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Why do they do it? And why do women get involved when they know there are children going to be hurt?

(174 Posts)
InTheRedCorner Tue 09-Jul-13 21:46:23

I just don't understand why anyone would do it to the children.

No one is forced to get involved, why not walk away, not answer the text, reply to the email, respond to the flirty look or comment.

My poor girls are finally asleep but still hicuping and so so sad.

I know 100% that the blame lies solely at his door but I just don't get it from the other females point of view, she knew he had us, she must have realised I had married a wanker but why allow herself to get involved, what about the children?

You may be able to tell that I'm raw and hurting this evening and I may well regret posting this but it's all so fucking lonely and such a waste of my life.

ResNulis Wed 24-Jul-13 10:22:21

Hi Red - just chipping in to say that you are doing amazingly well for someone in this position. Being (age appropriately) honest with your DDs is the best thing you could have done. They will be your strength and motivator I would not have got through without my girls
The road ahead will certainly not be easy, and do be aware that there is an emotional payback for having so much strength at this stage. The journey is a rollercoaster of emotion, even if the decision is made by you and was absolutely the right choice.


OctopusPete8 Wed 24-Jul-13 10:11:04

You're DH betrayed you and made a mockery of his vows, as well as putting you at risk of STI's etc,

But I get the 'How could you knowing he has a family at home' train of thought, I have no sympathy for someone who would willingly take part in an affair.

arequipa Wed 24-Jul-13 10:03:59

"I had to lock him out..."
No you didn't. That made it worse for your children. He did the bad thing but please take responsibility for your reaction and the effect that had on your kids.

Offred Wed 24-Jul-13 07:46:52

But do I really need to point out the very obvious fact that not all affair partners do know, that there is the matter of when did they know if they did know and also the issue mentioned many times before that actually lots of young and naive egotistical girls (normal at that age) just don't understand because they don't have children/serious partners?

Also, I think you have to get over the fact that actually not everybody thinks affairs/fidelity are as important as you do in moral terms. I think I'd be more towards your end of the spectrum but a lot of people don't see it as that important, I know.

I do think though that people who have a long term extreme reaction to infidelity do themselves and their children no favours. It does actually hold you back in your life to put so much emotional energy into a dead relationship. A crap person and their behaviour. Initially it is understandable to have an extreme reaction, I think everybody does, and if there has been abuse then that is what is hard to get over but infidelity in the scale of things doesn't need to be made into such a big deal, unless it is part of the abuse, which in your case I think it was wasnt it?

Wellwobbly Mon 15-Jul-13 10:40:40

I think you need to have a rethink on culpability.

Whilst of course the person most culpable is the person making the choice to cheat, the person making themselves available knowing that person is not available and has commitment to others, carries culpability also.

She is allowing something wrong to go ahead! More than that, she is actively assisting it! He/she is more than just a blow up doll. They are human agents.

Offred Sun 14-Jul-13 13:21:09

I don't think it is logical. It is emotional.

Very obviously normal to react emotionally when immediately emotionally affected. However if we're thinking more objectively about what other people's responsibilities should be to each other you might expect that people will not feel the same sense of duty to or responsibility or even know the terms of another's commitment and by making affair partners responsible I think you extrapolate the responsibility for a marriage further than it is necessary or fair to do.

Again, I'll remind you that I'm coming from a position of having been repeatedly cheated on by my ex and understanding how it feels immediately after to want to hate the OW.

Wellwobbly Sun 14-Jul-13 12:54:00

Sorry Offred if I got the gist of what you said wrong.

However I still disagree with you. An affair partner IS culpable. Of course they are. They are not passive helpless non-adults. They are moral agents as well as the spouse: to get involved with someone you KNOW is married/committed/has responsibilities to others, is to knowingly make yourself to someone who is by definition unavailable, and is to knowingly participate in the emotional, financial and sexual abuse of the unknowing people.

It is so logical and obvious there is a culpability: in this, I do think you intellectualise somewhat. That is my opinion and I own it.

Offred Sun 14-Jul-13 00:51:15

Please don't misquote me wellwobbly.

