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

(299 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. 

Beamur Tue 22-Jan-13 17:05:30

Charbon speaks a lot of sense.
Sometimes relationships 'overlap' and it works out ok in the end, sometimes not...

Kaykat Tue 22-Jan-13 17:10:06

Why don't you ask his wife if she think you are such a good person?

I feel so sorry for that poor lady, and for your DH and DCs, they don't deserve this.

ironhorse Tue 22-Jan-13 17:12:46

its interesting that you think hes a dick because hes cheating on his wife but you dont label yourself a dick because your cheating on your hubby? you also say you think hes wonderful - id hate to know what you thought of someone who you didnt think was wonderful. you ask if there is ever a time when a decenet man has an affair - turn it round and ask if there is ever a time when a decent woman would have an affair? ive always thought woman who are the bit on the side are always tarts or slappers.

why are you different from him in that your a good person in a difficult situation but hes a dick - could that not be him too?

if your unhappy in your marriage then leave your OH and your kids, if not leave the other man, simple really.

confusionoftheillusion Tue 22-Jan-13 17:14:24

All really useful posts - thanks, charbon especially I recognise what is going on in what you post. OM does make me feel amazing which my husband does not, so yes, it may be more about the feeling I get rather than actually him as a person. There is also a physical attraction (obviously) which I just don't feel for my husband, despite trying to for some time now. Ditto your post about both partners not having equally dead marriages. His sounds a hell of a lot worse than mine (though who knows if he's telling me the truth).

justarandomguy - thanks for your post, interesting. If you have a good marriage why are you having an affair? And what have you told our OW about the marriage? I'm guessing you haven't told her its good!

NotADragonOfSoup Tue 22-Jan-13 17:16:10

To answer the thread title, no they can't. A good person will finish one relationship before starting on another, regardless of gender. Only wankers cheat.

However, since you both are cheating on your spouses you sound ideally matched from a moral point of view so I don't understand why you are asking.

confusionoftheillusion Tue 22-Jan-13 17:18:52

ironhorse I do think I'm a dick for what I am doing to my husband - I guess my point (maybe irrelevant) is that he doesn't seem to wrestle with it like I do. If I'm completely honest I think we are both good people (but then I would say that wouldn't I)
I also always thought that women who were bits on the side were tarts or slippers but it turns out you really can't judge someone till you've walked a mile in their shoes. I never in a billion years thought I would be in this situation but I guess a cocktail of circumstance/chemistry/personal weakness have brought me here.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 22-Jan-13 17:26:24

justarandomguy see OP''s post at 15:20:26 they do have young DCs hth.

Charbon Tue 22-Jan-13 17:29:53

I wouldn't flame you randomguy about the 'good marriage' bit. It is an extraordinary myth that affairs only occur when marriages are miserable and dissatisfying. Or that the people having affairs are noticeably 'bad eggs'. I also find it tiresome when married women having affairs are told that their married lover is 'a lying dick' when in fact he is doing nothing different to the OP.

In truth most people are vulnerable to flattery and ego boosts and it means precisely nothing about their sanctioned relationships. 'Good' marriages peak, trough and flatline occasionally, depending on competing responsibilities and pressures. All 'real' relationships are like that, apart from in romcoms.

The mistake people make is thinking that a new person or new relationship will be any different, or that they won't ever be vulnerable again to that same flattery and ego-boosting attention.

It shouldn't surprise me of course, but what defeats logic when two lovers are complaining to eachother about their marriages is that their spouses will have their own grievances and dissatisfactions and so often, they actually have more to complain about than the ones who are having an affair. People in affairs so often exaggerate minor grievances to justify their actions and also to 'mirror' their lover's complaints. I often think if people in affairs could be a fly on the wall for an average week in their lovers' homes, they would gain a very different perception of how 'bad' these other marriages - and spouses - really are.

confusionoftheillusion Tue 22-Jan-13 17:37:22

charbon you talk much sense. I often wonder whether things are as bad as he says they are at his place. I haven't talked too much about my marriage - my marriage itself is actually fine in that it functions, we get on, we have a giggle but there is no sexual attraction (on my side) so it is fair to say that perhaps if it wasn't this guy then it would have been someone else. Although ever since the first time I met this guy I felt attracted to him. Weird really as he's less "handsome" than dh, but I was just intensely attracted to him. God I sound like a twat.

Maybe it is just that at the time I met him I was vulnerable to this. Looking back and knowing what i know now, he definitely was vulnerable given the state of his marriage.

Charbon Tue 22-Jan-13 17:39:19


If you've always thought that men who had affairs were 'arseholes driven by their dicks' and women who slept with them were 'tarts and slappers' then no wonder you're conflicted. People are not one-dimensional sexual stereotypes. It might surprise you then to know that just as many women in 'good' marriages have affairs as men in 'good' marriages but that because women are socialised differently to men about sex, more unfaithful women than unfaithful men blame their marriages for their affairs because they find it too hard to admit that they are driven by lust just as much as men.

You're letting yourself far too much off the hook here by inferring that this just happened and you've suddenly found yourself in this situation. You chose for this to happen, because there are aspects of your personality that you possibly don't want to confront.

sassy34264 Tue 22-Jan-13 17:51:00

I read something interesting a few weeks back (not on here). A woman was commenting on people who leave their spouse for the ow/om.

