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Joined: Sep 2000
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My dear MB friends,

I have noticed a pattern here lately wherein BS’s make what I consider to be derogatory statements about their WS’s. Many are meant “in jest” where the BS is “joking around,” and some are meant a bit more seriously and intentionally. Statements such as “Oh, *I* would never do that!” or “I could NEVER hurt my kids like that” or “How COULD they?” seem to indicate to me that some BS’s do not realize just how close they are to doing the exact same thing or just how easily most affairs begin.

I’d like to remind everyone that WS’s are humans too, and as humans we ALL make mistakes—that not all WS’s are immoral people of low character, but rather are vulnerable to temptation just like anyone. I’d also like to state categorically that we know the pain that BS’s go through…but we also are here to support WS’s who are truly wrestling with what has happened, and we’re here to encourage them to reconcile their marriages!

With all that said, I’d like to give everyone an example of how an affair starts. Have you ever heard a WS say something like, “I didn’t mean to fall in love. It just happened!” Well, that is what it really seems like. It doesn’t start off as an addictive, intense, physically-pleasurable relationship. It starts SMALL and moves so slowly and so innocently, that IF YOU DO NOT GUARD YOURSELF AND PROTECT YOURSELF AND YOUR SPOUSE, anyone could easily fall into it. Anyone—even Pep! <img src="/ubbt/images/graemlins/pfft.gif" alt="" /> Even ME!! <img src="/ubbt/images/graemlins/pfft.gif" alt="" /> Thankfully, I’m wise in my old age and have learned my own vulnerabilities and have learned how to protect myself and my dear hubby!

Sooo…here’s how affairs begin.

Let’s start with a little background. Jay met Dee at the coffeeshop. Whenever he went in, she seemed to be there, sipping a latte and reading a book. So one day he spoke to her, and they struck up a conversation—and soon he asked her out for a date. They dated for about a year, got engaged, and got married six months later. He had one child from a previous marriage, but this was her first marriage, and together they had two more children. Life seemed good. They had the 2.8 kids and the dog and the white picket fence. Jay worked full-time as manager in the sales department and Dee was an administrative professional 30 hours a week. From all appearances, they were a “normal” “middle class” couple in a good marriage with a happy family.

We all know now how their marriage began slipping…just a little. Jay worked long hours, and Dee missed him. Dee wasn’t as open to sex because she didn’t feel connected to him. The kids and bills required time and there were arguments. In short, EN’s weren’t being met and LB’s were creeping in…but just a little. Neither one thought it was all THAT serious, so they never spoke up. Pretty soon, Jay would come home from work and rather than talking to Dee, he would log onto the computer and play his favorite online game—the one where you get to play a character. At first, Dee was resentful, but then she thought, “Hmmm…maybe we could do it together and I’ll create a character too.” So she did. And at first they would play the game together and it was fun and it did help. But soon, Jay was sort of back to ignoring Dee, and during the afternoon sometimes she’d play on the game just for some fun distraction. The stage was set.

One day, whilst playing, Dee’s character ran into another character that was being chewed up by a monster. Being a helpful, kind person, she stopped to help and the other person said, “Thanks! Want to fellowship?” and they played together all day. They defeated mighty foes all over and joked around on the chat part of the game. Dee enjoyed herself! She even told Jay about this fun person she got to play with that day and how much fun it had been. His response?? “That’s nice honey.” *sigh* The next time she logged on, that other person found Dee again, and they played together again…and had fun again. Pretty soon, they were ARRANGING to meet on the game together to fellowship—“Wanna meet tomorrow and play?” All the while, Dee is thinking, “Wow this is FUN. Someone actually WANTS to spend time with me and seems to enjoy playing with me. Hmmm…I wonder if he’s having as much fun as I am?” And the seed for the affair is planted…but not yet ripened.

