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Can a "good guy" ever cheat on his wife?

(270 Posts)
confusionoftheillusion Tue 22-Jan-13 15:15:08

I met a guy last summer and became friends. Had a drunken kiss in November. Since then have been meeting once/twice a week. 

Both married and recently have started to talk in detail about the problems we both have at home. He is talking about wanting to be with me, as in leave his wife and be with me together as a couple. I think he is wonderful in so many ways but also think that if he is that comfortable cheating on his wife he must be a bit of a dick. We haven't slept together but that is due to me being pretty upfront about the fact I wouldn't do that. I am also aware that me cheating on my husband makes me a not great person either. 

As always the situations either side are not quite as straightforward as we would like. 

I feel an awful lot for this man. However I am so conscious that we are having an affair so it's not the real world. How would I ever know if it would work in the real world? And is there ever a time when a 'decent' man has an affair? I feel that he is a "good guy" but then logically I think that he can't be as he is lying to his wife. 

perfectstorm Fri 25-Jan-13 18:31:41

There's a really interesting guy (American) who works on attitudes to race. And he was talking about how people see being "a good person" as a static state - that they're a good person, so they can't make a racist comment.

His argument is that being a good person is like being a clean person. It's a constant process, and that succeeding or failing one day is only important in how it helps towards a habit. You don't say, "I don't need to brush my teeth - I'm a clean person." You brush your teeth because you want to be one.

I'm sure you've been a good person in the past, and hopefully you will be again. But you are sleeping with the father of two small children. The damage you could do them if that came out, and probably are doing them in terms of their mother having a terrifying sense that something is wrong, is not the action of a good person. Neither of you are currently good people.

Whether you return to being a good person is a choice only you can make.

perfectstorm Fri 25-Jan-13 18:32:38

Crap, sorry, this is the perfect example of why not to post on a thread you've not read properly. On Relationships, that's inexcusable - I'm sorry. I hope things work through for you.

LaQueen Fri 25-Jan-13 18:37:36

Also apologise OP.

I thought I read the whole thread, but then the thread flipped into pages again, and I realised there were two more.

Does anyone else's MN do this? Sometimes you don't get any pages in a thread?

perfectstorm Fri 25-Jan-13 18:44:06

LeQueen I think it may have with me, too.

AnyFucker Fri 25-Jan-13 18:48:36

My MN starts to do that when it's about to start going really weird and pissing around

frustratedworkingmum Fri 25-Jan-13 18:54:41

My dad wasn't a bad person, he really wasn't and im not just saying that because he was my dad. He was the kindest, most patient, lovely, put upon man you could ever hope to meet.

He had an affair, now it might have been because my mum treated him like shite (she really did) and he was looking for comfort but he shouldn't have done it. I was 12 when it all came out, it destroyed me sad

DiscretionAdvised Fri 25-Jan-13 22:41:16

It's not as simple as saying people are good or bad. I do believe you can trust one.

However the best thing is to decided what you want out of your marriage regardless of the om. He has to do the same. D you want to end you marriage and be on your own. If the answer is yes for both of you then you should go ahead and end your marriages in the knowledge that its not to be with each other but because your marriages are unhappy. Knowing the om may be there for you will make it easier. If the answer is no then end the EA and work on your marriage.

For what it's worth I understand. I became friends with a colleague, we were both desperately unhappy. The exit affair started. Within a week of this happening I took steps to end my marriage. We text continually, see together very occasionally outside of work. Have sleep together just a couple of times. Dh moves out on Friday. The om moves out in march. I trust him as know him to be a moral and honourable despite his actions, as am I. Yes neither of us have been honest with our partners but it would only cause unnecessary extra hurt.

Living with someone else whilst your heart is with someone else is bloody hard even if there is no illusion of marriage. Thinking of said om doing the same is just as hard.

Think carefully and the decision in the basis of your marriage not the om

TDada Sat 26-Jan-13 07:33:12

Hi, wonder how the beau would respond if you said to him " let's cut the emotional crap and have once a week sex, physical affair only". Possible that he really loves you. Also possible that he isn't getting enough at home and/or has wandering eye. Sorry to be so direct.

Also note that it is not unusual to find someone other than DP attractive. Perhaps it would help if you told DP that you are finding someone else attractive. He might up his game.

Final apology for not having read the entire thread.

Best wishes

DiscretionAdvised Sat 26-Jan-13 22:30:38

Tadada. That's what's made me trust the om as he has been the one trying hardest to resist a physical relationship.

