BorealJ
Starting a new topic from a quote in another topic.


Perhaps it's easy for me to say, but I'd pay no mind to someone using that term. It's nearly 100% correlated with misogyny and reveals more about the person using it than about the target. Besides, your marriage is no one else's business.
Urban, do I remember correctly that your affair was fairly publicly known?  If so, has that been freeing for your husband, or the opposite?  If there's one thing I struggle with more than anything, it's the sort of shame that comes with guarding a secret about myself. I also feel less genuine when I hide it and that interferes with my sense of connection to others.  Like I'm not allowing them to fully know me.  But if I think about it being more known, I feel like I would maybe shrink back a little more from social interaction.  Like I would have to actively find the courage to face the pity of some or the judgements of others that Keepabuzz refers to.  I neither want "your marriage is no one else's business" to be an excuse to hide important parts of my story nor to be worn as armour against the judgements of others.

Sorry if this puts you on the spot too much.  Looking for anyone's perspective, but your post put this in my mind.
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Fionarob
I was a BS, no longer married.
My own personal experience is that I only told very close friends and family on discovery of the affair.  At the time, I did not want my children to find out, so the less people knew, the better.  I had to tell those people, because without them I don't think I would have got through it. 

After our marriage ended, I got a new job.  I never felt the need to tell everyone my story - they knew I was divorced and I didn't feel I had to tell them the details for them to get to know me.  As time has gone on, I have become very close friends with some of my colleagues, so then I felt comfortable telling them what had happened.  Interestingly, I have never felt that any of them pity me - but maybe that's because they got to know me as a person first - not just as someone who has been cheated on.

I think my point is that I am a person with many qualities and attributes and the fact that I was cheated on in the past, does not make me who I am .  It is something that happened to me.  I don't think you are hiding who you are by not telling people things about your past.  None of us will ever know everything that has happened to other people, even our closest friends.  But that doesn't mean that we can't know them extremely well and have a very close relationship with them.  I think you tell people when you want to, when it feels right, and for no other reason. 
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UrbanExplorer
My affair did become very public, which made everything harder for me, my BS, and our kids. I got the "OMG, how could you?!" messages and he got the "OMG, are you OK?!" messages from acquaintances who really should not have been involved. Our kids heard the gossip. People love a scandalous story and can magnify the harm with it. It's hard to see a path forward with that much unwelcome input early in the process.

On our own, I told four old friends and my BS told his two brothers and my parents about my affair. We also saw therapists. I do think it's important for a WS and a BS to have someone to offer support. There is a particular kind of person who helps in this area. It's someone who knows you and can see the affair in context - someone who would support you no matter what decision you made about your marriage. A person who understands how hard a long marriage can be and is realistic about ups and downs and near-splits may have good advice. But ultimately, only the two people in the marriage will decide if there is a future and what that looks like. 

I remember telling my therapist that an old grad school friend wanted to meet me for lunch but I was dreading having to inform her about my affair and state of my marriage and make our whole conversation such a downer. My therapist said, "You don't have to tell everyone." It's good advice. Find your balance.

I feel protective of my marriage now and am not interested in anyone's outside assessment. I think my BS feels the same way. I'm also the last person to judge someone else's marriage.
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BorealJ
Fionarob wrote:

  I think you tell people when you want to, when it feels right, and for no other reason. 
That's the thing.  There are times when I feel it's natural for it to come out of me.  Not because I need emotional support or anything.  It's not about that for me at this point.  It just seems a natural part of a story I'm sharing or because it's where I gained some perspective on something. Or even because it is the truest answer to a question.  There are many decisions over the last couple of years that are related directly to the affair that are known.  People are curious about the story behind those decisions.  It wants to roll out of me.  But those are the moments where I have to be conscious about not letting it slip.  Where I do have to spend energy protecting it.  When I really measure it as a decision, I think there are good reasons not to just let it out whenever I feel like, such as the potential effect on my kids as you both point out.  As well, my wife is nowhere near ready for that and likely never will be.  It's just that there's a subtle ping that goes off when I'm aware that I'm keeping some dirty little secret about myself that inhibits my social comfort at times. 
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ThrivenotSurvive
Fionarob wrote:
 
I think my point is that I am a person with many qualities and attributes and the fact that I was cheated on in the past, does not make me who I am .  It is something that happened to me.  I don't think you are hiding who you are by not telling people things about your past.  None of us will ever know everything that has happened to other people, even our closest friends.  But that doesn't mean that we can't know them extremely well and have a very close relationship with them.  I think you tell people when you want to, when it feels right, and for no other reason. 


