“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” – Mark Twain
How does one justify cheating on their spouse? I find it amazing that anyone can. What’s a worse thing that one can do than that? Can anyone possibly reason that they were driven to cheat? That they had no choice? That it was just ‘something that happened?’. It was completely out of their control and they couldn’t stop it?
Uh huh. Why is that difficult to accept? It’s as if they’re painting a picture that they were dragged, with gun pointed at their head and forced to cheat. Somehow that doesn’t seem very likely and it’s much more apparent they knew full well that what they were doing something morally wrong every step of the way.
In the midst of having an affair an individual can do some pretty mean, rotten things. Leaving aside that they’re actually engaging in an inappropriate relationship behind the back of the person they vowed to stay true to – that’s awful enough. But the guilt that begins to weigh on them has to come out somehow. Let’s face it, if you’re cheating you’re being untrue and deceitful.
However, letting that guilt engulf you and taking sole responsibility for committing adultery would certainly spoil things. How could it not if the cheater were to rightly place the blame all on themselves. That would dampen the mood, ruin the fun and reinforce the fact that them sneaking away with ‘that someone’ is wrong and something they shouldn’t have ever been doing. They must somehow rationalize these actions in their mind.
So typically that guilt will start to pour onto their innocent spouse. Soon they will be viewed as the guilty one and the one who ‘drove’ the cheating spouse down this road of deception. Once that’s done not as much accountability will weigh the cheater down.
That’s what happens in our story. Again, let me reiterate this tale took place about a year ago, but even with the passage of that amount of time I personally still can’t comprehend the deceit, lies and cruelty that this particular husband would go about inflicting on his wife, his children and very soon everyone around him.
The husband has been seeing, let’s just call her his ‘paramour’ to make it simple, for quite some time. The amount of time is in question, but the suspicion is for at least several months at this point. For as smart and secretive he thought he was being it couldn’t last forever. It never can. Although he really tried to keep a lid on it as long as he could.
|Out of the way wine vineyards is another ideal place
to spend time when having an affair
Over the course of months he would be sneaking onto the phone late at night with his paramour. Talking and texting while his wife and children were sleeping. Telling his wife he was only with her because of the kids.
Leaving his wife devastated, not knowing what she could do, trying to talk to him and find out what exactly the problems were from him. Yet, he would stay silent, become angry and first chance he got would call his paramour and talk with her for hours on end.
What kind of person would do that to someone they were married to for over nine years? Yet, it would get even worse. Begrudgingly he would agree to therapy sessions to work on their marriage. It seemed like a step in the right direction.
However, when sitting there with his wife and therapist and being asked the inevitable question – that all signs were pointing to – he would deny that there was anyone else. He was adamant that there was no other physical or emotional relationship going on. But that clearly wasn’t the case.
I’m not sure how he thought he would work on saving his marriage when he would sit there and lie in therapy. I’m not sure what the reasoning of the charade was. Perhaps he felt he would just go through the motions. Was he completely off his nut and didn’t know what to do? Whatever the explanation or what his thought process was, saving his marriage didn’t appear to be something he was very passionate to do.
What he was passionate about was continuously abusing his wife verbally and mentally and sneaking off to call his paramour on Mother’s Day. Even when getting caught shopping for jewelry the husband would quickly cover and say he was looking to buy his wife a present to apologize for his bad behavior. That he was fully committed to making this marriage work. True he was looking to buy an expensive present, but it certainly wasn’t for his wife.
To the wifes credit she tried everything and was being more accommodating and understanding than anyone ever should be. She brought the kids to his office for lunch, gave him flowers, booked a bed & breakfast weekend, any attempt to reignite a spark in him. And he still remained with that cold, distant attitude, wanting no part of his family. He would explain, he just needed alone time ‘to clear his head’.
|While having an affair you might as well
splurge every now and then
That ‘alone time’ not surprisingly consisted of spending the days with his paramour. It’s amazing the gall and arrogance that must of been going on in his head. Knowing his wife was suffering, that she was doing everything in her power to save their marriage, his two children wondering where Daddy was all the time and here he is spending all his time with this paramour. How could one not be filled with shame and guilt when he returned to face his family?
But ashamed wasn’t the feeling, it was anger. Anger at his wife. She would become the target and reason for all the problems in their lives.
I can only guess what stories he was feeding his paramour during all this time. I would assume the paramour would eat up whatever things he told her about his wife and home life. He would paint himself as an unhappy victim for both their benefit. And in return the paramour would offer her sympathy, helping him feel justified as to what they were secretly doing.
