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I don't often talk about it and I hate recalling it, but about 15 years ago I was engaged to be married to someone I had been dating for a good 6 or so years. Her hobby was amateur competitive dancing, and she had a big show that she was training for with her partner. As the event got closer, she began coming home later and later, her mood began changing, etc. One night she didn't come home, so I confronted her, we fought, and I moved out.

After things settled down, I did talk to her a few times. In the course of those talks, she made the claim that she had "no choice" when she cheated. (I think that's why the other thread was of such interest to me - it hits close to home.)

I remember talking to people, admitting the state of our relationship wasn't great, but no one forced her to cheat. I was grateful when people would agree with me, because I was still desperately trying to cope with what happened and I couldn't handle much more than that. Much like the original "forced" thread, I would spew venom at anyone that tried to ask me to look deeper, get past the words, and consider her message to me, because if I could keep my focus on her nonsensical "no choice" wording, I could keep sane and keep myself believing that I am not the one responsible for the actual cheating.

Then, one day years later I woke up and something clicked inside. Maybe she wasn't trying to say she had no choice, maybe she was trying to say that she felt like she had no choice. It was my a-ha moment.

With enough time and space between us, I was able to ask the follow up question: She obviously had a choice, why did she feel like she had no choice? Was she really just "saying anything" to "blame-shift"? Or was I partially responsible for this mess in some indirect way?

I thought back to the things she had said to me. Some things were complete crap - all the dancers did it, she couldn't stop him, blah blah blah. However, some things did have merit... she had asked me for years to take an interest in her dancing, she had wanted to not stay home so much, she asked over and over again for more excitement and activity, etc. Nothing groundbreaking but I made many mistakes that people make in their 20s. Looking back, I could see how they would hurt and frustrate her when I did not respond. I knew she wasn't lying about some of those things, she had said them for years.

I started to realize that for every second I focused on the "I had no choice" statement, which was so much of a lightning rod to me for so many years, I was holding myself back. When the cheating occurred, there was the state of the relationship and there was the cheating... but every day after that, the cheating was now PART of the state of the relationship, and to dwell on her words is to be stuck in the past and reliving the cheating over and over again - exactly something I was trying to get away from. I never lost the ability to extrapolate that I am not to blame for her cheating, but I was now able to realize that just because cheating was "crossing the line" for me, I had crossed her line a long time ago in a different way. Suddenly, her talk with me went from being a silly "no choice" BS excuse to some extremely valuable information that, up until this point, I had not heard or considered. I am a better person for being willing to listen.

Anyway, I don't have a big need to hyper-focus on the fact that her cheating was her choice - it's obvious. If people ask, I usually tell them that I was engaged once, but I didn't pay enough attention to her and she cheated, so it was best to go our separate ways.

I also came to realize that I didn't need a literal refutation of the "no choice" phrase, nor did I need outside validation for my blameless state with regard to the cheating. I could finally give that to myself. It just took a long time.

Anyway, that's what worked for me. Perhaps my way of coping is not for everyone, but maybe hearing my story can help someone else as well.
 

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Then, one day years later I woke up and something clicked inside. Maybe she wasn't trying to say she had no choice, maybe she was trying to say that she felt like she had no choice. It was my a-ha moment.

However, some things did have merit... she had asked me for years to take an interest in her dancing, she had wanted to not stay home so much, she asked over and over again for more excitement and activity, etc. Nothing groundbreaking but I made many mistakes that people make in their 20s. Looking back, I could see how they would hurt and frustrate her when I did not respond. I knew she wasn't lying about some of those things, she had said them for years.

I never lost the ability to extrapolate that I am not to blame for her cheating, but I was now able to realize that just because cheating was "crossing the line" for me, I had crossed her line a long time ago in a different way. Suddenly, her talk with me went from being a silly "no choice" BS excuse to some extremely valuable information that, up until this point, I had not heard or considered. I am a better person for being willing to listen.

I also came to realize that I didn't need a literal refutation of the "no choice" phrase, nor did I need outside validation for my blameless state with regard to the cheating. I could finally give that to myself. It just took a long time.
Acorn,

BIG BIG respects for this. It so refreshing to hear that you've come to realize these things beyond the act itself. Wow I never thought I'd live to see the day when I'd hear this kind of reflection.

See. About 10 years ago I started an emotional affair with a total stranger which lasted about a month - if that! At the time I'd lost myself and was in total grief to the point of suicide - my mum had died not long before and I was just waiting for my turn albeit I went totally the wrong way about it. This was the end but the problems I felt were there before. Grief just magnified and distorted what was going on for me.

That said, what I learnt from doing it is that cheating gives permission for the "cheated on" to totally ignore their part in what made the other half so unhappy to begin with. Like I said, your reflections here are truly appreciated and I do agree to give yourself that. You must feel so much more freeness just looking at it in that way.

