Acorn,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.
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