A little time went by (a few weeks), and the player in the game asked Dee if she would like to chat in the game’s IM rather than in the general chat area. And the two of them began talking about stuff in their real life as well as game play. They would talk about what they liked and didn’t about the game, what they were working on in the game, what they found frustrating…and sometimes it would leak over a little into real life topics too. They talked a little about where they lived, jobs, and kids…but mostly it was just kidding around and a little playful. All the while, Dee is thinking, “He’s so FUNNY! Not at all like Jay. All he ever does is complain and yell at me about money or how the house isn’t clean enough.” Sure enough, that very night Jay came home and yelled about a charge he had seen on the bank account and in Dee’s head it just confirmed how she felt. The affair seed was growing.

A few more weeks went by, and the next time GameBoy and Dee talked, he asked her for her AIM name. because he has something to send her that he wanted her opinion on…a photo he had take that he thought would be a perfect background for the game. Sounds innocent enough, right? After all, it’s not like they’re talking about PERSONAL stuff! They’re just friends and he wants her opinion! So she gives him her AIM name. All the while, Dee is thinking, “Hey, here’s someone who values me and my opinion. Here’s someone who genuinely cares about me without always wanting sex. I have a TRUE friend!” Pretty soon, they are IM-ing more on AIM than they are on the game…and they IM at different times all day long about various little things. Nothing overtly sexual or “crossing the line”—just chit chat and joking and maybe a little encouragement when one or the other had a fight with their spouse. They began to turn to each other for support and assistance, and they began to take care of each other and look after each other. But there still was not overt sexuality…he was just Dee’s FRIEND. He cared about her like a close big brother—yeah that’s it. There’s nothing wrong with that! And now and then they would flirt just a little, but it was always a joke and he was always a gentleman. Not Jay. He kept pressuring Dee for sex at night, and once, even after she said no he kept going and she had to push him away! It seemed to Dee that Jay didn’t care about her at all! And the seed for the affair had grown even more.

[Pause here—please note that really, so far, Jay has no idea. Now, he may have noticed that at time Dee is a bit more cranky with him, and he might be hearing that-guy-in-the-game’s name come up more often, but he thinks things are “the same as always.” He doesn’t see it coming.]

[Pause #2—please note that at this point, Dee does not see that anything is wrong either. WE may be able to see that she has crossed some lines, due to our extreme wisdom, but from her point of view, it may feel roughly equivalent to the beginning of a crush. Nothing major.]

A few MORE weeks go by, and one day GameBoy has a crisis. He is completely freaking out and on the verge of emotional breakdown. One of his parents has cancer, and he’s ALL upset and crying, and he pours out his heart to Dee. She wants to “be there” for her friend, so she gives him her cell phone number, because she doesn’t want to give him the number at home—Jay and the kids might ask her, “Hey who is that?”—and also this way she carries her cell with her so he can reach her any time in relative privacy. GameBoy’s real name is Gary. Gary has an emotional rollercoaster with his parent’s medical emergency, and Dee is a good friend and is there for him constantly. Her productivity at work goes down—and at home Jay notices that she goes out to talk on her cell phone a lot. Plus there’s a little “lilt” in her phone when she’s on the cell. But Dee just tells him it all in his head. After the crisis, Gary is SO GRATEFUL for all her help and support…he says OUT LOUD what a great person she is and how he couldn’t have made it without her, and she feels like she is valuable. All the while in her head, Dee is thinking, “Oh maybe I shouldn’t be doing this. But Gary is SUCH a good friend and he’s been there for me. I should help him! Plus he really appreciates me! Not like Jay. All he does is complain about every thing” and that very night, Jay and Dee have a fight about how much time she spends on the cell and how much money she spends and how the house isn’t clean anymore. In Dee’s head it just confirms that what she is thinking about Gary is true…and what she is thinking about Jay is too.

As Gary’s crisis subsides, he tells her more and more out loud how much he appreciates her, how she has become a big part of his life, how he couldn’t do it without her…etc. In other words, EN’s are being met left and right. And Dee is daydreaming more and more about what it would be like to be with a guy like Gary instead of a guy like Jay. She would ALWAYS be appreciated. She would always be cared for. She would not be lonely. He would NEVER yell at her and fight with her. It would be such a RELIEF! But she also feels pretty guilty for even thinking like she is. She can’t divorce Jay! She could never do that to her kids! She was brought up that divorce is wrong! Sooo…she wrestles with it all and can’t seem to make up her mind. CLEARLY she should have never married Jay. CLEARLY they are all wrong for each other and Gary is right for her. But what should she do??? She can’t decide.

Right about then, Gary finally says out loud what both of them have been thinking for a long time. He tells Dee that he has feelings for her and he thinks he loves her. All at once she is ECSTATIC and freaked out!! She WANTS Gary—after all, in Dee’s mind he is funny, and enjoys her, and wants her opinion, and cares about her. She doesn’t really want Jay anymore…in a way…after all he still comes home, plops down in front of the PC and leaves his dirty dishes on their room. He NEVER picks up after himself, and he is constantly mad with her about something. Yep…she wants Gary. But…divorce is wrong. But she wants Gary! But divorce is wrong! What to do…what to do????

“Jay—I love you but I’m not in love with you.” The bomb is dropped.


And that, folks, is how affairs begin. Do you see how subtle it is? Do you see how innocent it can appear at first? Do you see how WS’s are not immoral people of low character, but rather usually VULNERABLE people? Can you see how easy it would be for ANYONE to gradually fall into this?? This is an example only, but a fairly typical one, and I am just telling you all so that you can remember that your WS is a human just like you. They made the mistake of falling into the trap of an affair…and they could have chosen to get out of it…but they are not low-lifes or depraved—just HUMAN.

And having read this story—do you see where the vulnerability is? Do you see where YOU might need to protect yourself? Do you see where your own personal weakness might be? I do, and I’ve taken steps to protect myself and my spouse so that I don’t go down the path to an affair that “just happened.”

Your faithful friend,



CJ

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Faithful Wife, thanks

I have tried to put myself in my husband's place and your letter helped. He was an alcoholic and we had other issues that we constantly argued about, I have learned from this and counseling that I was dealing with a passive-aggressive type but did not realize it (sure took me a long time-20yrs) but long story, I finally moved almost 2 yrs ago hoping he would change, but no, Not a drinking PA- so his story is, knew this woman already (she being 40-him 60 at the time) used her sons to do yard work after I moved, dropped them off, hung and around and visited with her (single,very needy with 3 boys and no man) drank and listened to her problems and then "bingo" here is a woman who needs me, not my wife who ****** at me constantly for drinking and this or that and who moved out on me but someone who as you stated makes me feel VALUABLE and I am already VULNERABLE and angry at wife, so I can rationalize all that. Just that I was still hanging onto the marriage and he is telling me he loves me at same time and wants to work on it and I ask "how did you think it would all end when I found out"-of course, I did what I have always done and recognize now with a PA person, I rescued him from his mess and enabled him once again as the rescuer, martyr and now victim. But we are going to counseling and living together again and maybe, just maybe we can begin to understand our behaviors now that we have identified him as pa and me the enabler-due to my own childhood experiences. I cannot excuse his behavior -he made the worst possible choice and it nearly killed me b ut he has quit drinking and a lot of positives are happening.

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FW

I hope everyone reads your post carefully. You just painted a very accurate picture of what happended to me...


Well off to Court, today it is over...