It's a good point!

confusionoftheillusion Tue 29-Jan-13 13:34:22

Tdada - are you saying that if OM is up for once a week sex no strings then he clearly has no feelings and if he says "no" to that then he does?

discretion - your advice is spot on. I do need to think about whether I can stay with dh. I haven't even talked to him about how I am feeling about our marriage.

I called relate this morning to find out a bit more about what they offer. I think I could benefit from some counselling alone to try and figure out some of the stuff which is in my head and maybe the two of us as a couple could try it. I don't want to just walk away from my marriage but the strength of feeling for OM is overwhelming. Am I right in assuming this is probably because it's an affair though and not the real world?

perfectstorm your comment about it being a constant process is probably the best answer I've read to "can a good guy cheat on his wife?".

Such a mess. I wish i'd never started this. Maybe that there is my answer....

Charbon Tue 29-Jan-13 13:38:10

Yes. The strength of feeling on both sides is amplified because it is an affair and not real-life. Especially as you haven't had full sex.

So, has there been any contact between you and OM since you finished it?

confusionoftheillusion Tue 29-Jan-13 13:58:45

Yes. There has been some texting and 2 phone calls. Both as bad as each other though he initiated. Obviously I could have just ignored or replied politely saying 'don't contact me' but I didn't so am equally to blame. I now see why people always said affairs were addictive. Especially when you feel like you might be falling in love. We spoke last night and I told him I thought the best thing for us both was to have no contact but he's asked me to think about no contact for a month but with a set date to meet up in a month. He says he can't bear the thought of not seeing me again or knowing when he might. I said I'd think about it but I don't know what the point of that is. If in a month things are better with DH I won't want to see him for fear of undoing the hard work. But equally if I decide I want out of the marriage I might be hopeful about starting something with him, and he, in the meantime might have fixed his. Either way it just seems a bit silly.
Go on then, flame me, I have been weak - again

Virgil Tue 29-Jan-13 14:08:29

Yes a good guy can cheat on his wife.

My DH is a wonderful husband and father. He is supportive, does his full share around the house and he is my best friend. I also still fancy the pants off him. We have been together for 15 years and have two wonderful DCs.

When I met him he was married and he cheated on his wife (and then left her).

Many people who have affairs don't plan for it to happen. It's really not black and white.

Charbon Tue 29-Jan-13 14:09:55

I'm not going to flame you but as you know, that doesn't surprise me. The breaking-up and making-up, angst and hand-wringing is as addictive as the affair itself.

Setting dates into the future is another thing that doesn't work. Knowing that you will be meeting in a month just means that during the preceding 4-5 weeks, you're in a holding position which means there is no movement at all.

The only thing that works is no contact at all, getting some support for the old turkey symptoms while that happens.

Just be clear that all the time you're in contact, the affair is ongoing and nothing will change. You'll continue staying in marriages that could either work or fail, you'll carry on deceiving people and running the risk of it being discovered and you'll remain in a high state of drama and illusion.

Some people do this because they like the drama and romance of it all, but they don't want to do the adult thing and resolve things one way or another.

Charbon Tue 29-Jan-13 14:10:42

cold turkey - not old!!

confusionoftheillusion Tue 29-Jan-13 14:29:45

I definitely don't like the drama at all.
I like him though

confusionoftheillusion Tue 29-Jan-13 14:31:13

virgil - I'm guessing your DH left his wife for you?

Charbon Tue 29-Jan-13 14:40:21

I mentioned upthread that if you got in contact with eachother after you finished things, it would be for selfish reasons and not care or love for the other person.

If you truly cared for eachother as individuals, you would want the turmoil and conflict to end for that person and would respect their need to sort their own lives out.

What's driving this I think is unconsumnated lust - not love.

But you seem to have a need for it to be true love.

If you're that sure that your feelings for one another are love and not lust - are you brave enough to put that to the test?

Charbon Tue 29-Jan-13 14:43:23

BTW - are you running two threads at the moment with different usernames? confused

newNN Tue 29-Jan-13 14:50:42

The thing is OP, both he and you are going to bed with your spouses every night, waking up with them in the morning, kissing them goodbye when you go to work, exchanging 'I love you's' with them, doing all the things that people do when they are in a marriage. You are both behaving as though you have long term plans and futures with your spouses. And at the same time you and OM are both plotting meet ups and texting each other and getting off on all this unfulfilled sexual tension. It's made deceitful, liars of you both.

Could you build a relationship with a man who has looked his wife in the eye every day, kissed her, told her he loves her and who, at the same time, has been plotting to meet up with you?

I've been on the other side of this, as a wife, and I feel physically sick at the thought of my husband doing all this with me and then going off to work, in the shirt that I ironed and meeting up for a good flirt with someone else.

