Trish asked these questions in comments.
My wife also asked the same “why” and “how could you” questions. I don’t know that you’ll ever get a “satisfactory answer,” because there is no answer that will make you say, “Oh, OK – I get it now.” Every situation has a different and dynamic mix of factors that contribute to the weakness which allows a cheater to suppress their conscience and silence the warning bells. The cheater essentially rationalizes away the taboos because the cheating brings a sense of power, excitement, control, or several other very powerful emotions.
In my case, yes, the guilt DID eat me alive. Although it wasn’t quite enough to make me totally break it off, it did restrain me significantly, to the point that I passed up numerous opportunities to meet the other woman. But that’s just my experience, I can’t speak for what YOUR guy was thinking.
How does a person get to the place where they can be intimate with someone else? That barrier gets broken down somehow; again, every person has their own unique mix of factors. So much of popular culture, media and pornography celebrate the pursuit of sexual pleasure, with few moral restraints. I’m sure I’ve been affected by that. Also, the other woman and I were not strangers; we lost our virginity together 35 years ago. That’s a powerful connection which contributed to the barrier getting broken down easily.
As my wife and I continue to heal after the affair, I do continually make the choice NOT to cheat. That’s pretty easy to do when you don’t have opportunity, so I guess the important thing is to make sure you stay out of situations where opportunity might arise. In my case, that means absolutely NO contact of any kind with the other woman. And, putting absolutely ALL of my energy into maintaining my relationship with my wife.
I appreciate your response ( I’m Trish ), and I wanted to thank you for trying to answer my questions. I think you are right, in that there will probably never be an answer that is truly satisfactory, that really helps me to ‘get it’. Because of all the questions I have had, the ‘why’ and the ‘how could you’ are the 2 that continually come back to haunt me. Maybe I feel like having a clear understanding would give me some kind of control over the situation, so it would never happen again. That probably sounds crazy. My husband still says that he doesn’t really know how it even got to that point, and looking back he is ashamed and disgusted with himself. He knows now that one of his issues were poor boundaries with members of the opposite sex, as well as years of a porn addiction having contributed to the way he previously viewed and thought about women and sex. He knows nothing excuses what he did, but it helps explain somewhat how he became vulnerable to having an affair.
But I guess even if he gave me an answer that explained everything fully and it all somehow made sense…would it change much of anything? No, probably not. Because he can’t erase what he did, as much as I wish that were possible. Nothing is going to change the fact that dealing with adultery HURTS. It definitely helps the healing process when the cheating spouse is remorseful, repentant, and willing to do whatever it takes to repair the marriage and rebuild trust. But the damage has been done. I now view our life together in parts – before the affair, during, and after. Everything that has happened falls into that timeline somewhere. When I think about other things that were good during the time the affair occurred, it almost taints those things because of what I know now. Does that make sense? It just hurts. We have good days and bad days like anyone else, but every single day, in some way or another, I am reminded of the affair or it crosses my mind. And it grieves me wondering why, at the time of the affair, my husband was willing to risk everything for meaningless sex…why did he not stop to consider the potential damage he was about to cause? I can’t wrap my head around it. Maybe I can’t make sense of it because the whole thing really made absolutely no sense…
Anyhow, thank you for responding to my questions, and being so willing to share your experiences and what you have gone through. It really is helpful and much appreciated.
i feel exactly as you do. How? How? …I cant wrap my head around it. My husband is also very very remorseful and full of disgust for himself…… I cant really look at him. its so miserable to love someone that you are disgusted by….this is an awful horrible existence. I’ve cried more over this than the death of my parents.
You speak in passive voice about “barriers being broken down”. This was not something that “happened” to you. You chose to be unfaithful and you did many things on purpose to make it happen. Just be honest. Now you consciously avoid being unfaithful. If you really loved your wife then being faithful to her wouldnt be something you had to work at and you wouldnt have to AVOID temptations…because there wouldnt be any.