Where have I said it is no big deal?

I am simply saying I don't think it is fair to extrapolate the responsibility for a marriage vow as far as an affair partner. That's all.

Nothing about hurt.

yetanotherstatistic Sun 14-Jul-13 00:36:41

One of my stbxh's OW was well aware of tbe presence of his family having got to know us socially before embarking on an affair. Don't know how she justified to herself the attraction but it ended badly - karma must have kicked in. The current OW does mean more to him I think but she too has gone into this well aware of the situation and was able to end our relationship. She has yet to discover what he is truly like and when realisation does dawn she will have paid the price.

It is easy to have sympathy for an OW who had no idea that her man was married but to knowingly get involved is despicable . The H is in no way absolved of wrongdoing.

InTheRedCorner Sat 13-Jul-13 19:09:15

Well thank you or taking the time to post. Being a naive chump I have never heard of chump lady, it's right because I do feel a fool for giving him my everything.

That said, we have spent time togeather today and it was easier than I bought it would be but as much as it was nice to have him here with the children I still can't help feeling so dissapointed and hurt by him.

Wellwobbly Sat 13-Jul-13 18:25:36


Musings on Giving a Shit
by CHUMP LADY on JULY 11, 2013
It stands to reason, that if you don’t like someone very much, they can’t hurt you very deeply. There just aren’t that many emotional sunk costs. I suppose some people swan through life quite superficially, never giving very deeply of themselves or committing too much. Nonchalance as armor. Apathy as an insurance policy.

Yet, I don’t think most humans are wired to be that way. We’re wired to connect and bond. And we’re not alone in this either. Scientists have discovered that other animals display empathy and social interdependence. Even a rat will stop and help a fellow rat escape a cage instead of choosing a treat for himself. (Yes, even rats are more altruistic than cheaters.)

But it seems to me that we live in an age of cynicism. It probably began with the David Letterman irony of the 1980s and is now in its halcyon days with reality television, celebrity culture, and the sociopaths on Wall St.

It’s cool to be a narcissist! And there’s a shit load of money to be made. Sure we laugh (ironically, of course) at the Kardashians. But who doesn’t want their own reality TV show? Or youtube channel? Or personal brand?

It’s an era of I got mine and fuck you. It’s in our politics. It’s in our culture. It’s in that stuck up playgroup mommy who won’t ask her kid to get off the swings already. Of course, sometimes all this entitlement comes back and bites us in the ass. Bernie Madoff goes to jail, for instance, and we all tut tut. But then some board of directors approves CEO salary raises for a hundred other Madoff wannabes. Some of us caterwaul, more folks admire the moxie and wonder why they didn’t go into finance.

Narcissists are nothing new and oligarchs have been with us always. But we didn’t have social media to blast their lifestyles in our face constantly and make us want to buy crap. No, the fabulous people in days gone by had the good sense to build their castles far away, hide behind giant hedgerows, and not give interviews. Now, it seems, the more dim-witted among us, (like cheaters) look at those lifestyles and think — yeah, I deserve that. I’ll get mine and fuck you.

It’s not a good time in history to be a chump. Was it ever? Well, it used to be infidelity was considered dangerous and full of tragic consequence. If you were a chump, society understood that you’d be full of rage and might even kill someone. We had “crimes of passion.” I’m not saying go shoot affair partners (we’re all about “meh” here at Chump Lady) — I’m saying that sympathy used to reside with the chump, and outrage was clearly directed at the cheater and the “home wrecker.” We understood that the pain of betrayal drove ordinary people to extremes.

That’s been the conventional wisdom going back through the ages. To the Bible with Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery. To Shakespearean tragedies. Othello weeps and agonizes, before killing Desdemona just on the (wrongful) suspicion that she’s been unfaithful. “Yet she must die, else she’ll betray more men.” Elizabethans understood that to cheat on someone who loved you was to destroy them.

My wife! my wife! what wife? I have no wife.
O insupportable! O heavy hour!
Methinks it should be now a huge eclipse
Of sun and moon, and that the affrighted globe
Should yawn at alteration.

