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This is an interesting thread.

I think BS's want to believe that most of the people think like Aristotle or Plato or Kant. Who argued that the key element of ethical thinking is "character" (Aristotle and Plato) or "duty" (Kant). I think the reality is most people think like Machiavelli. Who argued that the key element of ethical thinking was the consequence of the action taken.

I think the vast majority of the people are Machiavellian, but appear to be "Aristotlean". This is because, in general, good consequences come from following one's duty (or laws) in accordance with one's virtues. But there are times when this does not hold true. Times when a person feels they must violate their sense of duty and virtue in order to achieve a good result. The man speeding through traffic, running red lights, to get his injured child to the hospital, has revealed himself to be Machiavellian.

I find it ironic that most people embrace a Machiavellian approach when they are on the good side of its consequences (the child or father in the example above), and despise it when they are on the short side (the guy who got run off the road) of its consequences. But I suppose it has to be that way, else we would have no "certainty" in our life. How could we function if at anytime we could be the victim of someone else's good consequences. So, we pretend that most embrace Aristotle's view and Kant's view. Then when we are the victim of a Machiavellian assualt, we debate the flaws of that individual, so we can once again feel safe. Then we reveal our Machiavellian side saying, it doesn't matter about my moral view on marriage or divorce, doesn't matter what "duty" was created by my vow, if circumstances don't change, I will choose a course of action that leads to a "good" result.

Harley says there is no such thing as unconditional love. I think that is true because their are no Aristotle's or Plato's or Kant's. (I seriously doubt they actually "lived" what they "believed"). Just a bunch of Machiavelli's. BS's and WS's both.

Because of that, I don't think the BS has the moral "high ground." What they have is the judgement "high ground." If one truly believes that they are unloved by their spouse, love and are loved by another, divorce will crush their spouse, they are trapped in a life of suffering, nobody will ever find out, and everyone will be better off, then the majority of fault lies not with the action they took, but with the assessment of their situation. For me, the questions that roll around in my mind are not how could you do this, but how could you think I did not love you? How could you think you loved someone else? How could you think they loved you? How could you think divorce would destroy me? How could think you are trapped or suffering? How could you think I would never find out? How could you think we would be better off? It's poor judgement.

And good judgement is what shields the BS, who's gone for years with out having their EN's met, from an affair. Put them in the exact same situation as their WS, and they will not draw the same conclusions.

If one wants to argue poor judgement is a character flaw, then so be it. But then good luck finding a person with flawless character, because I've known no one who hasn't suffered a case of poor judgement.


Me 43 BH
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Married 20 years, No Kids, 2 Difficult Cats
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Originally Posted by Skald
Everybody is weak about something, or under certain circumstances can/will be. We all face temptation and we all "pass". Until we don't. MB principles are about eliminating 1) Temptation and 2) Circumstances that might allow to us give in to that temptation.

So do I have "weak character"? Yes. Did I before my A? Yes.

That is the point of this thread. Not only do WS or FWS have weake character, we ALL have weak character. This deserves repeating..."We all face temptation and we all "pass". Until we don't. MB principles are about eliminating 1) Temptation and 2) Circumstances that might allow to us give in to that temptation."

MB assumes we have weak character b/c we do (i.e. ANYONE CAN HAVE AN AFFAIR). Knowing we are flawed lets us protect ourselves. Saying I have strong character so I would never do that, could never do that...well, we all know where that leads.


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Originally Posted by rprynne
Because of that, I don't think the BS has the moral "high ground." What they have is the judgement "high ground." If one truly believes that they are unloved by their spouse, love and are loved by another, divorce will crush their spouse, they are trapped in a life of suffering, nobody will ever find out, and everyone will be better off, then the majority of fault lies not with the action they took, but with the assessment of their situation. For me, the questions that roll around in my mind are not how could you do this, but how could you think I did not love you? How could you think you loved someone else? How could you think they loved you? How could you think divorce would destroy me? How could think you are trapped or suffering? How could you think I would never find out? How could you think we would be better off? It's poor judgement.

And good judgement is what shields the BS, who's gone for years with out having their EN's met, from an affair. Put them in the exact same situation as their WS, and they will not draw the same conclusions.

