Many chumps sent me the HuffPo article “Here’s Why My Affair Will Turn Into a Healthy, Long-Term Relationship” which originally ran at DivorcedMoms.com (Short answer: Because you’re really super special and in love.) By “Claire.” (No last name, because pride in your relationship stops at surnames.)
So, let’s put it through the patented Universal Bullshit Translator.
Can relationships based on infidelity last?
Oh, many chumps hope so, Claire. Because there is no more perfect karma than for two cheaters to wind up together, making each other miserable in perpetuity with the little slings and arrows of their shittiness. But unfortunately, yeah, these things tend to fall apart when the sparkles wear off.
It’s such a funny question though — you just want to know if it can LAST. Well, plenty of things endure. Doesn’t mean they’re healthy and happy though.
But if it lasts then people won’t think you’re an idiot for breaking up the home of three kids. It all Had a Greater Purpose.
Had you asked the girl I was nine years ago this question, as I was entering into marriage (and of course having it all figured out at the ripe old age of 21) I would have given you a resounding “NO” and rattled off the reasons I knew to be true.
Of course a relationship founded on lies and secrets could not be healthy. How could you ever expect someone who cheated with you to not cheat ON you?
This is your sensible self talking, Claire. Listen to her. Or ignore her until you find the sext messages on his cell phone.
Would you always be suspicious of them and would they be suspicious of you? These reasons of course would lead any rational person to say, “no…there is no circumstance under which an affair can lead to a healthy relationship.”
Fast forward nine years. I am at the end of my marriage, have 3 children, a home, 3 dogs… and while I definitely still have a lot to learn about life, I will say I am nowhere near as jaded as I once was with the illusions of what marriage would be.
We failed at marriage in just about every way possible,
Always the royal We with you cheaters. No, you failed at marriage by cheating. I’m sure your husband wasn’t perfect, but he didn’t cheat on you, and he didn’t bail on three kids and three dogs — so I think this failure is yours. Please own it.
all leading up to me saying “enough is enough” when it came to his substance abuse and… in the end… my falling in love with another man.
Oh, well he had a substance abuse problem. That’s different. Of course you had to cheat on him. I mean, he sucks, right? Did he have a substance abuse problem when you married him? Had kid 1? 2? 3? When exactly did you become aware of this problem?
Did you try Al-Anon? Therapy? Honest conversations? A call to the divorce lawyer? Detaching with love?
This is about the man (let’s call him 40) that I have fallen head over heels, getting hit by a freight train, madly in love with and whether or not we will be able to translate a relationship started while I was still married into a happy, mutually respectful, healthy relationship. The logical, college educated part of me says absolutely not.
Horrible sentence construction, Claire. But from what I can tell, this guy you’re “madly in love with” is still not a sure thing? Because you’re not sure whether or not you “will be able to translate” the relationship into something permanent?
Best of luck with that. I’m sure he’d never throw a woman with three kids under the bus. That never happens. You know, guys who fuck married women for no-strings-attached sex, who are then suddenly available — yes, those men always fall madly-deeply-freight-train-in-love with you.
Guys who love no-strings-attached sex are just AWESOME at blended family life.
However, let’s just play devil’s advocate here. What if — in spite of the circumstances, and in spite of the underlying potential jealousy issues — we manage to make it work?
What if pigs could play banjos? What if eating a steady diet of cookies resulted in weight loss? What if owls were Soviet spies?
I mean, it’s possible.
And not only make it work but have the kind of love I once thought did not even exist. Does that mean that it is possible to trust someone you know is capable of adultery? I know myself and I know my heart.
Well, it’s nice to know you know you won’t cheat. Which tells you fuck all about him. See, that’s the thing, Claire. We don’t control people with our love. Just because we feel something doesn’t mean the other person does too or will behave ethically. Ask your husband about that.
I know that what I did was not something I should have done. I should have done the brave thing and left my marriage before starting a relationship with someone else. I could have spared more feelings by leaving when I knew I wanted to. But I didn’t. And now I am left with a bit of uncertainty about the future of my relationship with 40.
Spared more feelings? That’s a nice bit of minimization. You have to know your husband and children are devastated by your affair. Yes, the brave thing would have been leaving honestly before you cheated, and yes, your husband and kids would have been hurt by a divorce.
But then you would’ve been alone. A single parent. No fantasy to sustain you. It’s hard, hard work. Much better to toss them all over for The Great Love of the Ages.
And you have just “a bit of uncertainty about the future” of your relationship with 40?
He’s not putting a ring on it? Can’t imagine why not!
Adultery is a messy business. I would say to anyone that is considering an affair, in the middle of an affair, or just getting out of an affair, really spend some time looking at the reasons for your actions. I think the answer to whether or not you can make a healthy relationship out of an affair lies in these reasons.
If you were cheating just for the excitement, or just to get back at your spouse for their prior bad acts, the odds are you aren’t looking for a healthy relationship to come out of it anyway. I do think there is an exception though. I think that there are times, such as when your marriage is essentially over, and you are just in limbo mentally and emotionally, when a relationship that begins with an affair can end in a happy relationship.
Yes, of course, you’re one of the Better Class of Cheaters. You didn’t do it for the excitement, or to get back at your spouse (for say, his substance abuse). No, you Did It For Love! And that makes you different than other cheaters how exactly? You really think other cheaters don’t think they feel special butterflies too?
Your marriage was “essentially over”? Gee, did you inform your husband of that — or just your affair partner?
Marriages that are “essentially over” have consulted lawyers and have separation agreements, separate addresses, and separate finances.
“Emotional limbo” doesn’t cut it.
I know this is not the most popular opinion to hold. Infidelity is typically met with a great deal of opinion and judgment, and very rarely are any exceptions made in regards to how the general public views a “cheater”.
But I can tell you’re working really hard to change that, Claire. Why not write a nice HuffPo piece about it and change the world’s opinion of your Love?
But I would suggest, before rushing judgment of the woman you work with or know from your child’s school, that you take a moment to consider what could have led her to have an affair.
Her crappy character.
You most likely do not know the story of her marriage, and you do not know what sins were committed by both parties.
Chumps don’t compel cheaters to cheat on them. Infidelity is entirely on the cheater. See “therapy, divorce lawyers, separation agreements” above. You didn’t do those things, ergo, you suck. I’m sorry.
If she does make it work with the man she had an affair with, good for her. Maybe her ex has forgiven her and she has forgiven herself. Maybe she has asked God for forgiveness and she is working to mend that relationship as well.
Well as long as you’ve forgiven yourself! We’re all good! And Jesus forgave you too?
As the saying goes, it’s always better to ask for forgiveness than permission.
As for her and her new man, the best they can do is listen to their hearts and trust one another. Here’s hoping the love 40 and I have for one another will be enough to weather the storm we created. I am looking forward to calmer days ahead.
Claire, you were a piece of ass to this guy. Will he “listen to his heart” and trust you to “weather the storm”? I sincerely doubt it. Unless you’re of use to him — does he need a sofa to sleep on? Are you 20 years younger than he is? Do you have a trust fund?
Is he creepy? Did you meet him on Craigslist? Do you really want this guy around your children? Because pervy pedophiles prey on single mothers. Or is he just a run of the mill douchebag who sleeps with married women?
Get yourself in therapy, Claire. You’re not special or exceptional. You’re an idiot who threw away her marriage and intact family for a fantasy. Your marriage was difficult? Now, you’re looking at single motherhood with three kids. Your stock is not going to trade highly. The dream is evaporating and shit’s about to get very real.
Best of luck.
This column ran previously.