She said, 'if people realised that the thing they were running too, would end up the thing they ran from, they may think twice.'

Made sense to me. As chabon says, peaks, troughs and flatlines are in all relationships and if you are the kind of person who prefers to bail, then when the next relationship has the same troubles you will bail again. Goes some way to explaining why such a high percentage of second marriages fail i think.

sassy34264 Tue 22-Jan-13 17:51:37

sorry charbon

sassy34264 Tue 22-Jan-13 17:55:08

By the way, i'm not talking about people who leave marriages because of violence and abuse or if they have discovered an infidelty.

I just mean run of the mill, it's got stale, dull, etc.

GirlOutNumbered Tue 22-Jan-13 18:02:37

My mum had an affair 20 years ago and left my father for him. They are still married and he is the most wonderful man, who I am proud to have as a step father.

Sometimes these things happen and it really is because they married the wrong person and do meet their soul mate.

Charbon Tue 22-Jan-13 18:11:04

Looking back and knowing what i know now, he definitely was vulnerable given the state of his marriage.

No, not definitely at all.

People are 'vulnerable' because of all sorts of reasons. You'd be amazed how many other factors influence the timing of affairs.

Sometimes it is just plain and simple opportunity i.e. someone was there and there would have been no affair at all if the other person hadn't shown an interest.

Sometimes it's because of an external event, like a bereavement, change in appearance (e.g weight loss/weight gain/new gym habit), or a bad time is being had in some other aspect of life such as work, friendships, with kids or the extended family and the affair looks like an escape.

Anyone who tells you that they wouldn't have had an affair if their marriage had been happy isn't being honest with either themselves or you. In many cases people just don't know that because either the opportunity hasn't arisen or the person offering it didn't attract. But even if they can recall other realistic opportunities that were knocked back because in their view their relationships were happier then, what you'll often find is that life in general was more satisfying then too i.e when work was more fun, kids were more manageable or hadn't yet arrived, they were fitter and more secure about their appearance.

It's always important to look at other factors in people's lives and not just their romantic relationships.

houseelfdobby Tue 22-Jan-13 18:15:09

girloutnumbered how old were you at the time?

GirlOutNumbered Tue 22-Jan-13 18:16:32

I was 14 when Dad threw mum out. I chose to go with mum.

justarandomguy Tue 22-Jan-13 18:25:12

@confusionoftheillusion - we don't really discuss the state of our marriages. I don't think either of us can blame the situation on a bad marriage.

@Charbon - I don't know if you have a counselling background or are just worldly wise but your advice is always well balanced and thought out, thanks for your thoughts.

JumpingJackSprat Tue 22-Jan-13 18:27:37

you will never be able to trust him.

confusionoftheillusion Tue 22-Jan-13 19:04:00

Right again charbon - there are aspects of my personality that I don't want to confront... And in my head I have used my husbands DV (one isolated incident) as an excuse for me to break a vow too. I know this is not healthy and is very very immature of me. Given what you've said there are things that OM has said which also make him vulnerable - and me I guess. God, why couldn't I have heard all your posts before this stupid thing started!

@justarandomguy - do you want to end your affair? Do you know how you ended up in it? Or did it just happen and spiral?

girloutnumberd - thanks for your point of view. I hope your ddad found someone too.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Tue 22-Jan-13 19:30:34

This is the point where you tell us more about the DV in your marriage, confusion.

wrinklyraisin Tue 22-Jan-13 19:58:27

You might not be bad people but you are choosing to act very badly when there are alternatives like divorcing your current spouses in order to free yourselves up to be together if thats what you both want. There's no decent excuse for prolonged (or any kind of) cheating, really, if you want to continue what you're doing then you're destroying your character in the eyes of everyone around you.

Charbon Tue 22-Jan-13 20:05:46

I don't want to jump to any conclusions about the DV you've now mentioned. You say it was one isolated incident, but what form did it take? Did this happen before you first met the other man, for you to say it was a factor?

I think this is irrelevant to the affair in any case, although it might be relevant to your marriage.

The best advice I can give you is for you to acknowledge that it's impossible to make any rational decisions about your marriage while you are having an affair. And the same advice applies to the OM.

How easy would it be practically to end the affair? Do you work with him and is contact necessary?

confusionoftheillusion Wed 23-Jan-13 07:33:43

The DV was basically that after a massive row when we were both drunk my husband attacked me. This was after I'd met the OM but before anything had happened. Nothing has happened violently since. I threw him out for a week and then let him come home, we talked, he was mortified and he hasn't said so much as a cross word since....

I think it has had much more of a lasting impact on me than him though.

charbon you are right and I know on every level I have to end it with OM. OR at least put it on hold until such time as we are free to date like 'normal' people. Ending it won't be hard as we both know it's wrong. I have ended it once, well clearly not very well. It will be the no contact bit afterwards. We don't work together and there is no reason to see each other so if I could just delete his number then I would have no way of reaching him anyway...

Abitwobblynow Wed 23-Jan-13 07:44:47

The ending and coming back together again is what sustains the affair. There is always the star-crossed lovers dynamic 'we tried to end it but...(it is bigger than both of us)' How else do you keep the fantasy going? Prolonged periods of contact means you get to 'know' the person, which is not what affairs are about.

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