Valid excuse for infidelity?

Yeah.

I, personally, could and would not accept the excuse as valid.

But we all have our weak points. I probably have forgiven many other transgressions too easily.

It doesn’t come down to whether it’s valid - the only thing that matters is what you feel - and you don’t have to feel everything at once. You can take a “wait and see” approach, you can end it now, it’s entirely up to you. No one else should be telling you how to feel or what to do, it’s not fair, we don’t live in your marriage or your skin.

Most importantly, you’ll make the choices you are ready to make when you are ready to make them.

Yup. Anyone who cheats through Ashley Madison charges on their credit card is looking to get caught, or at least knows it doesn’t matter if he gets caught. He turns on the charm for a while, buys flowers and gives you attention, and then goes back to what he was doing. And his story about how his childhood justifies his cheating ways is complete bullshit.

Aw, c’mon! Don’t you know the fourth time is the charm? :smiley:

More seriously, what Mrs. Cake said.

The whole woe-is-me my-childhood-was-crap really is BS. He wants to cheat and he cheats. It has nothing to do with his childhood. You know, John F. Kennedy had what many of us might see as a pretty good childhood - he cheated.

It seems to me that there are several issues here:

  1. There all all manner of compulsive behaviours (I mean of the OCD, can’t control it variety). I’m sure the compulsive need to seek out the affirmation and approval of the another women (or man) is one of them.
  2. Childhood experiences can contribute to compulsive behaviour. It could be genetic. In most cases both nature and nurture play a role.
  3. Whether either 1 or 2 have anything to do with your husband’s behaviour cannot be answered here. That would likely require a therapist and a strong desire on his part to find the answer and control the urges.
  4. Even if it is compulsive and rooted in events from his childhood, only you can determine whether it is acceptable within the bounds of your marriage.

Even “valid” reasons do not necessarily excuse poor behaviours. IANAD of any kind, by the way.

A quote currently making the rounds, FWIW:

“if you don’t transform your pain, you’ll only transmitt it.”

And now you’re in pain. You’ll have to take responsibility for ending yours, as he should his; whether he does or not.

My first wife was … selfish. Repentant, and a repeat offender. She had a less-than stellar childhood and all of her behaviors could be neatly tied to some past trauma. Very sad, really. It wasn’t the worst, but I wouldn’t wish her past on anyone. Nevertheless, the result was someone who was unable/unwilling to exercise restraint and thus made for a bad wife.

Your kids don’t need to grow up watching mom be unhappy & worn away, or watching dad treat her like dirt and getting away with it. If they catch on that you’re staying that way for their sake, it will mess with them. And there is a good chance they’ll end up ‘enduring’ a rotten relationship because, well, that’s how mom and dad did it. In the end though, it’s your marriage and your decision.

There are various 12-step programs (CODA and Alanon) that deal with the issues that you are trying to work through, specifically loving someone while abhorring their behavior. The best part of their approach is that it doesn’t matter what he is doing, the focus is on how to protect yourself.

I’ve read some great reponses here - I needed to have some different takes on this… I’ve been trapped in my head for too long now.

Good luck to you, Red. I’m sorry you have to go through this.

So how does he feel about an open marriage, where you get to play too?

He’s making excuses. And frankly, he was asking to be caught using the family credit card. Seriously?

You need to figure out what you can live with and don’t count on him to change. If he says he can’t help it because he’s broken, guess what? He will always be broken. If he takes some personal responsibility, there is a chance he could change. Because he will be dealing with his own choices.

Sorry you are having to deal with this.

The only other thought I would add is that it appears to me the wrong spouse is in therapy. Your husband is probably a pretty poor candidate for treatment. You, on the other hand, might benefit quite a bit from exploring your continuing to choose to be in this relationship.

The girl children learn that women put up with all kinds of crap from their man; the boy children learn that they can do whatever they want and their women should put up with it.

That’s the germane point, in my opinion too. Everyone’s had trauma in their childhood; it doesn’t sound reasonable to me for a 35 year old (for example) to blame stuff that happened 30 years ago for what he’s doing now. At some point you have to take responsibility for your own shit.

You’d be crazy if you actually did trust him at this point - he’s giving you no reason to trust him.

But…it says “Doctor” right there in your username! :stuck_out_tongue:

Agreed. I think you would probably benefit a lot from individual therapy, Red Bloom.

Sounds a lot like you’re being swept up in the cycle of abuse. Abuse can be emotional even when it’s not physical.

Hello RedBloom.

I don’t remember if I’ve had the privilege of speaking to you before. I tend to ramble, so please feel free to disregard anything I post that you deem irrelevant.

