I do not want to elicit anger from women who might read this nor am I attempting to justify having an affair. It is wrong. However, if healing and growth are really sought by both individuals and by a society that one would hope is interested in helping it's members then, as always, the whole story needs to be considered. That is, both sides.
In my case, a man who had an affair after many years of 'marriage', I did so after years of trying to reach my wife, on her terms, to share the essential basics of what should be the nucleus, the foundation of society. I mean (in addition to the chores of daily life with children) nurturing the intimacy and romance that brought us together in the first place.
Despite exhaustive and varied attempts, I was not being heard. Lists of To-do's exclusively took priority. verbal assaults from her family went unanswered. Ironically, my desperate plea to her for an 'us' were met with incomphrension as though I was asking for something alien and unheard of. It was as though I was speaking a foreign language.
In a word, I was and am alone.
My affair did nothing to alleviate my loneliness. Instead, I am now seen as the bad guy. My older children haven't spoken to me for over two years. I am not looking for sympathy here. My actions have only shifted the focus away from her responsibility to one crucial aspect of the marriage (us as opposed to all the other things she does so well) to me as the lying cheat. She feels as though is a victim - another wounded woman in the growing sorority of innocent players in this pandemic problem.
Healing starts, in my male ( inferior?) opinion, with being honest with one's self. BOTH parties to a marriage have to strive to meet this challenge. I am not justifying having had an affair but perhaps, just perhaps, it is a symptom of the problem. Sadly, it is a sufficiently distracting symptom, that the real problem is even less likely to be addressed. Unless it is, real lasting healing that would make a woman or man whole, is not going to happen.
I agree 100 % with you.. there is a difference in making excuses, and a reason that something happened. I'm female, 45 years, been married for many years, been happy most all of them, BUT i have also had an affair. I did so, after years and years of asking my dear husband to simply change a few of his ways.. telling him that i needed more attention, love and compassion from him-- this other man came into my life over a year ago, and did that..I tkink that if anyone cheats in a marriage, then the marriage has problems. I told and told my husband to help me, to address some issues, cause it was really going to effect me.. he NEVER did address anything.. so hear we are. I think your wife should accept some blame, and realize that she is not as innocent in this as she wants to be... she did things to make you feel like you didn't have much of a partnership, and she made you feel lonely, in my opinion.. there are no excuses, only reasons! i'm sorry for all involved- that includes me and my husband..
Yeah well do you also see how if you would've taken proper steps to leave the marriage first things wouldn't have turned out this way?
Perhaps in a moment of weakness you made a decision to step outside of your marriage and it wasn't even almost worth it, was it? I doubt it since it's caused you heartache with your children.
I believe you completely about what happened with your wife, and also the other poster here about her husband. I'm not trying to downplay what you had to go thru and probably for a long time. It is sad and in these cases there are two to blame, but that doesn't mean it is always the case.
It's too bad that you made the choice you did and are now branded a horrible person, but you truly should've thought that part thru enough to know this is what would happen. Now not only does she not have to be accountable but your children think she's gold and you're evil. That really sucks.
I hope that your children are able to come around. Life is too short. It's really not their place to be so angry with you either. Maybe someday an apology to them will be heard and your lives will intertwine again.
It sounds to me like you are both just looking to blame someone else for your actions. You had other choices, you chose the one that gave you instant gratification.
If your husband or wife refuse to work on an issue that causes you so much pain and sadness then maybe that is not the person you should stay married to. Or; you could have tried some type of marriage counceling to help get your point across. You can have done a number of things without having an affair.
The fact that your kids don't talk to you is sad. What have you done to fix that? You are their father, you owe it to them to appoligize, understand how you made them feel and then appoligize again.
You having an affair is not a symptom of your marriage problems. What was causing your wife to not give you the attention you needed was a symptom. Your affair was just another problem to stack on with the others. You took a problem in your marriage, tried to work on it then gave up and made it even worse. Your wife didn't go outside of your marriage to betray you so you will now have to understand that your mistake is all that is going to matter for a while and the main issue that you had, is even less important then it was before.
I'm thinking it might help you to hear about what I work on with couples who come in for therapy after an infidelity.
First, we need to talk through the infidelity itself. The 'nonoffending' person needs to be able to express their thoughts and feelings with the one who had the affair REALLY listening and getting it. No matter what went on in the marriage before this person needs to understand well enough and be able to tolerate their partner's emotions enough to have empathy (be able to see if from their perspective) and compassion (from a truly caring perspective, wish to alleviate their partner's pain). This does not happen quickly -- and never in one or two conversations. During this conversation, the one who had the affair must take responsibility for betraying the marriage.
Next, the 'offending party' shares what was going on that he or she had an affair. This is not about excusing the affair, but about understanding what led to them betraying their marriage. Through conversation, the one who did not have an affair must come to understand and really get what was going on for their partner. And, they must develop empathy and compassion for their partner.
Through the process, the couple learns to forgive each other. And I mean forgiving (letting go of fighting against and trying to change the past), not forgetting. They learn to work again as a team to try to build a better, happier marriage.
It is never as neat and step-by-step a process as I'm laying it out hear, but that gives you an idea of what it looks like.
All of that said, I want to be clear: While there is generally plenty of blame to share in what caused problems in a relationship, this does not take away from the fact that an affair is a betrayal to the marriage (the person could have resolved the problems in a way that was not a betrayal).
Everyone will naturally look for ways in which to justify their actions, and although you both feel your needs were not met I agree with naggingwife74 that you chose the way that will give you instant gratification.
I will be the first one to admit that in my past marriage I neglected my husbands needs, to some extent. He wanted more passion, more sex, and another kid. But sometimes you lack the motivation to perform and take care of your partners demands. It works both ways, and everybody needs to feel loved. The grass is always greener where you water it and I believe that in this rushed society there is not enough time to sit and talk.
For those that have been unfaithful, the damage is done. You can go to therapy and talk about your issues, and hopefully work it out if you're trully devoted to your relationship. There have been marriages that have gotten past that.
There is no way to let somebody down "easy" when they're trying to tell you your relationship is not good anymore. But it certainly hurts less than having to deal with a betrayal from the person that vowed to be with you forever.
I hope your wife is willing to work through this as I suspect she is (you don't really say). Especially if the affair was short lived, you no longer have a relationship with the other woman, and you admitted that you've made a mistake. That, however, will not erase the fact that you betrayed the ones you were supposed to protect the most and unfortunately will always hang above your head. Seek counseling together and show your wife you love her. I'm sure that along with that To-Do list, she has a list of needs piling up herself but is too busy with other things to bring it to your attention.
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