I think affairs give the "cheated on" a get out of responsibility card because it completely deletes how the "cheater" felt at the time. It also deletes any signs or warnings that were blatantly obvious and spoken off to the partner as a cry for help long before the event that "hey we need to work on us".

I also think that everyone has their version of what constitutes crossing the line - some more obvious than others of course. What's interesting as you say is what each persons version of that actually is.

Thank you so much for sharing:)
 

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Acorn, learning to identify problems in a relationship is a very good thing. Learning from past mistakes, even better. The knowledge you gain will stand you in good stead in any future relationships. This si true wisdom. But you really need to learn the difference between understanding and validation.
Your GF went from "having no choice", to "believing she had no choice", to you understanding and accepting her choice. How is this helpful to anyone? You learned about your shortcomings, but turn right around and use that knowledge to absolve her from her responsibility. You need to take to heart the expression , "own your sh*t'. Regardless of your failings she had the choice to cheat or not, and nothing you did or did not do MADE her choose to cheat, that choice came from within her mind, and was , to her, an acceptable response to an admittedly bad situation, but in reality was like adding fuel to a fire. You also cannot seem to understand tha cheating does not ONLY happen in bad relationships. Look at some of the other threads here and you will find numerous examples of people who cheated and willingly admit that their partners , DID NOTHING WRONG. They made the choice to cheat for many reasons having nothing to do with their relationships, but were caused by emotional/sexual issues completely independent of them. From drunken ONS's to re-connecting with old flames, to too intimate contact with co-workers, these are just a few examples. Learning to understand YOUR issues is one thing, accepting blame for HERS is quite aniother.
 

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Interesting concept built on a slippery foundation

Read the thread:
Re: Did I go about this all wrong?
by Raised Garden

particularly post #66 where wife claims she was forced to cheat.

discuss
 

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Acorn,

BIG BIG respects for this. It so refreshing to hear that you've come to realize these things beyond the act itself. Wow I never thought I'd live to see the day when I'd hear this kind of reflection.

See. About 10 years ago I started an emotional affair with a total stranger which lasted about a month - if that! At the time I'd lost myself and was in total grief to the point of suicide - my mum had died not long before and I was just waiting for my turn albeit I went totally the wrong way about it. This was the end but the problems I felt were there before. Grief just magnified and distorted what was going on for me.

That said, what I learnt from doing it is that cheating gives permission for the "cheated on" to totally ignore their part in what made the other half so unhappy to begin with. Like I said, your reflections here are truly appreciated and I do agree to give yourself that. You must feel so much more freeness just looking at it in that way.

I think affairs give the "cheated on" a get out of responsibility card because it completely deletes how the "cheater" felt at the time. It also deletes any signs or warnings that were blatantly obvious and spoken off to the partner as a cry for help long before the event that "hey we need to work on us".
I also think that everyone has their version of what constitutes crossing the line - some more obvious than others of course. What's interesting as you say is what each persons version of that actually is.

Thank you so much for sharing:)
Spin it anyway you want, but the betrayed partner is NEVER responsible for the wayward partner.
No matter how unhappy the WP is, no matter how miserable they are, they ALWAYS have a choice in what THEY do.
If the BP will not give the WP what they need to fill a void, then either work with the BP to find a solution or end the relationship before cheating.
Cheating doesn't solve the problem at hand, it creates new ones & putting any responsibility on the BP is wrong & blameshifting.
 

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Spin it anyway you want, but the betrayed partner is NEVER responsible for the wayward partner.
No matter how unhappy the WP is, no matter how miserable they are, they ALWAYS have a choice in what THEY do.
If the BP will not give the WP what they need to fill a void, then either work with the BP to find a solution or end the relationship before cheating.
Cheating doesn't solve the problem at hand, it creates new ones & putting any responsibility on the BP is wrong & blameshifting.
I totally agree with you that the betrayed is not responsible for the wayward partner. I also agree that cheating creates more problems. There lies my point about the act taking away from the problems BEFORE it happened. I can only speak from my experience of it backlash and all. I know full well that cheating brings out a whole load of taking sides without each party understanding what happened because they are now both victims. Only thing is that the one who cheated doesn't matter and like I said what leads up to it does't matter AT ALL. That's it. I'm used to the onslaught. Did it to myself and husband did it to me. Nothing new really.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Acorn,

BIG BIG respects for this. It so refreshing to hear that you've come to realize these things beyond the act itself. Wow I never thought I'd live to see the day when I'd hear this kind of reflection.