If one wants to argue poor judgement is a character flaw, then so be it. But then good luck finding a person with flawless character, because I've known no one who hasn't suffered a case of poor judgement.

First of all i want to say that i always love reading your posts and secondly i think this is stated to perfection!!!!

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My point is that adultery is a big deal. Yes, we all sin. What is the difference between a person who commits adultery and one who does not? I think it has to do with character, (sticking with moral values no matter what) opportunity (although, in this day and age, who doesn't have the opportunity to commit adultery?), and humility (recognizing that we are capable of falling so avoiding situations that could become tempting becasue we aren't sure we could handle it).

There is a difference between flawless character and the character of a person willing to commit adultery.

I believe in Aristotle's view that virtue is about deciding on a habit and sticking with it. I believe I am Aristotelean and not Machiavellian. My values are set and not subject to the circumstances of how my husband treats me. I may divorce, but I will never remarry because I made a commitment for life.

A priest once told me that his aunt married a guy who became an acoholic, she separated from him, she always considered herself married, she prayed for him, and forty years later he returned to her to die of cihrossis of the liver.

I think that is the truest story I have heard of commitment to marriage. It is not about putting up with whatever the other person dishes out. It is about being bonded to this person but being willing to accept that the other person may make choices which are so terrible that a separation is necessary.

I really like Aristotle's Ethics. It's one of my favorite books. It's helped me to sort out what to do in light of my husband's ongoing display of selfishness. I usually don't like labels, and I regret labeling him selfish or a narcissist. What is more appropriate is to describe his behavior. If he asks for feedback from me, and I give it, he turns it around into being about him. He doesn't address my concerns. Instead, he brings up one of his own. I was in therapy for a few years in the wake of the affair and broken arm, and the therapist said something that still sticks in my mind, "Defensiveness is another form of aggression."

He doesn't try to understand me. I told him this morning that the sink is dripping in the laundry room, and his response was, "All I'm here for is to fix the sink." In my mind, it's another way to put off looking at the sink. During the affair, when we had a baby and a 1 year old, the bathtub needed to be fixed. I waited a year. Looking back, I see it's the same thing. He told me all I did was complain, and so I had to figure out how to bathe a baby in the shower.

Today, I'm wiser. If it doesn't get fixed, I'm calling a plumber. POJA doesn't work in a marriage where the spouse doesn't want to understand you. When you don't care about your spouse, POJA is just a way to get your spouse off your back.

Cherished

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The more and more I think of this, the more I think it has to do with what you do WHEN you exercise bad judgment, a lack of good character or whatever you call it.

I recall a case a LONG time ago, where I was working on a software project and I deleted ALL the users home directories.

I was the system admin, I could have staged a panic of the system and claimed it was a hardware failure.

No, I went to the lead developer and told him to pass the word for folks to keep what they were working on locally, as I had to recover from last nights backups due to my bone-headed move.

Not that I'm any beacon or example of how to act in all circumstances. But I'm comfortable with admitting failures, mistakes and saying sorry when I discover I'm wrong or I learn I've hurt someone.

So I think the difference is first, do you think it's wrong, and obviously some don't or as has been said, they've so deeply buried their conscience that the ends always justify their means. Secondly, for those who do realize it's wrong, do you then stop, AND admit and apologize for hurting your spouse.

That can also be said of the BS. They too, in most cases have hurt the WS. Do they take the affair as justification to continue to hurt the WS, or do they apologize for their failures and commit to the MB program?

I think character is more about what you do when mistakes happen than it's about not making mistakes.

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Cherished my H does the same thing to me all the time, he will ask me about my feelings and then when i tell him he turns it around to himself and does not even respond to the very thing he just asked me.

Just last weekend we were discussing "anxiety" because we are both on medicine for it and we both had very bad "panic attacks" last year mine started in July his started in October.

While we were having these discussions he said that he thought his "anxiety" was worse than mine because HE has been through so much. It was so hard not to just reach out and slap him for that.

I am not saying that he has not been through a lot of guilt because i am sure he has, however it was a self inflicted punishment, "i" did not cause his guilt it came from his choice to have an A.

