Warning Signs of Affair Vulnerability

  • Unexplained discontent with your spouse
  • Feelings of being trapped in your marriage
  • An overwhelming sense that your needs are not being met
  • A desire to be away from your spouse
  • A reluctance to spend time at home
  • Fantasies about being married to someone else
  • Comparing your marriage to other marriages
  • Attraction to someone of the opposite sex
  • A constant preoccupation with  someone else
  • An unhealthy attachment to a coworker, friend or acquaintance of the opposite sex

The above warning signs come from this article.  Yep, Allie had all of those. Instead of coming to me and conversing, she had an affair. If your wife is in a place like this, do something. It won’t end well.

“I don’t want to think about it”

Whenever I mention something about the affair Allie and Mark had, she will often reply, “I don’t want to think about it. I don’t want my mind to go there.” For me, that would be a virtual impossibility. I can remember pretty vivid details about most sexual encounters I had with different women…whether I think about it or not. The details are there. They will always be there.

Hoovering makes you question yourself

I am really tired of getting cheated on. It’s exhausting. It is emotionally draining, so damaging and destroys everything you might think you have in a marriage. It exposes the illusion that you both love each other deeply enough to be faithful.

Infidelity is by far the WORST thing that I have ever gone through. When Allie had her first affair six years ago, it took me nearly five years to get over the pain, betrayal and deception. I forgave her pretty quickly, but then spent years cycling back through the story in my head. It took a LONG time to shake those thoughts and get it outta my head.

But why did I forgive her the first time? Great question! When I caught Allie in 2012, she was almost instantly remorseful. She told me what a mistake she’d made and how she would never do that again. Here are just a few of the lines she said back then.

  • I made a huge mistake
  • I wanted you all along
  • I was confused
  • I didn’t see it coming
  • I wasn’t looking for it
  • I will never do that again, it hurts too much
  • I am a different person
  • This has changed me
  • God has redeemed me
  • I would tell you if I was ever tempted like that again
  • I really wanted your attention
  • You’re the love of my life
  • I am so madly in love with you

So the love of my life was saying all the right things. She was doing all the right things. She was remorseful and so apologetic. I remember one night when she washed my feet as a symbolic way to say that as husband and wife, we were serving one another.

You can imagine that as a hurt spouse all of this sounds pretty good. I don’t have to lose my marriage. My five- and six-year old sons wouldn’t have to experience divorced parents. And our life could move on as “normal.”

What I didn’t realize (and she may not either) is that she was Hoovering me. (read more about Hoovering here) Hoovering is named after the Hoover vacuum cleaner and is a technique used by a narcissist to suck you back in. Like a vacuum, the person aims and the method sucks the betrayed spouse back. It is often used with pushing methods like “gaslighting” to make sure the narcissistic supply stays in compliance. Compliance is literally the only thing the narc wants out of relationship.

Narcs have a pathological fear of being insignificant, alone or worthless. Allie has literally said those words to me. Sentences like these:

  • “I am worth fighting for”
  • “I don’t want you to be alone” She projects this on me but what she’s saying is that she is scared to be alone
  • “God says I am worthy.”

While all of that may be true, it is so damn hard for the betrayed spouse to believe anymore. You see a person can screw up so badly that another person really has to evaluate truth in their own lives.

That’s where I am. Allie went on to have two more affairs starting about August 2017. One was with her boss Derek. He owns the company she works for and Allie contends that they only made out 10 times or so and didn’t have sex or oral. I am not so sure.  But what does it matter anyway? The other affair was from about January 2018 – March 2018. (our anniversary was March 4th and we celebrated 18 years right in the middle of her affair. Of course I didn’t know about it.) That second affair was with a married man named Mark who has four children. Mark is now officially divorced.

We are now about six months past the discovery of affair #3 (Mark) and a few weeks past Allie’s confession of Affair # 2 (Derek). Hard to keep up with ’em all isn’t it?

