How badly we crave what we don’t really have…the allure of our lovers

I am always astonished by my mom’s insightfulness.  We were speaking recently about how desire inevitably ebbs and flows in long term relationships.  During the conversation I mentioned that in my relationship with my ex-boyfriend the physical desire for him never wavered.  In fact, I said, it grew and grew over the years and when we finally broke up it was at it’s height.  I used this personal example to ‘prove’ that the curse of long term relationships to destroy passion wasn’t always the rule.

Once I finished telling her my thoughts she responded with an observation that had never crossed my rose colored mind.  She said “the passion lasted because you never really had him”.  Wow.  That is absolutely true and it took me over 20 years to learn it.

This is the ex I have written of before.  We met when I was 23 and were together off and on for 12 years.  We were serious for long stretches of time, then would break up, and eventually would find our way back to one another.  Sometimes the break up lasted a day, sometimes a few weeks, and once it lasted almost 2 years.  This is also the ex that I had an affair with once I learned of my husbands infidelity.  This “affair” was mostly emotional since he lives in another state but it had it’s physical moments as well.  I finally ended it for good almost 2 years ago.  21 years after I met him.  But my mom was right – I never really had him.  I always knew that he could walk out the door the next day.  I felt insecure in the status of our union and anxious about our future.  I never truly was able to depend on him and when I did he usually let me down.  It was that thrill and that uncertainty that kept the flame alive.

I think this is the case with most affairs as well.  We feel a heightened sense of passion because we know at any time the person is going to be pulled from our grasps.  We desperately cling to the moments we can hold them, touch them, see them.  And we are left longing for him/her in those long lonely nights when they are not with us.

This is a horrible way to live.  Always worrying that it’s the last time you will be together, wondering if the feelings are true, imagining them with their spouse and their families, knowing deep down that if they really wanted to be with us they would be.   We go days without hearing from them and our anxiety builds with each hour -then comes the thrill when they reach out again and this act calms all of our insecurities while setting us up for yet another round of passion followed by loss.  It’s a painful cycle.  We want so badly to believe in the fairy tale ending.  But at some point in our adult lives we need to accept that fairy tales are not true.  We do not have them.

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Cheaters tip # 1: Know who you are f-cking around with better than they know you

A friend Erika is dealing with a horrible side affect from her husband’s infidelity.  A stalker.  

Erika’s husband is an addict.  He is also a douche bag. That fact has nothing to do with this story but just had to be said.

Erika thought her hubby had been ‘sober’ for years.  She found out 2 months ago that he had been gambling, doing some drugs and, of course, acting out sexually.  He told her that he just looked at some porn, chatted on line with some strangers and met a couple girls for dinner.  He claims he had no sex and didn’t pay any hookers or any such stuff.

One of these women who he apparently dined with now calls the house phone (they had to have the number changed), calls her husband at work, threatened to tell the wife, drives by the house, etc. She claims that she is sending legal documents to the house.  Oh my.  So this gal knows Erika’s husbands full name, work place, home address, email, home phone, wifes name, wifes cell phone.  Yet he knows NOTHING about her.  Not her last name, what car she drives, where she works – not even her last name.  

He tried to call Ashley Madison’s support center to get some info on the woman but their only advice was to call the police.  Thanks A.M.

This gal is obviously bat shit crazy.  Even if she did screw the husband (I have little doubt) – and even if he promised her the sun, moon and stars and various illegal exchanges- her stalking and blackmail is fatal attraction scary.  

Men’s stupidity when it comes to sex never ceases to amaze me.  The level of arrogance associated with their behavior is laughable.  

To all of you out there who believe you are going to pull off an amazing affair with mind blowing sex and no strings attached and are going to walk away when you have had enough.  Then your spouse and family are never going to find out, you won’t catch an STD,  will successfully delete or hide all history of emails, photos and phone calls from her and the only memory of it will be in your mind.  Think again.  You’ve gotta be smarter than that.  

At the very least, get the girls real name for heaven’s sake.  You never know when she is going to come back to stalk you.

 

 

If he truly wanted to be with you, he would be…

I have pointed out before that in blogs written by those in the midst of affairs,  the underlying theme is almost always loneliness.  I recently read a sad poem from “the other woman” who mentions the pain she imagined in her lovers eyes when he left her to reluctantly return home.   There was another blog written by a man justifying the reasons why his married girlfriend couldn’t see him.  These posts are all too common.

Back when I was cheating, I remember telling my “boyfriend” how badly I wanted to be with him – that I was going to leave my husband – we would be together and live happily ever after.  blah blah blah.  It was all a lie.  It was fun for me to be wanted and loved by two men and by fully playing my role in each relationship I got what I wanted out of them.  It was completely selfish.  If I wanted to be with the boyfriend I would have been.  End of story.  There is no reason big enough to truly keep people apart if they don’t want to be.

In the moments that I was with my boyfriend I wanted to escape reality.  Not because reality was so bad – but because it added to the fantasy of the affair.  With my boyfriend I didn’t have to worry about the past or the future.   The past didn’t matter and the future didn’t exist.  In the times we were together, I would get carried away in the story of it all and let it play out in my dream world of unicorns and rainbows.  We would talk of love and dreams and vacations and memories. When we had to leave I would kiss him good-bye with tears in my eyes as he swore we would be together soon.  But by the time I turned away, both my mind and my heart were already back with my husband.  Exactly where they belonged.  The boyfriend was alone and out of my mind.

It’s not fair what I did to my boyfriend – how I exaggerated my intentions.  But in the moment, it didn’t feel like a lie.  It seemed like a true emotion at the time.  True, but not real.  My husband never had any emotional affairs, but his anonymous excursions were fueled by the same need for escape.  Pure fantasy with no expectations.

We have both come back to our senses and back to reality.  For those stuck in affairs leaving them wanting more it’s easy to believe every word your lover says, but maybe it’s time to read between the lines.  To look at actions over words.  Is he with you right now?  Or are you alone?

You say you want him to change…but are you willing to accept him if he does?

I harp on “willingness” a lot, but it’s because I see so many people entirely forgetting the importance of that element in their relationships.

When we are slammed in the face with the knowledge that the person we loved and trusted more than anyone in the world has actually been living a secret life of cheating and lying it’s pretty normal to insist that they must change or we won’t stay.  More often than not, the cheater’s fear instinct prompts him to promise to become a different man right on the spot.  Whether he can pull off a satisfactory change is a pretty big accomplishment involving lots of self reflection, honesty, therapy, probably the 12 steps, dealing with childhood trauma, etc.  But let’s assume he truly commits to the process and manages to turn himself into an honest, loyal, remorseful man/partner/husband.  Are you willing to accept that?  I mean, are you REALLY willing to accept that?  Are you willing to try to trust again…to control the snide comments…to listen with empathy when he has a bad day….to allow him to touch you….allow him to love you….are you willing to forgive and move forward with him by your side?

It’s not easy.  There is so much anger and pain – and rightfully so!!  But before you tell him to change, I think you should consider what it will mean to you, and your behavior, if he does, because if you aren’t willing – it’s not going to work.

The “S” dilemma: Is he Selfish or is he Sick?

I mentioned the other day that my friend Lisa found out that her husband has been carrying on with another man’s wife.  Classic.  

Due to my personal experience I encouraged her to at least stay with Todd long enough to look at the problem and to assess his willingness to change.  The question then is WHAT is he supposed to change?  

I got to thinking that the root of the problem really only comes down to 2 options:

1)  He is a selfish jerk who only wanted what felt good to him in the moment and didn’t care enough to consider the consequences his actions would have on his wife and son.

2)  He has addiction issues which made him powerless to fight his actions.

Personally I think Todd is just a selfish guy who got a little attention from a co-worker and thinks he is smart enough to have his cake and eat it too.  That being said, Lisa is exploring the possibility that he does have some sort of sex or love addiction.  She mentioned that there were some activities prior to the wedding which caused her concern and perhaps this is another symptom of a much bigger issue.

Whether he is sick or simply selfish, Todd will need to make huge changes in many areas of his life to keep Lisa in the marriage.  I’m not sure that I would have stayed with my husband if he was simply too selfish to care about me.  It speaks to a level of narcissism that I just can’t stomach.  Somehow, dealing with an addiction – any addiction – is strangely empowering.  I feel like my husband and I can fight this thing as a united force, both of us hating the ‘addict’ as much as the other one does, albeit for different reasons.  I wouldn’t wish addiction on anyone – but given the choice between the two “S’s”, I am glad I was dealt this one.