Do I think he's a good person? A difficult question. I know him to be capable of lies and deceit and incredible selfishness. Maybe it's better to know that, than persist in the rose tinted view I used to have. Ours was a 'good' marriage too btw - not without its problems but by no means bad. I'd definitely take what he is telling you about his marriage with a pinch of salt. I think my husband is not a bad person but he was weak and flawed and I deserved so much more than he gave me.

I think that you have to decide about your marriage and act accordingly - not do this thing where you are half in and half out. You are being so unfair to your spouse, who deserves to know what is going on within their own lives.

fluffyraggies Tue 29-Jan-13 15:31:53

If you still genuinely believe you may want to stay in your marriage OP, then rather than unilaterally deciding whether the marriage is dead in the water why not talk to your DH honestly about what's been happening? And face the fall out together.

I'm oversimplifying hugely here and don't have the skill of many other posters to advise you. I'm sorry.

I'm not speaking down to you from the moral high ground at all here, by the way, as i've been in a similar position as you. However one of the differences is i didn't want to save my marriage at all. In your situation - wondering about doing the right thing, and the good thing, well, i just feel your DH should be in the loop by now. Otherwise this is nothing but a messy affair, and morally you will always feel you've done badly by your DH.

Has the OM expressed thoughts about you telling your DH?

This was clumsily worded post, apologies. Not feeling too well.

bestsonever Tue 29-Jan-13 17:09:27

To leave your DH is a decision best made on the state of your marriage as it is, with no distractions from anyone else. You leave because you are with the wrong person, not because someone else may appear better, they often turn out not to be. You can't focus on your feelings about the marriage, and family life you have, whilst still being in contact with OM. If you arrive at the decision that you would rather be a single parent than with your DH, then call time on it. You can't bank on this OM turning out to be all that you want as you just get to see the best bits in an affair, not how the daily grind would be. I doubt a month is long enough.

confusionoftheillusion Tue 29-Jan-13 17:15:39

Hi fluffy - neither of us has talked about us telling our spouses. Though we have both talked about leaving to be together. I think my dh would leave me immediately if he knew what I had done. He would be quite within his rights to. I am finding it so hard to look him in the eye and I know as a person - let alone his wife - I have been shit to him. I am going to stop this thing. I am.

charbon - Your post rang true.i do care about him as an individual so youre right.i have to stop this. I am supposed to call him later to let him know if i can do the "meet up in a month" thing. I will tell him no i can't and that we have to do no contact and then delete his number so I cannot contact him. Then if he truly cares about me hopefully he will do the same. Your advice is always so amazing. (Yes i have got another thread on mn with a different name but not about this.)

I hate this so much. I know it's all my fault so I have nobody but myself to blame.

confusionoftheillusion Tue 29-Jan-13 17:24:07

charbon - when you say "if you're sure your feelings are love and not lust are you brave enough to put them to the test" what do you mean?
Do you mean leaving our respective marriages and giving it a go together?

Charbon Tue 29-Jan-13 17:51:06

No, what I meant was that if this is love and not lust, you will only want the other person to be happy and to do the right thing by themselves. Going back to the original question posed in your thread, for most 'good people' it's important that they do the right thing and can live with themselves and their own actions.

Being a factor in someone's marriage break-up is never an act of selfless love. Whether it's the right thing for a marriage to end or not, there will still be major upheaval for all parties and normally considerable upset for the person who doesn't want the marriage to end and for any children involved. It's therefore especially important to 'good people' that they take a decision of that gravity and import without the influence or coercion of others.

So the test of love is to withdraw from the picture entirely.

Being totally realistic here, sometimes the damage done by an affair is too great to ever repair the marriage, especially if it remains a secret. Many people feel that they are unable to see their partner in the same light ever again and so the marriage either limps along unsatisfactorily or it ends.

However there are some marriages that recover after a secret affair but only if the person having the affair recognises how much the affair itself was causing a marriage to be problematical and how much better it's become without the spectre of the OM/OW. Better still if the person faces up to the personality and character traits that allowed an affair in the first place, stops blaming their marriage and other people - and works on oneself. This is often best achieved in counselling.

If on the other hand it is lust that's driving this and not genuine reciprocated care and concern, one or both of the parties will be putting their needs first and keeping up the contact. IME these are the very people who get cold feet when pressed to leave their marriages, or if they do leave they will repeat the infidelity in the new and subsequent relationships. They also tend to exaggerate their unhappiness at home in order to justify their affairs and feel no guilt about criticising their partners and blaming them for their infidelity.

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