I’m weighing in here for a couple of reasons.

One, I can speak with experience about a certain matter. My father and my mother divorced when I was quite young, but old enough to remember it.

My father, in his heartbreak, turned to his ex-wife and her cocaine, and disappeared from my life for seven years. I have a long, long list of other childhood issues, trauma, and general unhappiness. Among other things, I lived with alcoholism, yelling, throwing things, cheating, and all other kinds of misbehavior. Most of the memories I have from my childhood are of painful things.

And precisely none of that has compelled me to cheat on anyone, in my life.

I am 30 years old. I carry lots, and lots, of scars from my childhood. What I took from my experiences is the following:

  1. Do not repeat my parents’ mistakes
  2. Do not make excuses for my own mistakes
  3. Learn to avoid making those mistakes

The second reason I am weighing in here is that I have a long history of hearing about other people’s relationship problems. Not only living with those who do have them, but just throughout my life, friends, co-workers, and perfect strangers on the internet coming to me with their relationship problems. And when I have offered my thoughts on their personal matters, the feedback I have gotten has been extraordinary. There used to be a website known as AskEarth, where people could pose questions to the online community, on any number of categories. I routinely offered advice under the Family and Relationships category and was the top A-rated member for years, until they became a pay-for-advice site and I no longer had anything to do with their website after that. My advice costs me very little to give, and I prefer to give it for free.

Bottom line, I feel like I have the personal experience needed to help you as best I can. I speak from someone in your husband’s position, which is someone with an absolutely terrible childhood. None of that is a valid reason to mistreat you in any way. None of it.

There’s no room for misunderstanding or equivocation here: Absolutely **none **of his childhood issues can be used to excuse his behavior here. And from what you’ve told me, he already knew what he was doing was wrong.

A) He was keeping it a secret from you, meaning he understood you wouldn’t approve and that your marriage is not an open one.

B) His reaction was to seek therapy and to plead with you to stay, which means he understands he was in the wrong, and what he did hurt you.

So this is not a case where he grew up in a household where his parents were so messed up that he is totally oblivious to how husbands and wives treat one another, nor is he showing any sign that he might have a psychological problem that affects his ability to understand what he was doing was wrong and hurtful.

Which means that he knew it was wrong, understood it would hurt you, and consciously chose to do it anyway.

Furthermore, he is creating an excuse for himself, to try to salvage the situation. It may earn your mercy, sympathy, or understanding if he pleads “bad childhood” to you as his reason.

That is not a valid reason. Full stop. You can safely discard this excuse, and even let him know, that excuse isn’t going to cut any crap with you from this point forward.

But this isn’t the whole story. This is only a facet of your issue, so please continue reading.

Absolutely. There is nothing that can have happened to this man for you to not feel betrayed by a betrayal.

Even in this wounded emotional state, you still feel compassion for his prior suffering. That tells me that you truly do care about him and are probably a very compassionate person in general, that thinks about others at least as much as you care about your own well-being. That’s why I want for you especially to get the happiest possible ending from this whole mess.

May I ask, *how *is this apparent?

This, like the explanation that he had a rough childhood, does not ring true to me.

Even if it were true, it would still only be an excuse, because it is ultimately just another way of saying he’s not entirely responsible for the choices that he’s made. Regardless of what he says to you, he chose to have an online affair with this person. That choice was not made for him when he was nine years old, and it was not made for him by fear. People are not automatons, there are very, very few cases where someone can get away with saying they were not in full command of their faculties at the time of an incident, and also say that it wasn’t their fault that they were not in full command of their faculties.

In short- all of these excuses do not matter. The choice was still made, and that choice was made every single time he turned on his computer and continued the affair.

It may provide motivation, at best. Nothing forced him to do these things.

A doctor with a lot of time to diagnose your husband is the only person who could realistically render judgment otherwise. Until then, he does not have such an excuse.

You are completely correct.

Now that we have gotten those matters settled unequivocally, I want to offer my advice. We are all armchair relationship advisers, but** none of us know your life so intimately that we can unilaterally make your decisions for you.** I may have been able to clarify that these excuses you were given shouldn’t cut any mustard with you, but that is only part of the story.

Continued from the previous post (I hit post reply too soon)

Only you can decide if this infidelity is something you are willing to forgive. You can never forget it, and in my opinion, you shouldn’t tolerate it, but there are couples who are together today because infidelity happened, and the couple worked through it together. And that is the choice made by both people involved.