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Originally Posted by rprynne
Harley says there is no such thing as unconditional love. I think that is true because their are no Aristotle's or Plato's or Kant's. (I seriously doubt they actually "lived" what they "believed"). Just a bunch of Machiavelli's. BS's and WS's both.

Maybe there is no unconditional love for a spouse but I believe there is for a child or a parent. And I think you are overthinking the WS mindset. It seems more like to me that WSs tend to 'Feel' good as ENs are being met and the selfishness of 'Feeling Good' takes over. If one WS here actually went through the thought process that you describe, I hope they speak up. I view it more as thinking with their 'feelings' and not their brain. Notice how stupid WSs are...


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Originally Posted by rprynne
I think BS's want to believe that most of the people think like Aristotle or Plato or Kant. Who argued that the key element of ethical thinking is "character" (Aristotle and Plato) or "duty" (Kant). I think the reality is most people think like Machiavelli. Who argued that the key element of ethical thinking was the consequence of the action taken.

I think the vast majority of the people are Machiavellian, but appear to be "Aristotlean". This is because, in general, good consequences come from following one's duty (or laws) in accordance with one's virtues. But there are times when this does not hold true. Times when a person feels they must violate their sense of duty and virtue in order to achieve a good result. The man speeding through traffic, running red lights, to get his injured child to the hospital, has revealed himself to be Machiavellian.

ITA. Well put.

Although, IMO there are quite a few cases of Unconditional Love in existence. So there is no reason one should not strive for it. (BTW, UL is generally misunderstood. It does not mean extreme self sacrifice.)



"Never forget that your pain means nothing to a WS." ~Mulan

"An ethical man knows it is wrong to cheat on his wife. A moral man will not actually do it." ~ Ducky

WS: They are who they are.

When an eel lunges out
And it bites off your snout
Thats a moray ~DS
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Quote
MB assumes we have weak character b/c we do (i.e. ANYONE CAN HAVE AN AFFAIR).
This is meaningless.

Anyone can rob a bank. Anyone can rape a child. Anyone can mass-murder. Anyone can crate their dog. Anyone can do almost anything they want to do.

But does anyone?

No!

And neither does just anyone commit adultery. It was part of who they were, though latent. It is part of who they will always be and perhaps, but not likely, latent again.

But adultery is not part of everyone. No more so than the worst mass murderer ever lived is part of everyone. Some people’s morals, ethics and character are better than mass murder and they are better than adultery. No apologetics required.




"Never forget that your pain means nothing to a WS." ~Mulan

"An ethical man knows it is wrong to cheat on his wife. A moral man will not actually do it." ~ Ducky

WS: They are who they are.

When an eel lunges out
And it bites off your snout
Thats a moray ~DS
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What is love? Could a child hurt me so much that I don't feel love for that child anymore? Yes, I think so. Same with a parent. Same with a spouse.

I think unconditional commitment is a more appropriate term because it gets at action rather than feeling.

Very few people would separate from an alcoholic spouse and wait forty years for a conversion.

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Originally Posted by Enlightened_Ex
I think character is more about what you do when mistakes happen than it's about not making mistakes.
Well, yes. But this confuses adultery with a mistake. Like CN wrote - his adultery was not a mistake. He admits he wanted it. He consciously chose it in the cold light of day.

And want it they all do. Mistakes are, well, mistakes. Adultery is intentional harm. Different. Intentional calculated (to whatever silly degree) breaking of solemn promises. No mistakes about it.

Adulterers neglecting to think of the likely consequences to themselves? There you may have an argument for a mistake. But not for the choice.




"Never forget that your pain means nothing to a WS." ~Mulan

"An ethical man knows it is wrong to cheat on his wife. A moral man will not actually do it." ~ Ducky

WS: They are who they are.

When an eel lunges out
And it bites off your snout
Thats a moray ~DS
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Aphelion,
I think Harley is making the point that anyone could go down the path where they have fallen in love with someone else and so one thing leads to another and they commit adultery. I certainly have felt capable of it and even talked with my husband about it before we got married. He never thought it would be a problem for him. The result is that I avoided the slightest hint of impropriety and he thought there was nothing wrong with a deepening friendship with another woman. "Pride goeth before the fall."
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Agreed, adultery is more than just a mistake.

Still, that doesn't take away from the point that what someone does after they engage in that behavior that is the most telling.

