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After the Affair

topic posted Fri, November 23, 2012 - 12:52 PM by  Lauren2
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Thought this article might be of general interest...

www.nytimes.com/2012/11/25...affair.html

I hope all of you are having a wonderful holiday.
posted by:
Lauren2
New York City
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  • Re: After the Affair

    Fri, November 23, 2012 - 8:16 PM
    Nice article, but it ended a little different than I expected. It's encouraging to hear that people who do stick it out after a crisis feel it was worth it.
    • Re: After the Affair

      Fri, November 23, 2012 - 9:11 PM
      The twist was a surprised to me, too. Since that's sort-of-kind-of how my relationship went, though, I'm sympathetic to her decision.

      I wish, in my case, that I had known better at the time than to trace my decision to go my own way without SO back to his infidelity. In truth, my need to develop my underdeveloped personality at the expense of our relationship surprised me. And I didn't want to own up to that need. I was Faithful, after all. I was emphatically Not My Parents. And I would have preferred to go on believing that I might continue an accessory to his decisions, rather than risk being an equal partner in the respective paths of two lives. But insight is rarely so accommodating or painless. And like the author, my ex-SO and I are much closer now as friends than we were in all our seven years as a couple.

      As with the author, the break needed to happen. We were two people in a relationship in which neither of us was growing, and only one of us was autonomous and fully human. But the break came honorably and respectfully, if painfully, and it granted both of us ownership of selves neither of us had claimed yet. For that alone, I'm grateful.
  • Re: After the Affair

    Sat, November 24, 2012 - 4:40 AM
    Unfortunately for me, this article rips open recent wounds, that realistically have not properly healed yet. My wife's affair, her refusal to terminate it, the obsession with finding who and why, and the resulting divorce proceedings, were probably not a cause, but a main contributor to my current LE. If it were now, rather than a year ago that I became attracted to LO, I think it would have taken a different, likely non-limerent path. Going back, I can see that I was(and still am but to a lesser degree) dealing with the rejection, low self esteem, and guilt from the affair, and also fighting the idea of being attracted to someone else, as I felt like I would be cheating on my spouse.

    Reading this article reminded me of all that, and self worth spiraled down, and not only am I feeling LO sees me as a failure ( or will see me as one if she knew about my wife's affair) , but I'm unfairly projecting the actions of my ex on LO ( that if she accepted an invitation for a date she'd be cheating on her boyfriend) as well as thinking I ought not even ask, out of respect for the boyfriend.
    • Re: After the Affair

      Sat, November 24, 2012 - 6:22 AM
      I apologize for that, Mike. And I know what you mean by feeling guilt about asking out an attached LO. Especially since a lot of the pain is still raw for you, it may not be the best time to pursue your LO, even if she is "only dating" someone else. When I first joined LE, I was adamant about not asking my LO out, for the same reason. He had a girlfriend. End of story. And while I see the point of view of those who encourage letting your feelings be known, and I have done the same with other LE'ers in similar situation, I think I'm tending to fall back on the side of "get yourself healthy first." Particularly because taking the initiative would require- should she accept- that you are strong enough to live with the possibility that she might continue accepting dates while "attached" to you. Ideally, it "should" work that way. It is a point of high respect and trust with one's partner, to accept their freedom without feeling threatened by it. But not one everyone is able to reach that point without a good deal of internal struggle. And since acknowledging one's limerence is so often only the very, very beginning of a long internal struggle, your resistance is well taken, and may be the best thing for you.
    • Re: After the Affair

      Sat, November 24, 2012 - 6:50 AM
      >> thinking I ought not even ask, out of respect for the boyfriend <<

      Do you see how that actually shows DISrespect for her?
      • Re: After the Affair

        Sat, November 24, 2012 - 8:59 AM
        If my brothers wife is suggesting I have an affair with her, my respect for my brother far outweighs any respect I may have for her to be able to choose her sexual partners. The same holds true even if the attraction is mutual. 
        • Re: After the Affair

          Sat, November 24, 2012 - 1:35 PM
          Just as an aside, having read the article, I'm confounded why people make the decision to get married. The married women I have been involved with all seem so willing to humiliate and denigrate their husbands.  They are more open and honest with me about their lives, feelings and innermost desires than they are with the person they supposedly love.  Their willingness to give me what the so begrudgingly withhold from their husbands is astounding. Marriage seems to rob these women of something that they are willing to absolutely anything to get back. Knowing that certainly gives me an advantage, but I'd rather stay single forever than ever become one of these guys. 
          • Re: After the Affair

            Sat, November 24, 2012 - 2:27 PM
            "They are more open and honest with me about their lives, feelings and innermost desires than they are with the person they supposedly love."

            It's easier to be honest with a relative stranger than someone who is close to you, because the reaction to that honesty matters less the farther you get on the attachment scale. Ideally we'd have the security to trust the person closest to us to not reject us and value our honesty, but seems to be far from the norm.
          • Unsu...
             

            Re: After the Affair

            Sat, November 24, 2012 - 2:50 PM
            Tks for this Lauren, I have been following the Modern Love column for a while, this one stands out as its uncharacteristically 'smug' , and a departure from the usual angst of the author(ess).