Is this man worth it to you? If you love him deeply, and feel he loves you deeply, then perhaps it is. But only you can know.

If there’s a chance you can be happy together again, I want that to happen for you.

If it was me, I would not continue the relationship, because I don’t ever want to have to go through that sort of thing twice, from one person. Once is enough. However, that is because what is important to me is not getting hurt again. If what is important to you is finding a way for this relationship to work, no one can tell you that you are wrong to make that choice.

I would ask that you not accept explanations that give your husband a pass, he is not innocent in this matter, and he cannot explain it away.

And you absolutely should not tolerate any lies or excuses. And you should tell him that those things should never happen again, along with the cheating.

Some people make mistakes, and they can change. Others, have poor self-control and will repeat their mistakes.

Staying with this man risks you getting hurt again. Only you can determine for yourself whether that is a risk you’re willing to take with your heart.

Some will tell you to leave. Some will tell you to work things out. Those people are telling you what they would do, and what they think everyone should do in that situation. The fact is, some people are worth second chances. Others are not.

Which one your husband is, is something only you can know in your heart.

I ask you to please not accept excuses or explanations for his misbehavior, and I ask you to not look the other way. I ask you to stand up for yourself and choose the path which will give you the most potential joy, and the least potential heartache.

That choice is up to you: Do you attempt to make things work, or do you end things because of the broken promises and the lies and excuses?

You need not rush your decision. Realize that you can come back to this decision and reverse course if you’ve made a choice, and feel it was wrong.

But please do not make a wrong decision, and then continue making it. Figure out which one is right, and take all the time you need to make it.

I truly hope things work out for the best, whatever you decide.

My inbox is always open, and if you want further from me just ask.

Concur, and

@RedBloom

Speaking as a child who grew up with divorced parents, and *then *with a parent and step-parent who fought and argued constantly, I can honestly say I preferred the situation where the parents were happy and apart from one another.

The initial hurt was certainly considerable, but the end result where mom and dad were not constantly at one another’s throats was infinitely better for me than the everyday unhappiness of mom and step-dad.

However, I will also say this: Kids are tougher than you think. You should make the decision that is right for YOUR happiness.

When YOU are happy, your kids will be.

When you make sacrifices for your kids and are unhappy, your kids will be.

Not too long ago I spoke to someone about a person they were in a relationship with, who informed me that they had been cheated on repeatedly by the same person.

I asked her why they were still together, and the reason ultimately was, that she was “too nice” a person not to offer forgiveness, and more second chances.

The issue, was this wasn’t a second chance, or a third chance, or a fourth chance.

And, the high level of respect and affection and “apparent” love was a lot higher during the “apologetic” stage of their relationship, following each affair, and when that stage was over, this person’s significant other returned to the same disrespectful, abandoning, subtly coercive, passive-aggressive, and manipulative behavior.

It wasn’t just the cheating, it was the mind games.

Some people are really good at apologizing, and others are really good at accepting apologies. However, you cannot have a relationship where the only good parts of the relationship are when your significant other is sorry for how they’ve hurt you.

That’s a poor standard.

And I asked this girl, what would she say if I came to her for advice… and I told her I’d been cheated on repeatedly, and had my heart broken again and again… and I was mistreated whenever my SO wasn’t apologizing to me?

And she gave me great advice… Advice that she was unwilling to follow for herself, in her situation. Which was the advice I kept trying to give her.

She knows in her mind what the correct course of action is, but because her FEELINGS are getting in the way, she allowed herself to be subjected to the same manipulative person over and over, and kept forgiving it.

And she decided to give this person one more “second chance”, which would have been chance number six or seven.

And I then told her what she’d be telling me in a month, or two months, or six months, which is that she’d been cheated on again, and she feels terrible for falling for the same apologies, lies, and excuses once more.

In a few days she changed her mind and broke it off, and is happier now.

If this sounds like you, please recognize that you’re in a cycle of giving a person second chances that are not *second *chances, and the person you’re with realizes you will give him endless second chances, and is taking advantage of that.

Forgiveness needs not forgetting. Forgiveness means taking a risk that you get hurt again.

If someone hurts you over and over and over again, and realizes that, then they are not concerned about your feelings.

If they are not concerned about your feelings, they are not capable of having a loving relationship with you, only one where you make them feel good, and they apologize to you when they do not make you feel good, and that is the most you can expect from them.

Everyone, bar none, deserves a better expectation than that.

I go to therapy as well, I have some fun mood issues. In fact, I blame my mood issues on making my husband stray. Although, I feel like my mood issues stem from having so much distrust and suspicions of him :dubious: