Well, it’s everywhere, today. Twitter is awash with incredulous remarks about Jesse James and what a selfish, egotistical moron he is. Those are my words, the other words used are pretty unappealing, anyway…love Sandra Bullock, have for a long time, see all of her movies. Funny lady, smart as ****.
My husband had not heard the news, so I filled him in. He was interested, because he likes her, too, so after a while of reading all the tweeting and seeing the question, “Why?” over and over again, I tried to pull up the information I had in my head about why men have affairs.
Since we were having a congenial evening and he had asked about the twitterstream, I went ahead and asked my husband about why men have affairs, since we know it’s not about their wives.
“I don’t know about others, but for me, it was about the ego-stroking,” he said.
So…he wasn’t getting enough attention from me?
“That’s not it. I will say that the minute she admitted that she made a mistake in dumping me (30 years ago,) I began to lose interest.”
Some other conversation ensued, a bit of Q and A, and I concluded,
“What you’re saying is that you didn’t love me enough not to cheat.”
Well, it has been a very, very quiet evening ever since. He said that although he objects to that statement, he can’t really deny it since all evidence of his behavior points to it. Before he went to sleep, if he is sleeping, he told me he is worried that I will never again believe him when he tells me he loves me.
I said something about how love appears to have limits, and he found what the limit was of his love for me. It wasn’t strong enough to carry him over the temptation of a flirty, manipulative operator of a woman…twice. Me? The only difference between him and me is that I have not yet discovered the limit of my love for him. Clearly, love is conditional.
So, now. Now do I try to love him a little less as a hedge? Make plans for the day I may be alone?
It’s not like it hurts any more, as he seems to think it doses. I have already had my heart broken and felt rejection and abandonment. This just explains it.
Hi Lyn —
I met you briefly on Twitter today, which led me to your blog.
I’ve read the entire thing. I’ve never been married, but I have recently been cheated on by a man whom I loved, whom I trusted, whom I had considered marrying.
The thing that strikes me most about your (wonderful, honest) account of your situation is how closely your husband’s behavior mirrors Ex’s behavior. Keeping in mind that we weren’t married, it’s especially astonishing to me how similar their reactions to getting were:
* equating being discovered with “confessing”
* managing to convince themselves (at various points) that they were somehow the wronged party
* promising to do whatever it took to restore trust yet reneging on making any real effort
* continuing to withhold information
* claiming that their infidelity had nothing to do with their primary relationship
The list goes on, actually, but those are the highlights. On this last point, at least, I believe I’ve gained a bit of insight, which gets to the crux of “Why men cheat” — that eternal question! Not that there’s a definitive answer, of course, but I’ve come to realize that with men, there’s always an ego component. It’s not that women’s egos don’t drive us, also, of course, but women rarely have affairs simply for ego-gratification alone. Whereas many men, apparently, do.
And I believe that’s what they mean when they say that their affair had nothing to do with their primary relationship (a statement that I find deeply insulting, by the way). What they mean, I believe, is that it didn’t touch them in any essential way. Flip the coin over, and you get the reason why most men don’t forgive an infidelity: women are frequently unfaithful to fill deep gaps within themselves & their lives, which may involve ego-gratification but is rarely solely about that. Even when we don’t love a man, getting involved with him is still meaningful to us in some way.
Just my two cents, for what it’s worth. I don’t know if you’ll forgive your husband and I certainly don’t know whether he DESERVES your forgiveness or your love. But whatever you decide, I do wish you well.
And I wish you peace, whatever you decide.
Deborah, what a wonderful comment. Thanks so much for your insight and your support. I don;t care if one is married or not…it’s the betrayal of trust of one who loves you. I have also noticed, from what others say, that men always say the same things. I was so bewildered one day, I said, “What is it with men? Do your walletd all come with a card in them with all of these pat responses, becasue you all sound the same!”
This was a moment of truth for my husband, who thinks he is a superior kind of man. Now, he knows he is arrogant and he hated begin compared to, say, my ex-husband. I’ve been cheated on, before…it was decades ago, but, they all say the same things. My husband is no different, so that was a shock, because we thought we were different.
I think you are right on it about the affair not touching them in an essential way. Men and women view affairs differently, for sure. This revelation of yours may be very helpful to us this weekend.
Thanks so much!
Great post. I don’t think it’s that they don’t love the wife and family. I honestly think men have affairs because they can, the opportunity presents it self and they can’t say no. Our therapist tells me at just about every session how different men are from women and how men can have sex with a woman and not care about her at all. He calls it the lizard part of the male brain. I know my husband loves me and I’ve had to accept that he was weak. We are all fallen, just in different ways.
Thank you Writer Vixen- I needed that little nugget of truth.
“What they mean, I believe, is that it didn’t touch them in any essential way.” yes. that is a very true statement.