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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. 

newNN Thu 31-Jan-13 15:10:47

It sounds like you and he would be happier going your separate ways. I think it's maybe normal to have times when you fancy each other more than others - children, stressful life events etc can get in the way of sexual feelings, but to never feel attracted to him, does suggest he isn't the one you should be with for the rest of your life. Imo, anyway.

VanderElsken Thu 31-Jan-13 15:43:26

That does sound a tiny bit awful but at the moment that is tied up in your infidelity. It is different from never having felt any physical attraction to him. Has he changed physically in the last four years? What happened four years ago to you in your life?

Liking someone is tremendously important, as is being treated well.
It is pretty unusual to look across a room at anyone and thing, 'phwoar I really fancy them!' at least it is for me. Especially if you see them every day and pick up their socks.

VanderElsken Thu 31-Jan-13 15:50:12

If you truly are in a quandary about this and you truly haven't slept with OM yet and you love your partner, I would strongly consider telling him. This can take all the air of secrecy out of an affair and you will have to admit it and see it for what it really is. If it can outlive that and enter the real world, outside its own little secretive bubble, you may well find you want to leave to explore that relationship.

But sometimes the admitting, once the shock has worn off, will leave you closer to your primary partner, through all the upset and fighting, and not holding back anything anymore. By not telling him the truth, you are strengthening your intimacy with the OM and weakening it with your primary partner, and then wondering why you feel closer to the person you are sharing the most with.

Excellent post VanderE.

Tell your H. I can guarantee that will dispel his 'ambivalence' like a red hot poker up the arse hmm Affair happened, it's fact. Not telling him and trying to revive your marriage will be like trying perform CPR on someone while they are bleeding from a major artery - pointless and messy.

Expose the affair, then try to reconcile. Accept that it may not work.

Charbon Fri 01-Feb-13 18:13:57

I don't know if you are still around OP but I endorse the last few posts about introducing honesty about your affair to the discussions with your husband. I think without it, any attraction and respect you might regain for your husband are doomed.

PaperLantern Fri 01-Feb-13 19:05:57

Can someone please explain to me why on earth we are advising the op to go cold turkey on the OM and not talking more about leaving her "d"h who has hit her?

Sod you betrating his trust. He has completely betrayed your trust by hitting you. You will never forget that when you look at him when he takes even a sip of alcohol or the second he raises his voice to you. If he is a good man he won't respect you for taking him back either.

Regardless of whether things ultimately work out with the om, an exit affair is not the end of the world .DV is.

toffeelolly Fri 01-Feb-13 19:11:05

If he is a dick, what does that make you. pity his wife and pity your husband !

PaperLantern Fri 01-Feb-13 19:12:39

Pity a man who has hit the hit the op, delightful hmm

purpleloosestrife Fri 01-Feb-13 19:20:47

Don't condone any violence, but neither do I condone what OP or her married to another woman "DP" is doing.

Generally,rule of thumb is end the marriage if it is that awful, or work at it and make it better.

Being a shitty cheat is just that. shitty

PaperLantern Fri 01-Feb-13 19:33:38

fine I don't disagree with you.

But why are most of the posts on this thread about whether or not the OM is being a shit or the OP is being a shit. I would actually say ATM what either of them is doing is not the end of tne world and certainly if they both ended their marriages now and got together not the best opening but actually It might work out.

It will *NEVER NEVER NEVER*work out with a man who has hit the op, whether he,s a good man who made a mistake or not. The op's post SCREAM that the dv has killed the relationship, abd yet It a post a few posts above mine there's talk of reconciliation with the "d"h.

What message are we trying to send out? a relationship with violence in is retrievable so long as you as you don't have an affair, cos that's the really shitty bit right hmm

Charbon Fri 01-Feb-13 21:06:12

PaperLantern the OP has not discussed or opened up at all about the nature of the DV concerned; she has only said it was one isolated incident. As I'm sure you realise, DV covers a fairly wide ambit of behaviour and now includes emotional abuse. We get the sense that this was physical violence of some sort, but again without clarification this can range from an angry push or shove to using a weapon or sexual violence.