Can't agree more. 
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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Keepabuzz
I’m all for mind your own business and stay out of my marriage. This does not change the fact that the general public views women who stay with their WS after their affair are generally viewed as strong and forgiving, and when the gender is reversed the male BS is viewed as weak, stupid and a Cuckhold. Then add to that that as a man of his word, who always said if she cheats, He’s gone. Now he’s sitting there looking at his kids, knowing he will hurt them if he leaves, and will not be in their day to day lives anymore.  He feels after the most traumatic thing to ever happen to him has occurred, he is faced with the decision to “stick to his word” or cave and stay with his kids and give his wife a second chance she doesn’t deserve.  It’s not a good place to be.  It doesn’t matter how inaccurate parts of that may be, it doesn’t make it wrong.....
Male BS, D-day July 2015, trying to stay out of the dark.....
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UrbanExplorer
Keepabuzz wrote:
I’m all for mind your own business and stay out of my marriage. This does not change the fact that the general public views women who stay with their WS after their affair are generally viewed as strong and forgiving, and when the gender is reversed the male BS is viewed as weak, stupid and a Cuckhold. Then add to that that as a man of his word, who always said if she cheats, He’s gone. Now he’s sitting there looking at his kids, knowing he will hurt them if he leaves, and will not be in their day to day lives anymore.  He feels after the most traumatic thing to ever happen to him has occurred, he is faced with the decision to “stick to his word” or cave and stay with his kids and give his wife a second chance she doesn’t deserve.  It’s not a good place to be.  It doesn’t matter how inaccurate parts of that may be, it doesn’t make it wrong.....


But it's still your choice and no one else's business. And it's absolutely your choice not to listen to or care about someone else's opinion about your marriage. 
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ThrivenotSurvive
I don't disagree with Keep's point.  But I do think that it is somewhat affected by generation.  I grew up the daughter of a feminist - I was taught to be strong, need no man and call my own shots (didn't mean I couldn't love one - I just should never allow myself to be dependent emotionally or financially.)   In addition, one of the things I am most known for in my personal and professional life is one of integrity.  i have put my job on the line to protect others, I have put myself in harm's way to protect someone being battered, wouldn't lie even when it would have kept me out of trouble... etc. Like Keep, it is intrinsic to me to do what I know to be the right thing - whether it is hard or not.  For me it is far harder NOT to do the right thing.  My conscience is a hard task master.

So I actually found it VERY, VERY hard to not feel deep shame that a part of me didn't want to leave.  A part of me saw myself as another weak-willed emotional woman unwilling to let go of a relationship with an entitled man.  I knew in my heart that wasn't really true for me or him - but I still really struggled with it for the first 6 months to a year.  I would have felt FAR more at peace with telling everyone I had kicked his butt to the curb.  That seemed strong and resolved.  

Part of it was in my head - but I did find that there were friends and family who were surprised by my choice.  I could see it was hard for them to reconcile with who I am - but luckily I have chosen most of the people in my life well - so whether they had reservations or not, they chose to trust me and my ability to know what was right for my own life.   

But at the end of the day, there is a point that you become strong enough in yourself and in your choice that you decide as UrbanExplorer says, to just not care what other people's opinions are about your choice.
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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arizons
Keepabuzz wrote:
I’m all for mind your own business and stay out of my marriage. This does not change the fact that the general public views women who stay with their WS after their affair are generally viewed as strong and forgiving, and when the gender is reversed the male BS is viewed as weak, stupid and a Cuckhold. Then add to that that as a man of his word, who always said if she cheats, He’s gone. Now he’s sitting there looking at his kids, knowing he will hurt them if he leaves, and will not be in their day to day lives anymore.  He feels after the most traumatic thing to ever happen to him has occurred, he is faced with the decision to “stick to his word” or cave and stay with his kids and give his wife a second chance she doesn’t deserve.  It’s not a good place to be.  It doesn’t matter how inaccurate parts of that may be, it doesn’t make it wrong.....


It really piss's me off that Male BS are viewed in such a negative way, especially since you are just as strong and forgiving as any Female BS. But of course, myself being a BS I can see that. No one that has gone through what we have could even truely understand.

My affair did end up becoming public. I made the choice to expose the affair to the OW family and friends... although I didn't right away. Before doing that I told a few select people.
   Regardless.... I think its the choice of the Married couple or BS disgression on with whom and how they share it with.
Female BS, D-day 1/03/2017, 
I'm going to rebuild me like a remix,

and raise my soul like a Phoenix 
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Keepabuzz
That is what I told my wife. I told her that I could tell whoever I wanted, whenever I wanted, and she had zero say in the matter. Obviously, as discussed above I didn’t want to tell anyone I didn’t absolutely have to.  I also told my wife that if any of our kids ever go through either role in betrayal, I will tell them what she did. They would need to know that I “get it” if they are the betrayed, and I will ensure they “get it” if they are the betrayer. My wife only requested that if I did tell anyone, that she would like to know, so she could prepare herself when/if she would be around them. I felt that was a fair request. 
Male BS, D-day July 2015, trying to stay out of the dark.....
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GuyInPain
This is a great discussion, and I appreciate the comments that people have made. 