Or check out the old British folk song Matty Groves. Lord Donald’s wife cheats on him with Matty Groves. He finds the couple in bed and tells the naked man to have one of his swords and strike him first, before asking:

“How do you like my feather bed? And how do you like my sheets? And how do you like my lady who lies in your arms asleep?”

Lord Donald kills Matty Groves and when his wife says she enjoyed fucking Matty better than him, he drives a knife through her heart and buries the cheaters together in the same grave. “But bury my lady at the top, for she was of noble kin.”

Or the blues song Frankie and Albert (also known as Frankie and Johnny) — where Frankie shoots her unfaithful lover.

“Boohoo, boohoo, boohoo, Frankie cried, ‘Baby what have I done? I shot the only man that I loved with a Colt 41.’ She shot that man, ’cause he was doing her wrong.”

Today? In our culture? Iago would say to Othello — “Dude, get over it already.” Lord Donald would probably commit murder suicide from the shame. And Frankie and Albert would go to marriage counseling, where the shrink would ask Frankie why she wasn’t meeting Albert’s needs. Maybe she should spice things up things in the bedroom, so he wouldn’t go back to Nelly Bly.

There was a time when we understood that infidelity drove people out of their minds’ with pain. Now it’s a big whatever. Did you get played for a sucker? Well, that’s your fault. You expected too much. What did you do to make them do that? And Get Over It Already!

Maybe you cared too much. Sentimentality is for suckers. Commitment is for chumps. There’s a “new monogamy” now which is really no monogamy at all, because only unsophisticated rubes expect people to keep their promises to them. You fell for that? Did you give too much? Well, that was your choice then, wasn’t it? Surely you didn’t expect reciprocity. Didn’t you have a Plan B? You put all the eggs in that basket? That was sure dumb of you.

My cheater said to me after D-Day, “Don’t be such a Pollyanna. Everybody cheats.”

The problem wasn’t that he cheated. No, the problem was that I didn’t manage my expectations of him properly. How dare I be upset that he didn’t keep his commitments! My heartbreak was just a symptom of my naivety. Of being an unsophisticated Pollyanna.

There isn’t anything wrong with chumps for assuming that their partners would be faithful. There is something terribly wrong, however, with a culture that thinks you should shrug at infidelity, and better yet — be friends with the person who betrayed you. Have Thanksgiving dinners together! Be progressive and evolved! Do it for the kids!

Lord Donald didn’t throw dinner parties with Matty Groves. He told the man who fucked his wife to put his pants on, take his best shot — and then he killed him.

I’m not advocating chump violence. I’m advocating understanding. Chumps are entitled to their grief and anger. The world must recognize once again that infidelity is life altering, tragic and terrifying. That betrayal is not a big shrug. It is fully human to love completely. We are wired to bond and it’s not naive to do so. We are not unsophisticated to expect people to honor their commitments to us. On the contrary, chumps are a better class of people because they DO honor their commitments. Which is a damn sight better than I can say for the narcissists in our culture who take, take, take and want to exhaust every resource for their personal glory.

It is better to give a shit. It is better to be a chump. (An older but wiser chump.)

Wellwobbly Sat 13-Jul-13 18:22:33

'I think it's improbable to have discreet affairs without there being some hurt either.

If anything's 'simplistic' it is that belief.' - I agree with this. This assumes compartmentalisation works. Does it really?

Affairs take planning juggling and thought. They also gender a LOT of ecstatic feel-good sensations.

This drains energy and emotion away from the marriage, and the spouse and family are severely neglected. Look at the text which hurt this wife: blah blah just my thoughts. He was AT HOME, but mentally with Miss Feelgood.

How many devastated threads on here, saying 'I have been depressed'; and then with the help of the MN sleuths, how the depression has been roughly as long as shitbag the other spouse has been otherwise engaged.

No, affairs are very much felt in a marriage, even if not consciously. I really wish that society would again acknowledge how damaging they are. Offred's hip and happening intellectualising 'its no big deal (they are all different)' just does not cut it for me. This stuff really really hurts.