So if it's a cold, calculated choice and the WS justifies the choice, never acknowledging to those they've hurt how hurtful those choices were, then recovery is unlikely.

However, I would argue that for those who really do end the affairs, and commit to MB, they would say that their decision to engage in the affair WAS a mistake. The word mistake is used by some to minimize a persons blame in choosing a course of action. I.E. it was just a mistake, I'm human after all, let it go... kinda speech.

That's not the context I really speaking about when I use mistake. I mean CATASTROPHIC when I used the word mistake. As in if I had it to do over again, I would not make the same choices. It was a mistake to choose that way.

So I don't think the word mistake is bad. In fact, for those who come out of an affair with a stronger character, I think mistake is one of many words that can be used to describe the decision to have an affair.

So to return to my main point, character matters and character is built. It's more important to examine a spouses character AFTER the affair, than it is to argue about if they had character or not before.

Some did, some didn't. Some had a mature character, some only thought their character was mature. But the most important thing is are they engaged in a program to strengthen their character so they don't repeat the same hurtful behavior in the future.

That's what demonstrates true character.

Like most other things in life, character is seldom a destination, but a journey.

The question is, which direction are you headed?

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Originally Posted by Enlightened_Ex
Like most other things in life, character is seldom a destination, but a journey.

The question is, which direction are you headed?

nice !

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One makes a choice went contemplating an affair. I don't think calling it a mistake is correct. A mistake is me stepping on your toe. Or calling your "Bob" and your name is "Frank". An affiar is a choice. And a poor choice in my opinion.

And Ap. I don't think most people have an affair with the purpose of causing intentional harm. Of course that is the result, but I don't think it was the intent for many of us who made that poor choice. If my sole purpose was to hurt my wife I'm sure I could have thought up any number of nasty things to do. But think what you want. We are all evil. I actually stay up late in the night thinking of things I can do to hurt my wife. . . And I kick puppies too. And pinch babies.


What we think or what we know or what we believe is, in the end, of little consequence. The only consequence is what we do. ~ John Ruskin
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It was a mistake for me to marry my XWW. Some would call it more than a mistake. Fine with me. But it was still a mistake.

One can make a conscious, thought out decision and that decision is STILL a mistake.

Contemplation of a choice doesn't guarantee one will not make a mistake and choose unwisely.

It certainly would not be correct to say an affair is NOT a mistake. I find that to be far more offensive, saying an affair is not a mistake, than calling an affair a mistake.

Again, mistake by no means minimized what an affair is. Just like hurt, the word needs qualification.

Stubbing my toe hurts, being betrayed by my spouse hurts as well. Just like we use the word hurt to describe both is no different than using mistake to describe the choice to have an affair, or to choose to eat too much.

Mistake is not a quantifiable term, so the scope and scale of a mistake requires a separate description.

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I believe my husband when he said he didn't have an affair to cause intentional harm. After the affair was revealed, I asked him if he had considered my feelings, and he said "You weren't relevant to my thoughts."

Brutal but honest. The choice of an affair is thoughtless. I wasn't considered.

He's not thinking about me today, either.

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If you are running with the premise that making a mistake means making a poor choice then I agree with you. Mistake can mean a lot of things.


What we think or what we know or what we believe is, in the end, of little consequence. The only consequence is what we do. ~ John Ruskin
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"I believe my husband when he said he didn't have an affair to cause intentional harm. After the affair was revealed, I asked him if he had considered my feelings, and he said "You weren't relevant to my thoughts."


I think this is true. At least it was in my case. I didn't consider my wife's feelings either.


What we think or what we know or what we believe is, in the end, of little consequence. The only consequence is what we do. ~ John Ruskin
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Originally Posted by Comfortably_Numb
If you are running with the premise that making a mistake means making a poor choice then I agree with you. Mistake can mean a lot of things.

Which is what I've been saying all along. Mistake is not quantifiable. I.E. the term mistake has no unit of measurement. Just like I can say someone is overweight.

That would apply to someone who is 10 pounds overweight or 200 pounds overweight.

Until I add other terms, it's just a concept.

One can make a careless mistake, no thoughts, or one can make a whopper of a mistake and do that after great deliberation.

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