I shared my wife's infatuation with another man with one sibling – and that was when she'd told me only that it was an infatuation and that she was over it.  I've never spoken about it again with that sibling and did so only on that occasion because I was just overwhelmed.  Much later my wife confessed that it was a full blown sexual affair, and I've never spoken about that with family or friends.  My wife told one of her siblings about the affair and has never spoken about it again with him.  We've also never told our children.

Bottom line for me?  Privacy is not the same thing as secrecy.  Keeping something private is not the same thing as keeping secrets.   

I've gone into the adultery at great length with therapists and counselors but never with family or friends.  I value my wife too much to have my family view her through the lens of her adultery – and I do believe that would always color their view of her.  I value our friends too much to talk about it with them, for I think it would shift the friendships significantly.  For me it would feel like spreading the brushfire. 

Yes, I'm aware of counter-arguments: How can I not share a truth that is so pivotal and important for me?  Couldn't the family relationships and the friendships be deepened by struggling through this with them?  Believe me, I've longed to talk about it with my closest friend, but he and his wife are dear friends of both of us and I don't want to risk that friendship being rocked by this revelation.  And, in the end, the only two people who are really going to make a difference in our marriage are my wife and I.  

So my outlets are: my therapist, online websites and forums like this one; the really good books by Janice Springer, Shirley Glass, Esther Perel and others; my wife of course; and God. 
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GuyInPain
The other important topic that's come up in this thread is the different responses to men and women in affairs and affected by affairs:

On how betrayed spouses are regarded, I disagree that men who stay are seen as weak and women who stay are seen as strong.  I've not encountered at all the attitude that men who stay after their wives stray are weak.  I think they're admired.  For instance, Bruce Barry, the husband of Megan Barry, the former mayor of Nashville who had a 2-year adultery with her bodyguard – even right through the suicide of their son. 

On women who stay, I think the societal drift is quite the opposite: One unfortunate effect of feminism (and I'm a feminist) is that women who stay are seen as enablers, complicit, doormats and so on.  Interestingly, on the Barrys, the bodyguard's wife began divorce proceedings in two weeks after the affair became public, whereas Bruce is still with Megan.  When Eliot Spitzer's prostitution habit became public his wife Silda was mocked for standing by him at the press conference and for long after.  Now, not surprisingly, they are divorced.  I think that's where we are now as a society. 

Equally interesting is the difference in how involved partners are regarded.  My observation is that adulterous men are seen as selfish, callous, narcissistic and immature.  Adulterous women, on the other hand, get a lot of understanding as people assume her husband was not giving her enough attention, was not emotionally available or was too involved in his work.  As a betrayed husband, this differential bothers me a lot every time I come across it, and in conversations I try to emphasize that lots of factors go into affairs of both genders and that anyone – female or male – who commits adultery has done something very hurtful that should not be condoned.

The other thing I would say about that is that the pendulum has swung on how adulterers are regarded: Whereas men's affairs used to be condoned and women's were condemned (for instance Madame Bovary, Anna Karenina), today it's just the opposite: women get a sympathetic ear whereas men are disparaged.  
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Fionarob
Good points.

I think unfortunately, affairs are one of those life experiences, that unless you go through it yourself, you will never understand it completely.  I was probably guilty of making certain judgements or assumptions about people who have affairs and people who are cheated on.  And then it happened to me.  And all of the views I'd had before completely changed.
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arizons
Fionarob wrote:
Good points.

I think unfortunately, affairs are one of those life experiences, that unless you go through it yourself, you will never understand it completely.  I was probably guilty of making certain judgements or assumptions about people who have affairs and people who are cheated on.  And then it happened to me.  And all of the views I'd had before completely changed.

Right! That part and so true.
   I used to have the stance that if someone ever cheated on me i would kick them to the curb so fast.
  And then..bam it happend and i ended uo staying and fighting for my marraige
Female BS, D-day 1/03/2017, 
I'm going to rebuild me like a remix,

and raise my soul like a Phoenix 
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ThrivenotSurvive
I think generational swings lead to a very big discrepancy in the perceptions.  And I can't agree more about the judgements we make when we haven't faced it (whatever IT is.)

Both my husband and I have found this experience deeply humbling.  Now, when I hear of someone's experience where they made a different choice than I think I may have, I may still say "I think I'd see it like xxx" but right behind that statement is this one... "But you never know how you will feel until you are standing in those shoes - and there is always so much more to the story than what we hear... I am sure they are doing their best."

Judgement is a lot harder to come by in our house now.  Accountability and consequence are still paramount - but so is compassion.  I think it is actually one of the rare gifts that come with this kind of experience.  It can gentle your heart.  
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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