Allie is back at the Hoovering with me. She says stuff like this now:

She also calls me her “person” all the time. Constantly. She says that she is madly in love with me. And, as you read in her text above, she is deeply in love with me and very broken over the damage she’s done.

To the outside eye, counselors, friends, church leaders, etc, this would be a sign that she’s changed and wants to work on the marriage. Many will tell me that I should stay and fight and heal from the wounds. Many even subtly make me feel guilty for “giving up.”

Here’s a great place for a meme:

This picture says it all. A broken heart is broken like this plate. And no matter how sorry someone is, how apologetic they are, how deeply they love, or how they’ve changed they still are the ones who broke it through infidelity.

It’s easy to be the cheater in this. They get to cheat and then work hard to convince the spouse to stay. It’s almost like a conquest game for them. But to us on the other side, we pick up the fucking pieces of ourselves and try to function as a plate again. We try to mend the cracks, glue ourselves back together. All while being made to feel guilty that we might not be making the right choice by leaving.

Cheating, infidelity, betrayal, deception, Hooving, and gas lighting are all abuse. Period. They don’t leave physical bruises that I can take pictures of and post all over Facebook, but they damage the shit out of people on the inside.

If you’re being abused like this, get angry and stop taking it. Move out. Get free. Get healed. You are the one who was faithful and you are the one worth fighting for. Remember, they gave up on you (and your kids) and now they’re trying to convince you that you’re crazy?  How fucked up is that?

Who is the other woman?

So, I am married to the “other woman.” My wife Allie had three affairs; two with married men. The most recent married man, Mark, is no longer married. Carrie, Mark’s ex,  divorced him.

I think about this part of her affairs quite often. Ran upon this one day on FB and thought I would share it. It speaks volumes. It works in reverse as well for the betrayed husband. (me)

The Other Woman

The betrayed wife, after discovering an affair, takes such a hit to her self-esteem, and she questions what it was about the other woman that was so attractive to her husband. Was she sexier? Was she better, somehow? Why did the other woman get the best parts, when she was left with the worst of her …wayward husband? The truth is, that is not how this works. She is not better, or more attractive. She does not get the best parts of the husband.

What’s attractive about the other woman is that they are the sickest, the weakest, the most injured of the pack. The insecure wayward husband, wanting to feel strong and powerful, scans the herd for the easiest to take down. The self assured, the strong, the healthy will not do as those women want nothing to do with a married man.

The wayward husband, needy and looking for someone to boost his ego, must look for someone beneath him, someone who will look up to him, someone who will make him feel superior, if only temporarily. What better way for an insecure person to feel powerful, and admired, than to pick the least of the bunch? The fact is … they always trade down.

If she happens to be prettier, or thinner – it’s just pure luck that the wrapping is worth more than the gift inside. What’s inside, is no match for you, the faithful wife. You’re beautiful, and strong and probably the mother of his children. The truth is, the other woman could be anyone, anyone slow enough to be caught and willing to accept what little that wayward husband offers to them.

She accepts the very worst parts of the wayward husband; the liar, the cheater, the deceiver, the broken man. His behavior is lower than low, but that’s okay with her. She accepts trashy behavior, because she is trash and has no conscience. She has no self-esteem because she knows her value … her value as the weakest, the most injured of the herd.

She accepts his cheating ways and lowlife behavior because she knows her place in the pack – and it’s at the end of the row. Bringing up the rear, it’s just a matter of time before someone singles her out, and uses her for his own selfish reasons in his quest to be admired.

So what happens when we catch him with her? Most often he leaves her where he found her, at the end of the row, at the back of the pack – even weaker and more injured than when he found her. She’s worse for the wear. In the end, it is her self-esteem that is eroded, not the betrayed spouses’. After all, she wasn’t able to keep him even considering he was in a “bad” marriage to a “unloving wife”.

Because isn’t that the way it always is? How pathetic that she’s given the answer to the test, gave it her all, and she still failed? Self-esteem erosion 101.

Retake your position at the front of the pack, betrayed wife. More often than not, it’s you he’s fighting for; it’s you he’s sorry for; it’s you he’s trying to be a better man for. Regain your strength. Retake your rightful place.

Betrayal hurts, I know. Boy, do I know. But remember, when they find someone weak enough to have an affair with, they always affair down. The other woman had to be broken deep inside in order to crawl in bed with a married man and accept your leftovers instead of being strong enough to find an unattached man on her own.

She had to be so broken to not care about you, the faithful wife, the children who would be wounded and all the lives destroyed by her actions and participation… and I bet she will not accept any responsibility for those actions. She will hold her hands up in false innocence when the curtain is pulled back to reveal the disgusting acts she committed against your family.

Betrayed wife, hold your head high. YOU were strong enough to remain faithful and love a man who used your trust for his own selfish desires. He has devastated your life, but you can end the pain you are feeling. Use the strength inside you to pick up the pieces and begin living again.

And if you are the rare gem who has decided to give your wayward husband the precious gift of a second chance, I applaud you. YOU are invincible in your strength and courage. Take a deep breath, dry your tears for the millionth time and carry on, my dear. Because nothing can keep you down for long.

Who we seek out

In my continued healing process, I am reading a book called “Psychopath Free” It is an absolutely amazing book and I have underlined the vast majority of it as I am reading. The amount of similarities to Allie can’t be overstated. She exhibits 90% of the traits described by the author. I recommend it for any man who’s been cheated on. It helps explain the narcissist, sociopath and other toxic people. Cheaters almost always exhibit these traits.

“Men marry women with the hope they will never change. Women marry men with the hope they will change. Invariably they are both disappointed.”

Here are a few more things I picked up from my reading in other places. I thought I would share them with you men. It is from a book on alcoholics. But some/much of it pertains to attention seeking, cheating wives.

  • We became approval seekers and lost our identity in the process.
  • We are frightened by angry people and any personal criticism.
  • We either become alcoholics, marry them or both, or find another compulsive personality such as a workaholic to fulfill our sick abandonment needs.
  • We live life from the viewpoint of victims and we are attracted by that weakness in our love and friendship relationships.
  • We have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility and it is easier for us to be concerned with others rather than ourselves; this enables us not to look too closely at our own faults, etc.
  • We get guilt feelings when we stand up for ourselves instead of giving in to others.
  • We became addicted to excitement.
  • We confuse love and pity and tend to “love” people we can “pity” and “rescue.”
  • We have “stuffed” our feelings from our traumatic childhoods and have lost the ability to feel or express our feelings because it hurts so much (denial).
  • We judge ourselves harshly and have a very low sense of self-esteem.
  • We are dependent personalities who are terrified of abandonment and will do anything to hold on to a relationship in order not to experience painful abandonment feelings, which we received from living with sick people who were never there emotionally for us.
  • Alcoholism is a family disease, and we became para-alcoholics and took on the characteristics of that disease even though we did not pick up the drink.
    Para-alcoholics are reactors rather than actors.

You’re not responsible for her crazy

Here’s a couple of statements I see quite often. (paraphrasing)

  • “I did this, so she cheated on me.”
  • “She is threatening to commit suicide if I leave her”
  • “She said she will become super promiscuous if we divorce”

Learn this now!  YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR HER CRAZY BEHAVIORS. I don’t care how convincing of an argument she makes, or how much she blames you, or even if you did anything wrong to her. You’re not responsible for another person’s behaviors.

It took me a bit to learn this. My ex, as any of the readers know, had multiple affairs. She blames me quite often for her behaviors. She would play the victim card, assigning blame to me for what she was doing. She is either a victim or a hero in her own mind, but NEVER takes responsibility for her own destructive behaviors. She will constantly take credit for her “good behaviors” saying things like “I am becoming a better person” or “I am working on me.”

At any rate, know that you’re responsible for what you do and she is responsible for what she does. Period.