EA Internet DD 2/06, 11/06
PA DD 3/20/07 started in 10/06
WW seperated 2/6/07
plan B 4/16/07
Divorced 7/09/07

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CJ... I think your letter is helpful to understand how some A's begin. I may not agree that all are vulnerable to THIS weakness...we all have our crosses to bear though...but it certainly helps explain how some things begin.
For everyone there is a time when they are at a crossroads with something in their lives. The above scenario to me does speak of a lack of character to have even engaged in the INITIAL conversations with the man...but not everyone will see it that way. What I may consider a lack of character, another may consider something else.
I do not believe for one minute that a person cannot recover their character...I have, after some of the bigger bone headed things in my life. I just think that to allow oneself to slip into an affair does require a lack of character/integrity.
I don't remember which WS put it best back on one of the hotly debated threads lately, but she said that she checked her character at the door the moment she became a WS. I happen to agree with that assessment. That does not mean she continues that way...it just means she was that way for that time.
Just my 2 cents. I thank you for the letter though as it does afford me a glimpse into the mind of some WS.

I have a question for you that is sort of related. There have been many WS that I have seen here that did not fall in love with their AP...it was just a sex thing for some...some have even used prostitutes. Would you consider these circumstances to be a lack of character?

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I agree that all are not vulnerable to this, I know many of my female friends who complain about sex, spend way too much money, complain, etc and yet their husbands do not have affairs, so it is a weakness that some of us fall prey to and some don't. Maybe like any other weakness, eat too much, drink too much, smoke, drugs -whatever, some are vulnerable and others are not. Maybe that is the "why did it happen "question that we are all searching for answers, not why did they do it but "why" are some vulnerable and some are not, lies deep within your character that was shaped before you ever met.

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*sigh*
CJ, you are a really gifted writer.

Of course, I can relate to your open letter, anyone who has endured an emotional affair can.

*sigh*

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CJ--here's how my husband's affair started.

Husband gets a promotion at work.

Husband and I agree he needs a brand spanking new car.

I surprise him with a new laptop computer.

Almost immediately, he lands on adultfriendfinders.com. But he can't find "locals." So someone there directs him to Yahoochat, the Romance section.

And he's off to the races!

THAT's what happened to me. Go figure.

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OH MY GOD...

Change the names...change how Jay and Dee met...

And you have almost perfectly summed up EXACTLY my wife's online EA and the events that led up to it. This is so accurate it left my heart pounding...and we're three years into recovery and doing AWESOME. I've not had something hit me like that in a long time now.

I'll add a little more to it, if you don't mind.

At the point where the two of them begin talking about 'having feelings for each other', she feels guilty about it, but she's also loving it. She does do those comparisons that you'd mentioned...and when she thinks about both 'Gary' and 'Jay' at the same time, she feels like she's slowly falling OUT of love with Jay, and falling INTO love with Gary. She's struggling with understanding how she can love both of them. She's starting to realize she can't do it, so she's attaching more and more to Gary. Her feelings for both men can even start to become intertwined at this point...she's not sure what she's feeling for who now.

At this point, even when she's not 'in game' with Gary, he's all she can think about. Even when she's with Jay, her mind is in game, or its on Gary. Jay begins sensing something wrong at this point...she's getting more and more distant, but he's not sure what the problem is. She'll get those "faraway looks", but just will say that she's relaxing, or 'not thinking about anything'. She realizes that she's infatuated, and she's worried because she knows that Jay's beginning to suspect something...but she also knows that she can't give up her time with Gary. She doesn't know what the 'solution' is to this right now, but she knows that she's happier now than she's been in a long time (in her mind at least). She wants this to last forever.

Then, BANG!!!, d-day hits!!! Either she breaks down and tells Jay everything, or she finds out that Jay had begun to suspect something, and has found a way to track her online conversations with Gary. Or he's caught that cell phone bill, and begun piecing things together. Either way, the whole world comes crashing down on her.


I'll leave it at that point. This is what I've pieced together out of our recovery. Interesting that you chose the computer game forum setting...this is SO common there now, its not even funny!!

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I have heard some people say before that it's never appropriate for a married person to have a close personal friend of the opposite sex. I had never thought much of this opinion, but now I see how dangerous it could be (and unfair to my wife) if I were to delvelop a close, supportive, friendship with another woman.

Thanks for posting this.


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