A member recently posed the question, "why do so many spouses cheat and throw everything away?" She writes, "I look around my life and I wonder what was missing for him, because we had it all: the white picket fence, the kids, the dog, jobs, the nice house, two cars, plenty of disposable income. What was missing that made him do what he did? Was there really something missing or was it a sickness, an addiction that he couldn't control?"
The community responded with a plethora of insightful and inspirational opinions, which we'd thought we'd share with the community at large:
- I too have wracked my brain trying to understand the how’s and whys and realize that I never will. For that I am now grateful as that would mean I was weak, selfish, self-centered, egotistical etc. It would mean that I was capable of ripping through loved ones hearts and lives leaving more devastation in my wake than a major hurricane. Almost 3 years later I am stronger than I ever believed I could be. I am living alone for the first time in my entire life. Yes, I get lonely sometimes, it still hurts sometimes, and sometimes I am afraid I will never find love again. During those times I connect with my loved ones and feel sorry for my ex as he gave up more than he could ever hope to gain, the deep love and faithfulness of his children, grandchildren and my extended family. I was beyond devastated when he left, and the pain was so intense I did not think I could bear it. But baby take a look at me now. If I could move "through" that pain and that is what we all have to do to heal, then I have complete faith that all of you can too! And you will come out on the other side of pain stronger, wiser and feeling better about yourself than you ever believed was possible. Bless you all!
- I feel as if you were writing about my life and my thoughts. The one thing we need to ALWAYS remember is that their selfishness and narcissism has nothing to do with us!!!!! We ARE the strong ones, the survivors, the ones who stuck by our commitments and promises and in the end our children will see that too and have much more respect for us than them. In the mean time, stay strong and try to be happy.
- After reading all the comments, I am so moved, that I feel such a burden lifted that I just had to comment again. Thank you all for surviving and being my unseen strength, I am in my early 60's and when he said his infamous statement" I'm done being married to you" I see now I wish I had been able to utter, " Well it's about time, how soon will you be getting out of my life??" but hindsight is 20/20. All of you are wonderful and being true to integrity and character becoming of a lady is empowering. I am just so refreshed today and I am ready for what Flamingo road said about seeing the outcome of his life in 10 years.
- It is difficult, but you were also true when you said the one who is left is stronger for it in the end. I realized a lot about myself and I am hoping I can take what I have learned and apply it in a positive way in a new relationship in the future. I would let yourself feel the betrayal until you are ready to try and focus on the good. Once you let go of the negative, letting the positive in will be such a relief and breath of fresh air. You will wonder how you ever lived with all the negativity before. Keep moving forward and take it one step at a time. The storm does eventually pass and parts of life start to become easier without you even knowing it.
- I think infidelity is evil. No black and white ... no relativism, no excuses or "because" to give it a cloak or rationality or understanding. It's simply evil. And men or women who cheat on their spouses and their children are evil. Infidelity IS abuse; it's emotional sadism, a form of cruelty that no one should have to suffer. Perhaps some cheaters are redeemable and worthy of redemption if they are truly remorseful and are willing to do the hard work necessary to rebuild their relationships and their own blackened characters. Perhaps are few are worthy, with work, of the blessings that forgiveness brings. But too many cheaters are lower than dogs--t and worthy of nothing but drowning in the own messy morass they have themselves created due to sheer monumental selfishness. They deserve no happiness, no peace, no joy in their lives because of the happiness, peace and joy they have drained from their spouses and kids. Yes, this is how I feel about cheaters.
- We will never figure it out, but you are right, the ones left behind are stronger and we will move on. Many adulterers I believe have a personality disorder, the book A Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout or How To Spot A Dangerous Man Before you Become Involved With One by Sandra Brown profiles their personalities. They want what they want; they cannot be alone and will stay until something different (I won't ever say better because who would want someone that was cheating on their spouse with them) comes along. Focus on yourself, rebuilding your relationships with people, and take a class of something you always wanted to learn. Though it may not look like it right now, you are the lucky one.
- We will heal and become stronger and always have our integrity. They will never grow. They will always be broken, always looking for the next best thing when things don't work for them anymore. I keep having to remind myself of this too when I start to feel pain or loneliness or pine for what I once had or thought I had.
- I blame it on cowardice and selfishness. Being too afraid to stand on their own two feet to walk away. They instead need something to walk towards. They're so wrapped up in themselves and their own weaknesses that they need to be buoyed by someone else. The spouses who are left behind, we stand all alone, on our own two feet. We have no Plan B already developed, nothing to run towards. We are left to forge a new path and that is why we will always be the stronger ones.