It is abusive behaviour but an affair is also recognised as being an emotionally abusive act.

When dealing with abusive behaviour of any kind (including a physical incident) and also infidelity, context and content is everything.

DV might look like a black or white issue, but the truth is that there are families and couples all over the world where there has been a single isolated act of physical trespass in their history and the relationship has survived and thrived. I certainly know couples where there has been a hugely regrettable push, shove or slap around the face at one point, but they've got past that and learnt to manage conflict better. I've also known people who've been uncharacteristically violently aggressive when their medication has gone haywire.

Likewise, I've known many couples survive an affair and the abusive nature of them. But like DV, the key to that has been for the unfaithful party to know their triggers and vulnerabilities and work on those to ensure there is no repeat infidelity.

The OP's circumstances seem a world away from a man who is repetitively abusive and violent and a woman who is a repeat philanderer. Hence I think people's posts have recognised those nuances and would have been far more damning of both the DV and the infidelity if the circumstances were otherwise.

AnyFucker Fri 01-Feb-13 22:13:55

PL I agree with you

I have simply advised the OP to leave her husband and said no more, on several occasions now. I do not understand why so much headspace is being employed in overthinking this

OP, I'll say it again

when your H attacked you, he killed your marriage

whatever has happened since is simply it's dying throes, and you are prolonging the agony with your angst about another man

the other man is a symptom, not a cause, of your marriage breakdown

your husband did that when he applied violence towards you, and you are confuscating that with your guilt and your pissing around with another man

leave your husband...all will become clearer

AnyFucker Fri 01-Feb-13 22:16:18

male aggression vs potential infidelity

no contest

charbon, I love you love you love you

but I'm not with you on this one

Bobbybird40 Fri 01-Feb-13 22:50:28

Yeh but didn't the OP say she had already met the other gadge when the DV happened? That muddies the waters re DV killing the marriage.

AnyFucker Fri 01-Feb-13 23:09:33

DV is a deal breaker

whether OM was already in there, or not

dontlaugh Sat 02-Feb-13 00:03:03

Charbon, really?? Your posts are comforting, sensible and always always spot on (I am reading lots of them atm in relation to my own life).
If I only ever took one thing from MN, it's to walk away from DV. Can you really believe DV is not black and white?

confusionoftheillusion Sat 02-Feb-13 00:13:47

I had met the other guy but nothing had happened. The DV took the form of him pushing me and then holding his hands round my neck. I had a thread on here about it before but don't know how to link back. H was drunk and on prescription meds. I don't think he would ever do it again or I wouldnt have come home. ESP with ds but it has still changed something in the way I feel about him. Just as he is not a repeatedly violent man, I am not a serial cheater. However I have cheated and on reflection I believe that to be due to me as a person as much as my feelings to h since the violence. And if I am honest it is also due to OM and my feelings for him. He genuinely means something to me. Of course MNET will scoff at this but he does.

It sounds warped but if I walk because of the one incident of DV I feel so guilty cause my h will never forgive himself. And really I am just as bad for having an affair.

confusionoftheillusion Sat 02-Feb-13 00:16:17

Which I know leads to the conclusion I should tell him. I'm not going to though. I think it's over sad I feel so guilty for my ds

I'm not sure if, and how we could even work at it, or even if we want to. He says he doesn't want to split but he doesn't really seem to care!

Charbon Sat 02-Feb-13 00:52:52

Thanks for the clarity confusion. That other thread that was active this week was surely yours then wasn't it? All the details were identical.

Only you know whether you can't resurrect your feelings for your husband now. It sounds as though you think you cannot. In which case, I think you've got two options. Go to counselling on your own and suspend the decision, while remaining NC with the OM - or bring this to a swift end.