Thank you so much for sharing:)
Thanks for your post. It's been a long time since I've really sat down and forced myself to reflect on what happened and where I am today. It's still very painful in my mind.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Your GF went from "having no choice", to "believing she had no choice", to you understanding and accepting her choice. How is this helpful to anyone? You learned about your shortcomings, but turn right around and use that knowledge to absolve her from her responsibility.
It was helpful to me, and I was the one that went through it!

I do not absolve her from anything. I just choose not to focus on it. If you would like to spend some time posting about how it was her fault, you may feel free and you won't be wrong.

Learning to understand YOUR issues is one thing, accepting blame for HERS is quite aniother.
I do not accept blame for her cheating. I accept responsibility for my shortcomings in the marriage. In other words, I'm trying to own my $*it. :)

The whole reason I broke it off with her was to be free of her, but if I spend time each day blaming her and remembering the cheating every day, I don't really feel free of her, so I don't do it.

I am ultimately grateful that she chose to tell me why she cheated (in her mind), even if some of the accusations like "no choice" were laughable, so that I could consider my flaws too. How I respond to that information is the only thing I can control.
 

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Interesting concept built on a slippery foundation

Read the thread:
Re: Did I go about this all wrong?
by Raised Garden

particularly post #66 where wife claims she was forced to cheat.

discuss
Not sure who this was aimed at but just had a look through and get this gist of what happened. Shared my thoughts there too.

Thanks for your post. It's been a long time since I've really sat down and forced myself to reflect on what happened and where I am today. It's still very painful in my mind.
Of course it's gonna hurt to know you were betrayed so badly regardless of how long ago it was. How are you doing in the relationship you have now? Has the realization helped with how you show up in it?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Interesting concept built on a slippery foundation

Read the thread:
Re: Did I go about this all wrong?
by Raised Garden

particularly post #66 where wife claims she was forced to cheat.

discuss
Like I said in my post, my fiancee gave me some excuses that were just pure crap, and other reasons that had some merit. I sifted through it and took the information I found valuable while leaving the crap behind.

I can't really comment on that post beyond that... I'm just recalling my situation and how I dealt with it.
 

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I wrote the equivalent of 3 pages in response but it’s probably better to keep it brief.

First, my situation is eerily similar to yours except that, for me, this all happened 9 months ago.

Second, I am totally open to taking criticism from my exes. But I only internalize criticism that is a) tangible or concrete, and b) rendered by someone with credibility. Your fiance argued that you weren’t interested enough in her career. Well, did she ever bother to define “interested” and “enough?” If you take that too seriously you run the risk of smothering the next girl. Likewise, my fiance had tons of nebulous and subjective critiques for me that I should have disregarded… and she later totally contradicted.

And it doesn’t sound like either of our fiances had credibility in the area of long-term relationships, much less marriage. They underestimated the importance of integrity and trust in a mature relationship. They also stayed in these supposedly unfulfilling relationships for the better part of a decade and accepted our marriage proposals? They either had no idea what they wanted ot were just making crap up on the fly.

These aren’t typical breakup situations. And my point from the other thread was this: blame-shifting wayward logic is ridiculous. Why dignify it?
 

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Don't agree with any of that. Enabling, and doesn't take in account that someone is an adult who is accountable.

I don't believe in anything blaming a BS.

I didn't like one of my girlfriends due to her irrational jealousy. Always accusing me of talking with other chicks, always b!tching at me if I don't call her 3+ times a day. She wouldn't get past her issues. I tried to talk to her, but she'd immediately act like I'm personally acting her and guilty of cheating. She refused to see any kind of reason and that relationship went dead. I could've cheated on her. Didn't. Instead I dumped her ass.

Theres no excuse, justification, reason, in any manner or form for cheating, period.

She did have a choice. She felt like she had no choice but to cheat cause she was a selfish woman with little character, period.

I can say right now with complete confidence. No matter how bad a relationship is, I will never cheat. I would just leave it, and leave it with something called dignity and self respect.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Don't agree with any of that. Enabling, and doesn't take in account that someone is an adult who is accountable.

I don't believe in anything blaming a BS.
I'm not sure why my post conveys anything where I enable her. Enable her to do what? I left her, I know the cheating was her decision, and that's that. She can't hurt me any more and we haven't talked in years. Where is the enabling? I'm genuinely curious - you aren't the first to imply that and I don't understand it.

Do I sound like I'm blaming myself?

What I heard when she said she was forced to cheat because of X, Y, and Z was that, in her mind, X, Y, and Z were important enough to her to choose to cheat. I feel like I have the ability to listen, filter out the crap, and evaluate the real message. It doesn't excuse what she did at all. That's my take anyway.
 

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Going to say the same thing I said in the other thread.

Her decision to cheat is hers alone.

If things you did made her more vulnerable to cheating, it's good that you address them. That doesn't let her off the hook for what she did, but it helps you in future relationship.