Already this erratic behavior would make me think one therapist wouldn’t be enough to sort this guy out. This would take a team of top-level therapists, like from Vienna with really long names who would have to make him an ongoing project. It would probably take months just to knock down all the denials he had built up around him. I imagine when you’re falling into a sea of lies, you’re just enjoying the fall and aren’t thinking how you’ll land. Your perspective is so skewered that you’re not thinking clearly, even though it’s crystal clear to everyone else what a mistake and how unforgivable you’re acting.
Things went to ridiculous, contemptible levels (at least in my mind) when the husband proclaimed ‘he needed space’ and would be staying at his friends house. I imagine with the intention of clearing this foggy head of his. At this point he surely was so confused he didn’t know what he was doing. Despite the wife being suspicious (at this point how could you not be) she agreed hoping that ‘his space’ would help solve things and be what he needed.
In return he agreed to more couples therapy and repeatedly adamantly denied any affair was going on. When asked how he was feeling he would reply he felt the therapy was helping and he was feeling much better and was more optimistic about the future of their marriage.
And when the therapy session would end he wouldn’t be driving back to stay at his “friends house”. Uh huh. He never went there. The friend didn’t even know anything about it. The husband had been spending his nights all the time with the paramour and had moved into her apartment.
Apparently his paramour was providing her own form of counseling to him.
It’s unimaginable. What he would put the wife through is something no one deserves.
When the wife rightly was suspicious of where he was at night, if he was indeed staying at his friends, he would be shocked at her accusations. To prove that she was being paranoid he would text her pictures of his friends new stove they just installed. Doing a google image search sure came in handy when he was up against the wall.
Even a year later thinking about what she had to go through with this man breaks my heart. How can he look at himself in the mirror, look at his kids, look at anyone without feeling ashamed is beyond my comprehension.
It didn’t seem like he would ever confess to his affair, but at a certain point the wife took it upon herself and made the discovery. What an awful situation it was. Imagine being put through such an emotional wringer by your spouse. Knowing full well that the lives of your children, family and future is in jeopardy. Forcing yourself to look for the worst possible answer you could conceive of finding and it being true.
The confirmation that the husband was cheating and he had been lying to you for months is something that must be soul shattering. I suppose the only ones who can even remotely understand the emotions of it are the unfortunate spouses that this has happened to.
Even at one point when the wife knew full well what he was doing and who he was doing it with and ultimatum was laid down at his feet – stop seeing her or leave. Even with this unbelievable lifeline the wife was throwing him (one that many of her friends felt was being too forgiving) he kept going back and forth between telling his wife that she was a “once in a lifetime woman” and would work on repairing their marriage, but then the following day going back to his mistress. This guy was like an out of control racket ball bouncing every which way.
At one point he told his wife his mistress, “doesn’t want me to kiss you anymore”. Why he would ever tell his wife something like that I will never understand.
No one ever remotely dreamed that this sideshow of behavior would fall onto the family at the beginning of this relationship. In order to counter the feelings of being morally bankrupt and to justify how he inflicted more pain and anguish on this household than ever could be conceived, the cheating husband had to do something. And that’s when his attempts to rationalize his behavior really escalated and he would conjure up his own version of events. He would concoct a fable of stories and scenarios in an attempt to vindicate his decisions and try not to make himself look like such a ‘good for nothing cheater’ in the eyes of everyone around. Whatever anyone else might hear from the wife would be untrue.
Of course people aren’t that stupid.
No matter how creative with the excuses one might be it’s impossible to justify his behavior to anyone. Maybe in his mind, but at this point his head was so cloudy it was showing up on weather maps.
But he stuck to his plan – lie. Lie like he had never done before. Lie like his life depended on it. Make up stories. Weave tall tales. Not only bend the truth, but break it completely. He would create his own reality where he wasn’t a conniving cheater, but a helpless husband who tried to do everything to save his marriage. The wife was simply impossible to live with no matter what he did. Now she was being vindictive telling lies about him. It was the poor victim scenario.
As months would go on and his lies would build and become more and more nonsensical, every person he encountered – friends, family, co-workers, even his paramour – would be invited into his alternate reality of justification. He would be running around saying anything to put out all the fires that were igniting all around him.
Of course in the deep recesses of his mind he must know the real truth. It might be buried under piles of dishonesty, mountains of distortions of the truth and an assortment of inspired performances he attempted to give to make it all the more convincing, but that truth is there. I imagine he must know that on some level.
Perhaps it’s easier for him to not think about all that and accept all the fabrications as the ‘new truth and history’. I suppose you get to a point when it’s easier to tell lies than to tell the truth.
For me I can’t understand how he can even sleep. When alone late at night, his mind starting to wander, getting into deep contemplative moments of reflection the real truth manages to poke it’s head out and challenges him to face it. I suspect he’s not able to do that and he feebly tries to bury it again as it continues to haunt him. How he doesn’t lie awake every night, staring at the ceiling being eaten away by guilt I’ll never know.