innate safety switch which for most of us would stop us committing awful deeds.  

No more than my inane ramblings I suspect, but thinking aloud.

ETD 🌻

Expectation is the root of all heartache.. ’Will Shakespeare
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Vanessa
A couple of years before my WS (now Ex) started his affair with a co-worker, his brothers wife had an affair with one of her co-workers and we were very involved in helping his brother and our nephew sort out the terrible after math.  I remember WS and I talking about all the normal things said about affairs when you're not in one - "what happens if you stay with your AP? You get a new partner who you KNOW cheats!" etc.
And yet not too long thereafter, he was chasing one of HIS co-workers.  So all the warnings in the world don't help the folks who think that they and their affair are "special"
My WS thought he was his AP's one true love - it eventually came out that she had been lying to him all along and had had previous affairs. 
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