I like the way you put it. She has to own her sh!t and you have to own yours.
 

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I'm not sure why my post conveys anything where I enable her. Enable her to do what? I left her, I know the cheating was her decision, and that's that. She can't hurt me any more and we haven't talked in years. Where is the enabling? I'm genuinely curious - you aren't the first to imply that and I don't understand it.

Do I sound like I'm blaming myself?

What I heard when she said she was forced to cheat because of X, Y, and Z was that, in her mind, X, Y, and Z were important enough to her to choose to cheat. I feel like I have the ability to listen, filter out the crap, and evaluate the real message. It doesn't excuse what she did at all. That's my take anyway.
You're not blaming yourself, and while you're not excusing it you are indirectly rationalizing her actions with conjecture about her mental state and circumstances.

It's all bullsh!t.

If she had a 'line crossed' she should've done more to communicate its necessity than hold silent grudges and have an affair.

If something's a deal breaker for me and theres little change, I give an ultimatum, and have done so multiple times before. My GF also never liked my smoking, and when she became pregnant she absolutely REFUSED to raise a child in a smoking environment, even if I took it outside. She was prepared to break up with me if I did not end my smoking. I was cig free within 3 weeks post ultimatum with a patch.

Thats what you do when a line is crossed.

Discuss change, if not successful, deliver an ultimatum for change and thats unsuccessful than leave the relationship with character if there is no change to be had.

Not open her legs for the first man who comes past.
 

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Your GF went from "having no choice", to "believing she had no choice", to you understanding and accepting her choice. How is this helpful to anyone? You learned about your shortcomings, but turn right around and use that knowledge to absolve her from her responsibility. You need to take to heart the expression , "own your sh*t'.
Badblood I mostly agree with your posts. But this... really?
How, where the OP absolved his GF from her responsalibily to cheat? The one in the slipery slope of justifications was his GF, not him.
What I see here is a man really owning his sht!. Which doesn't limit to cheating. Not only that, I asume he learned from it to make his relationship with his new partners better because of it. That's why it's helpful.
I don't get when BSs here own theirs mistakes in the relationship is automaticaly mistaken with sharing the blame for the infidelity. You can't predict lack of integrity, cheating. You expect to be dumped when things doesn't work. You should. Otherwise you will become a cynical individual with no trust in anyone. You can learn to do no harm to the relationship. Just in case. ;)

This resume his thoughs on this matter.
Anyway, I don't have a big need to hyper-focus on the fact that her cheating was her choice - it's obvious.
Period.
I spent like 0.0001 seconds taking the blame for my wife's cheating.
 

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It was helpful to me, and I was the one that went through it!

I do not absolve her from anything. I just choose not to focus on it. If you would like to spend some time posting about how it was her fault, you may feel free and you won't be wrong.



I do not accept blame for her cheating. I accept responsibility for my shortcomings in the marriage. In other words, I'm trying to own my $*it. :)

The whole reason I broke it off with her was to be free of her, but if I spend time each day blaming her and remembering the cheating every day, I don't really feel free of her, so I don't do it.

I am ultimately grateful that she chose to tell me why she cheated (in her mind), even if some of the accusations like "no choice" were laughable, so that I could consider my flaws too. How I respond to that information is the only thing I can control.
Acorn, this sounds very good. the only danger I can see is a reluctance to sepearate the relationship problems from the cheating. They are different issues. the rest of it, I agree with. Once I divorced, it was very hard, for a while to "let go'. My new GF helped with that a whole bunch>;)
 

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Badblood I mostly agree with your posts. But this... really?
How, where the OP absolved his GF from her responsalibily to cheat? The one in the slipery slope of justifications was his GF, not him.
What I see here is a man really owning his sht!. Which doesn't limit to cheating. Not only that, I asume he learned from it to make his relationship with his new partners better because of it. That's why it's helpful.
I don't get when BSs here own theirs mistakes in the relationship is automaticaly mistaken with sharing the blame for the infidelity. You can't predict lack of integrity, cheating. You expect to be dumped when things doesn't work. You should. Otherwise you will become a cynical individual with no trust in anyone. You can learn to do no harm to the relationship. Just in case. ;)

This resume his thoughs on this matter.
Period.
I spent like 0.0001 seconds taking the blame for my wife's cheating.
Acabado, I agree, and in Acorn's case because they broke up, it was the right thing to do to get closure. However, you and I both know many BS's who have bought into the idea that the BS has some partial blame for the affair. Usually it's because they are desperate to R, or because their WS is very good at blame-shifting. I don't want other BS's to fall into that trap.
 

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Acorn, you will find that my posts are usually in the form of warnings and cautionary notes. TAM is a pro-marriage website, but I believe that it should always be an INFORMED pro-marriage website.
 
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