*I don’t like to box people but I have come full circle.
Meaning: When first learning about affairs, I saw all black and white (black really). When studying about affairs, I saw how complicated it could be. Right now, I am somewhere in the middle. It is more complicated than many think, but on the other hand it can be categorized to simplify things. That is how we make sense of our world. So, please don’t blame me for “boxing”.
In Post 3, I discussed the four “categories” of marriages that might be vulnerable. I talked about “marriages going through adjustment” and about “rocky marriages”, “bad marriages” and “pretty good marriages”. In summary, all marriages are potentially vulnerable. In this post I will talk about the cheaters and those they cheat with (the 3rd persons). These are those who get into your marriage.
I will describe, the “desperate”, the revenge takers” and the “predators”.
First I discuss the cheaters…..
Those who cheat on their partner already during the most difficult stage: the “adjustment” stage, are not the strongest persons ( a gross understatement). If you get married and decide to have kids, and already give up, through sabotage, when things get messy, you will never sit out successfully an entire marriage. I feel sorry for you as you will miss out on the most difficult but also the most rewarding phase of life.
Those who are in a “rocky marriage” and who cheat”, have made huge mistakes. They have sought the “solution” outside their marriage and that is not only NOT working, it is disrespectful to their partner and that is an understatement. Affairs, including the so-called emotional affairs are based on deception. If you were (are) the cheater in a rocky marriage, you cannot hide under the excuse, that “communication” was non-existent, or that “sex” was not satisfying in your marriage. If you have problems in your marriage, THERE is also where you seek solutions, not outside your marriage! If you read this and you care for your partner, your children and the years you had together…confess all and seek help. If you do not think your marriage and what you had together is worth to fight for…confess right now and ask for a separation to sort things out. No more lying and whether you like it or not…communication will need to take place between you and your partner. Affairs do not just happen…you were there and you know exactly when you crossed the line. You may have fallen victim to a predator (see below)…but on the other hand…you also may have sought the opportunity and/or did not resist the temptation while you knew all along that it was wrong. Some soul searching to do for you. If you really think that you found love with the “third person”, I wish you luck. To build happiness on deception and the hurt you did to another person (not just another person, but your partner) is practically impossible. For instance think about TRUST. Trust is the cornerstone of any successful relationship. This to both of you new “love birds”…do you think you can trust each other? Affairs equals deception…..and do you really think that the initial “attraction” and being in-love stage will last forever….be real. Your new relationship will be exactly as your former one if you are not putting in the work.
Those in a “bad marriage”….and who cheat, confess, get it all out in the open. A separation might be inevitable, but as you had a “bad” marriage, why not turn it into a “good divorce”. You might have gone for the desperate and the revenge seeking persons, as they are more open to the short-term affair thing and sex is easy to get from them. But these are hardly the right people for you to start over with. I suggest, you do not seek “new love” for some time…there is work to be done and you have to do it and “yes” it involves open and effective communication. A bad marriage means that both partners were not the best communicators and both did not do the work. It would not have been a bad marriage if you both had done the work as either you would have had a better relationship or would have split up before things got nasty.
Those in the “pretty good marriage” and who cheat: WHAT ARE YOU THINKING? Oh no, I mean: START THINKING! END IT! Confess…get it in the open….seek help….DO THE WORK….and there is a lot…for years to come. Unfortunately, although the confession of an affair is a wake-up call, there are already issues in the marriage. Although a relationship is between people, I have found that the persons who ultimately betrays their partner often are self-centered people who often make decisions without including their partner and family.
Many people who wrote on affairs keep on repeating that you cannot blame the third person. No, of course not, at least not solely…it is the betrayer who betrays their spouse. Apart from being selfish…the only reason they come up with is “it made me feel good” (and that is pretty lame). They do not think about consequences, they do not want to leave their families, they just want to feel good and feel admired and think that they are admired back. Well “wake-up call”, if you are a well-off person, older than the OW, you are liked and admired for your status and money and noting else.
WHO ARE THE 3RD PERSONS?
In general, we can state that those who start knowingly an affair with a married person (or with those in a common-law relationship) are acting unethically and are selfish. I will not accept that these people are not aware of the pain they inflict upon the spouses of those they have an affair with. If you want to change, seek help. If you are a good person, who did wrong, you deserve a good relationship. Try to figure out why you are with a married person, and don’t make excuses!
THE DESPARATE: These people find it hard to obtain a loving partner. They feel that they deserve some “love”, and justify their actions as such. They however, do not get love, just sex. They often say that it is the “cheater’s” problem that they are married, and that is a lame excuse. I suggest for people who feel desperate to seek some coaching. You might be able to find a great person who truly loves you. Stop having sex with a married person, you lower yourself and you are doing harm to others. Tell me honestly, is it really so great to have sex, while all is kept secret? You can never go out. The entire “relationship” if it deserves that word, is just sex at your place or an hotel and the “lover” is gone again to his family.
THE REVENGE SEEKERS: Some start an affair out of revenge. Their partner cheated or is neglectful. Needless to say that this does not help and makes matters worse. I suggest you to start thinking about what you want. Do you want healing, work on your marriage with your partner? Or do you have enough of the constant cheating (can also be other deal-breaking behaviours)? if you and your partner will be happier when you break it off, then do that and first on a trial period. You deserve respect based on trust and if that is not there, there will not be any healing. A trial period can enlighten partners, and provide insight in what they want. If that is creating a great relationship, you both need to put in the work. A few weeks of happiness after a fight, is not going to do it (honeymoon stage) as you will fall back in the old behaviours.
THE EVIL/THE PREDATORS: Predators seek out targets who have something to offer. It can be a job, status, money and POWER. It is all about wanting to win. Most often the PREDATORS are not the best educated or the best looking.