InTheRedCorner Sat 13-Jul-13 13:23:50

Thanks hms. It's an obvious worry about doing the right thing, I can't pretend all day and night that im ok because I'm not, our 5 year old is Totally unaware that anything is wrong but I can't hide it all from the older 2.

hmsvictoria Sat 13-Jul-13 11:59:14

Selba, there's no way lying to a 9-year-old or pretending everything is fine would help her.

IME, Red has done the right thing in giving the age-appropriate truth, because she clearly needed to know.

My DDs were 10 and 12 when the truth about their Dad's deceit came out and there was no way I was going to lie or let anyone else lie to them. It was a hard lesson for them, but they have definitely coped better than they would have with a 'none of your business' response.

Lioninthesun Sat 13-Jul-13 10:38:20

Skimmed the thread so apologies if it has been said already, but I think a lot of OW are younger and don't have kids.This is a bit of a lethal combo as they are naive enough to be lured in by the lying bastard, and selfish enough not to think much other than how special he is making her feel. She may have no concept of kids, or possibly see them as a huge burden she can understand him wanting to be away from.
I hope you feel better OP. Sorry you have been beaten with the shitty stick x

InTheRedCorner Sat 13-Jul-13 10:25:04

Hat else do you suggest? Lie to her? The reason he isn't here is because of lies.

I have given her bare facts, minimal amount and told her everyone deserves the right to feel happy and loved.

No manual or instructions so I'm just doing what feels right, and I know my daughter.

Selba Sat 13-Jul-13 09:17:21

does everyone think its a good idea to tell a nine year old child the details of why their dad is being asked to leave ? I don't .
OP I wish you well in your recovery from what has been a devastating blow to your family .

burberryqueen Sat 13-Jul-13 08:14:44

lol mixxy my dad says that 'don't act the maggot' grin a great expression!

Mixxy Sat 13-Jul-13 00:32:20

Goodness, I'm so provincial blush

I think you and your daughters are wonderful. It sounds like a fantastic mother/DD relationship.b

InTheRedCorner Fri 12-Jul-13 23:38:02

Don't act the maggot?!?! I'm actually laughing out loud now grin

Life has a habit of getting in the way and its all too easy to get caught up in school runs, work, housework, DC bickering day in day out, over and ver again. I haven't taken time to realise what lovely girls they are turning into and how sensible their little heads are even in all of this mess.

Never imagined I would be having an honest conversation with a 9 year old about self respect and how important it is to like yourself and the person your are/decisions you make and how you need to take responsibility for your actions.

Can't believe I've agreed to work on a Saturday hmm <glances at watch>

Mixxy Fri 12-Jul-13 23:25:17

Smart, smart girl. You've done very well with her, haven't you?

I hope that bus comes along soon. grin

Keep it country? God, I don't know how to explain that one. It kind of means 'old school' and 'don't act the maggot'.

InTheRedCorner Fri 12-Jul-13 23:19:22

"Keep it country" you lost me there... grin

I know I shouldn't laugh and i did set DD straight but (she is 9) when I told her (because he didn't/wouldn't) I've found emails on his phone and he had been talking to another women instead of talking to me and that has hurt my feel feelings she said "if I ever meet her she won't last 3 seconds, I'll push her under a bus" shock grin

I explained that he needs to be responsible etc and she came back with "it's not her place to email him when she knows he is married, that's just yucky, she can't be a very nice person can she"

Bless her.

Mixxy Fri 12-Jul-13 23:11:47

You, my lady, are tough as nails.

And I might add, a darn sight classier about all this than I would be able to muster.

Keep it country (as they would say where I'm from!)

InTheRedCorner Fri 12-Jul-13 23:03:25

Yep, called her the day after I forced him to leave. Apparently told her I had read their emails and I wasn't happy at all - forgot to ask if he had told her I'd made him leave, hate the thought of her telling anyone at work. I'm proud that I've managed a week there without anyone asking if I'm ok or me losing it.

I'm not wearing my wedding rings mind, that might start the rumours but I have a few people at work that I KNOW would call me out if they thought something was wrong...

Mixxy Fri 12-Jul-13 22:56:57

And it just proves he contacted her about it! Och! I just don't know.

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