It's anyone's guess why your husband seems ambivalent at the moment, but it's not unusual at all someone to feel extremely ambivalent about a partner when he or she is having an affair. That tends to end as soon as an affair is admitted or discovered, but it doesn't sound like you want to disclose.

Regarding other posters' comments, I mentioned on a thread the other day that I often feel out of step with some of the received wisdom on this site, especially in situations where there are shades of grey. For example, the stock response from some on an infidelity thread is to leave and not forgive, regardless of the circumstances. It's the same with one-off DV, where the circumstances are far from clear-cut and has been committed by a person in extremely unusual circumstances.

As someone who has seen couples work through single episodes of infidelity and low-level DV, I would feel inauthentic and irresponsible joining in with that chorus, when my experiences in life tell me that there are nuances and often other factors at play. I've seen couples stay in a loving marriage when one of them has hit out once because of physical pain, or a meds. clash where their mind was chemically altered.

I must stress that this is completely different to any violence where the only context is long-tolerated abuse that has escalated, or sexual violence of any type. On those occasions, I entirely support the one-strike-and-out philosphy. And I think posters' support for women's choices to leave in those circumstances is magnificent and I've often added my own support to those threads.

Equally I don't blame the OP here at all for feeling that something was irretrievably broken when this violence occurred, especially with the facts that are available now.

But what I'd also say is that it doesn't matter why you want to end your marriage - any reason is enough - and there are evidently more reasons than the DV, some of which are of your own making. The only reason you need though is that you don't want to be in the relationship any longer and that your feelings are not strong enough to stay. That's okay and perhaps you need to give yourself permission for that.

Abitwobblynow Sat 02-Feb-13 06:33:56

Bobbybird, can I tell you as a betrayed wife, Charbon's psycho-babble is VERY helpful to me.

You see, when she talks about the roles in the drama (and my H spouted ALL that shite - and he still hasn't gone), it helps depersonalise something that is intensely painful for me.

So thank you Charbon, and as you were.

PaperLantern Sat 02-Feb-13 10:10:34

Hearing what you're saying re the dv, but stand be my first post.

Having been hit by a good man, It doesn't matter whether you leave him you not he will never forgive himself any way. That's what makes him a good man. He doesn't respect you for staying and having put up with something he himself wouldn't. For this reasons he will feel increasingly ambivalent towards you because feelings of guilt mix in with the love. Because he respects you less It is also more likely to happen again, what has he got to lose? Certainly not you.

That's leaving aside your own feelings (and attempts to minimise what sounds like a very scary assault)

AnyFucker Sat 02-Feb-13 10:19:52

I also admit that my thoughts here are posted with the previous threads OP has posted in mind, as I recognised her from the previous one (and probably the one before too)

So, not too many "shades of grey" for me, in this particular scenario

Abit, I find charbon's posts hugely insightful too. "Psychobabble" it is not, and that is offensive to her.

newNN Sat 02-Feb-13 10:31:28

paperlantern, do you think your comments are true about men who cheat too? That they respect you less for staying with them, when they themselves would have left ( or believe that they would have left. Impossible to say for sure how you will react until it happens. leaving is not as easy as it sounds in theory). I really don't want to think that my husband will respect me less for 'tolerating' his behaviour (tolerating not the right word but ykwim). would hate to think that by staying a person makes repeat behaviour more likely

confusionoftheillusion Sat 02-Feb-13 10:39:55

That is interesting. It hadn't occurred to me that he might respect me less. He did say "I couldn't quite believe you'd forgiven me and everything was back to normal" so I guess it has been on his mind. I just feel terrible for ending it cause of one stupid thing which spiralled. I understand charbons thought that I may have strayed anyway if I didn't fancy dh much but I do think with this guy at the beginning I was thinking "you broke my rules so I'll break yours" as dh has always said cheating would be a deal breaker - but I always said DV would be. Unfortunately somewhere along the way I fell for OM.

It is sad to think how fast things can change in relationships isn't it

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