Well educated and confident people do not need to steal other’s partners and do not need seduction and sex to obtain a job as they have brains! Very often the (female) predators need the “assistance” of some cosmetic enhancement.
FEMALE PREDATORS use blatant sexual language and innuendo. Predators are lazy, and good con-artists. They are highly manipulative. They have a talent to find people’s weakness and use that. They are liars. They have no regret, shame or guilt feelings. They lack EMPATHY. They feel that the one who “falls into their trap” is stupid to do so, and so they have no sympathy for the impact their harm will do to a couple and their family. Or, they score so high in narcissism, that they honestly think that they are a catch! They are good in pretending to have feelings. They PLAY YOU: they like what you like, but when they are with someone else, they will change as “is required”. As is obvious, the people described above share a lot of similarities with psychopaths (sociopaths), but we have to be careful not to label too soon.
MALE PREDATORS in addition to the above, seek out targets who of course have something to offer, but who feel emotionally deprived. The male predator is going to fill that void, the needs of the target that the husband did not fulfill. They will understand your feelings and are gentle and “always available”.
These days it is not hard to become one of those “gold-digging” predators as “reality T.V. and the Internet provide many “how to” options. It might be that some teenagers see the “stars” in these reality shows as their role models! Male predators also gain a lot from the Internet as they can learn to be “sensitive”.
Be aware! Observe, do not gossip, but make a mental note about the red flags. Watch your partner and talk. You might have to do a bit more than talking and be somewhat confrontational to show your “gullible” partner that they are falling into a trap. SHOW THIS POST!
THE CHEATERS AGAIN
Those who cheat with the “desperate”, you are either after sex and don’t care, and might do this again and again….or you made a slip-up and feel genuine guilt. Those in the latter group, there is hope for you. Those in the first one….please do yourself and your partner a favor and call your marriage what it is….”a joke”. I wish you luck and hope to educate enough people so they will stay away from you as good people deserve a relationship based on mutual respect.
Those who cheat with those who seek revenge might be the same as the above. If you were after an opportunity…you blew it as the person you had sex with is a person who is hurt and/or desperate. They may also be vulnerable to mental health issues, depending on what the revenge was based on. I hope you care…Those who care….end it and after confessing and apologizing to your partner….do the work….Those who don’t care, confess anyway and do your partner a favour and get out of the marriage as you very likely know already, you will cheat again.
Those who cheat with the “predators” are very naïve people. GULLIBLE is a better word. They are very likely smart in some ways as they tend to be educated and/or have a good paying position and/or a high status in the community or in the workforce. They had it all, a pretty good marriage, a family, a career a future. Do you realize what you have done? What you have done is ugly, a deal-breaker, mean and you cannot fall lower. You need to do a lot of work. It might be that your money, position and status has “corrupted” you in thinking that you are invincible.
Predators try to get a long-term relationship and they do not stop until they get out of it what they went for. Power, money and other ways to feel richer! They may even fall “accidentally” pregnant. They played you. But you played them too.
A predator is not relationship material. A partner who has been faithful and loyal to you through all the years while you were building up your career is invaluable. If you want to “win” your partner back…you have a long road ahead of you. You know what this “third person” was, you may not be the smartest when it comes to relationships and personalities (as well as identifying personality disorders), but you very well picked up the signs…or are you really so naïve to think that a younger woman falls in love with you just like that and she does not want anything in return. As for the female who cheated…were you really so naïve to think that the “gentle man” you cheated with was genuinely interested in hearing you lamenting your poor life? Do you really think there were any altruistic intentions?
- New email addresses are created, false names are created to go with the cell phone number, phone calls have to be done in the car, in the basement, when the wife or husband is out of the home and DURING WORKTIME.
- Intimate meetings and sex happens in hotel rooms and often sex happens during work trips as this makes it easy to deceive.
- When the other person enters the hotel they quickly step to the elevator and knock on the door of the room number that they received from the cheater.
- All done…a quick wash-up as one has to get home…to the family! Making sure the partner does not smell the other person on them and that there is no other observable evidence on his clothing.
It can never be undone and it remains immensely painful for those who were betrayed. Many of the third persons don’t care. As a betrayed person, do not think you would be able to reason with them or to explain your hurt.
This is important, cheaters in general do not come clean. They get caught. Good partners know when something is not right in the marriage. They ask, they poke and they find out. The time in between a spouse starts to suspect that their partner is having an affair is TORTURE. Absolute torture. They think they are going insane. They have the feeling (based on observations) that their spouse is unfaithful, but all the time they try to say anything to their spouse, they are “beaten down”. They are ridiculed and treated badly. The reason is that the spouse who has an affair does anything to keep it secret. First of all they do not want to stop and second of all they do not want to think about or deal with the consequences. COWARDLY behavior for sure! This is also the time that most hurt is inflicted upon the betrayed spouse.
Do you really want your partner to do all the work and become a detective in order to be able to confront you? If you have any backbone left, confess and confess all. If it is very ugly, ask the help of a therapist. Only after getting it ALL in the open….is there any hope to heal. “Yes” it is hard to confess the dirt…but you did it and you should owe it. If you were feeling so wanted and so great while into this dirty and despicable relationship….you should also be the person who has the guts to come clean.
DO THE WORK: Go and seek help: Find out what was contributing to your behaviour and be HONEST . Seek help WITH your partner, you have left this person out of your life too much already. Couple sessions work better as both are present. Only in case one partner wants to talk about the past and a former marriage, an individual session might work better. Even in this case, As a therapist I will ask the partner to provide an update on the session to their spouse. As you know…healing starts with TRUST and HONESTY and being OPEN and as couples tell me, A LOT OF COMMUNICATION involving a lot of listening.