            Good point Danny on why do people get married. And, in that NY Times article the aspirations of the 23 yo all wide-eyed and bush tailed about how they will live out their married lives is resonant of all embarking on such a union. People get married for many various reasons and its not always just about pure love. Whatever that is. People stay married for many various reasons too. And, people stop staying married for many varied reasons too. On some level committing to a marriage is conforming to the norms and usually the basis to raise children with some stability. Putting aside the self, ego and id in the process.

            But, its the reality of what surfaces in the course that throws marital bliss out the window. So that you grasp and claw your way onto a path that might be parallel to the marriage or at a completely divergent tangent away, in the hope of finding peace, love and happiness.

            Without delving into the esoteric, I think that at life's milestones (turning 20, then 30, then 40) you are still distilling obligations to the self and taming the ego, you still believe in the dream and you still strive helter skelter towards attaining. Then at mid-span (44 - 55) - it hits ; you really start to question not only your own mortality, weighing up your achievements and successes and regrets and many mistakes ,but you realise that maybe the dream is just not doing it. Its at this mid-point that there is a 'shift' of consciousness that whatever has made you tick in the past sometimes just stops working.

            The whole wide spectrum of why we do what we do why we are the way we are and why we take certain actions is complicated and intricate and requires acceptance of the diversity of individuals rather that questioning the motives collectively, maybe...


            • Re: After the Affair

              Sat, November 24, 2012 - 6:14 PM
              << Then at mid-span (44 - 55) - it hits ; you really start to question not only your own mortality, weighing up your achievements and successes and regrets and many mistakes ,but you realise that maybe the dream is just not doing it.>>

              Wow. That sounds like you might be suggesting something like a mid life crisis, that couldn't possibly be set off by a close friend dying of cancer...no that would mean that it's not the SO's fault, when we all know that it is. How crazy of him to suggest marriage counseling! He's the only one who needs it. He's sneaky and deceitful, he checked phone records and email and found out about the affair. It's all his fault.
          • Re: After the Affair

            Sat, November 24, 2012 - 4:03 PM
            >> The married women I have been involved with all seem so willing to humiliate and denigrate their husbands. <<

            Really? How exactly are you involved with these women?
            • Re: After the Affair

              Sat, November 24, 2012 - 6:08 PM
              Una, yes, really.  Our relationships are more than random hook ups, so I'm well aware of the extent they will go to lie and deceive their spouses. This makes me question their definition of love, but I'm in no position to challenge their ethical standards.  There doesn't appear to be any guilt or remorse, but then perhaps its not something they would relate to me.  Although, it's seems something like that would be hard to disguise.  Security for themselves or their children is one of the reasons given to remain in their relationships despite their need for attention outside of the marriage.  
          • Re: After the Affair

            Sat, November 24, 2012 - 7:12 PM
            While your point is well-taken, Danny, i doubt marriage truly robbed them of anything they ever truly felt identity with. And I doubt they consign anything of themselves lightly to extramarital relationships, that they are not seeking to have reaffirmed as disposable. This is not a judgement on extramarital affairs in toto. But what you are describing is not an act of decision, but an act of self-denigrating sacrifice.
            • Re: After the Affair

              Sat, November 24, 2012 - 7:56 PM
              Lauren, I would generally agree with that, which I can partially attribute to the reason I did not consummate with my LO.
            • Re: After the Affair

              Sun, November 25, 2012 - 12:10 PM
              On the other side is the common misconception Una mentioned in another thread. Long-term couples tend to think they know each other inside and out, when this is very often not the case.
            • Re: After the Affair

              Mon, November 26, 2012 - 11:26 AM

              From friends who have had extra-marital relationships, sometimes it is a "holiday" from their primary relationship (though a holiday that their SO does not know about) other times it is a form of escape - I guess a lot of marriages function on some levels but not on others so it is one way of getting certain needs (sexual and emotional met). Although I don't condemn my friends for this, it is not something that I wanted, in fact I definately did not want so I guess when limerence "struck", it made me confront various shortcomings in my marriage and the relationship has morphed and grown because of this into something prelimerence I would not have believed possible (not perfect but definately fulfilling).

              I do know if circumstances had not made it impossible, at the peak of my limerence I would have had an affair - and had no guilt about it either (and up until then I was always very self-righteous about people that did that). I think that if I had not "come clean" with SO about the limerence, and together transformed our relationship I would have ended up having an affair with someone just to get it "out of my system". Just glad that the route of working it through with SO was possible.
          • Unsu...
             

            Re: After the Affair

            Mon, November 26, 2012 - 12:55 AM
            I basically got married because it was easier to get a mortgage. There were other factors too...We'd been together for several years, I'd asked for a long time to get married because I'd felt insecure at the start of the relationship. When he finally seemed interested in taking the next step, I didn't really feel the need to get married anymore, but I didn't feel like I could say no. His daughter was about to move in with us after having spent her life being dragged by her mother from one boyfriend to another and I wanted to give her some stability.
            I realise it sounds shallow, but I felt like I was making the right decision for the family, if not for myself.

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