6 Truths About Why The A Had To End

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-26-2012
6 Truths About Why The A Had To End
Sat, 11-03-2012 - 8:44am

Here are six truths as to why I ended my A.  Helpful to me whenever I get misty-eyed; hopefully helpful to people on this site:

Truth #1:  He was going to be unavailable for a *VERY* long time.  This meant an uncertain future.  He has three (3) kids still in school; a co-parenting arrangement with shared rotating living arrangements w/ spouse; he was emotionally unavailable and was constantly texting/checking email when we were together, etc.... I remember hearing a text message come in on his phone at 3 AM.  I wondered just who was contacting him at that hour!

When I was single/divorced 10+ yrs ago, I was completely free (I didn't have children with my 1st husband - and I still don't have kids into my 2nd marriage).  I dated a man similar to my xAP - except that man was fully divorced.  Even so, he was still very much entwined in the family thing and fought frequently with his ex.  The children always came first - it was like a popularity contest with his wife sometimes... who did the kids love more, mommy or daddy.  I tried hard to support them - fed them, took trips together, expressed love for them, etc... but it never felt right for me.  It was like they were all in a survival boat together and I was in the attached dinghy behind them.  So even after the divorce happens, it can take YEARS before someone can truly move on.

Truth #2:  It was getting messy - I knew it, but he was always holding it together/holding it inside.  He was going through a difficult separation and divorce (his wife cheated on him with a mutual friend) and he was keeping everything bottled up inside.  He showed surprisingly little emotion and this was alarming to me.

They were forced to short-sell their home; he had to sort through their belongings, his tools, including big power tools he once used.  He talked about it so factually with me, like it was just another activity.  (If I were forced to examine, sort through and dispose of the evidence of my life, I would be terribly sad.)  This was a red flag for me.

Truth #3:  He was geographically unavailable.    He lives nearly 500 miles away and was geographically unavailable.  I think he wanted it that way - he could have it both ways - time with the kids/local friends & getting their sympathy that he was "alone"; when I was far away, out of sight and undetectable by people close to him.

Truth #4: The A wasn't enough for me and was not satisfying.  The time that followed intimacy, in moving on to the day, was awkward and unsatisfying.  I wanted him to hug me, look long and lovingly into my eyes; perhaps sneak a kiss or whisper in my ear.  That just didn't happen.  I don't think he knew what to do... it had apparently been so long since he had made love the first time we got together.

Also, while his text messages were beautiful, our phone conversations left me flat.  In our last phone call, all we talked about was his new job, his kids, his this... his that.  At some point, I wanted him to ask about me and how I was doing; how I was dealing with my own serious marital problems... I wanted him say how much he missed me; when he thought we could get together again; how he thought of me in the middle of his work day, etc... but he didn't.  He was ready to hang up without repeating some of the beautiful things he expressed in his texts.  It was unsatisfying.

Truth #5:  I started to have feelings for him; I could see I was starting to get attached/needy in the face of an uncertain future.  I never knew when we could be together.  Plans were not made and I refused to make suggestions.  I absolutely did not want to become attached to him (knowing all the the above truths!), but was heading there.  I felt I was losing control and becoming a little needy.  I found this to be the most difficult to deal with.  I think when people get attached in a bad situation like this, and don't stop what's making them so, there's a good chance someone else will stop it for them.  In my case, I felt that if I could not control where and when this A was going, I could at least have control over when and how it ended.

Truth #6:   I was making him out to be more than he really was.  He was kind of boring, really.  His job was his life.  He could talk up a storm about his (technical) work and his golf game, but beyond that, he struck me as being socially awkward (it's funny, there's a TV commercial running at the moment about a guy who gets dumped after his girlfriend tells him how boring he is - http://nyti.ms/OdwLa7). 

I'm posting this so that I can go back and remind myself why my A had to end.  I hope it helps some of the other posters to think about the reality of their own situation as well.


iVillage Member
Registered: 08-18-2008
Mon, 11-05-2012 - 1:39pm

Cannot bump it up so here is the link to the thread in the HL"


Go to the last post on the "Are You a Victim?" thread in the HL for the link to the article. I pasted the link to the article in the last reply there because it looks like it got lost during the board change over.

Whether you think you can or you think you can't you are probably right. A parrot can repeat what it has learned but the mark of true intelligence is applying what is learned.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-18-2008
Mon, 11-05-2012 - 1:17pm


It’s great you see the problems areas in your M and are working in counseling to see if they can be resolved.  It’s great you are taking off the rose colored glasses we talk about here to see your A and xAP with more lucidity. It’s equally great that you’d like to share your story in hopes to help others especially those who may be/have been in abusive Rs. Those all can be positive areas to look at and actively make changes when possible.

When I talk/write to those who have been a victim and have been victimized, I try to be compassionate while still being an advocate. I never encourage staying in the victim mindset because that can keep the person feeling helpless. The victim mindset stays hyper focused on other people and/or environments and what they have done “to” them leaving little room to feel empowered to make changes. To make changes, one has to understand if/how their choices factored in. While it is never fun to take credit for making bad choices like each of our choice to enter into an A. No one made the choice for us. Each of us made that choice ourselves. Of course abuse in a M, makes you more vulnerable but not everyone choses to handle an abusive M the same. Not all choose to have an A.  There are other forms of escape. There are other coping mechanisms. There is a reason each of us chose the coping mechanism we did (having an A) and I’ve found it has soooooo much more to do how each of us tick then it does with what others do or did.

I’ve found that while there may be differences problems in each person’s environment/different factors influencing them, more times than not when their choice is to have and A, it is a result of an “individual” coping mechanisms to stressors in their life.  The coping mechanism is often developed long before they have the A and often is developed in childhood. The reaction/coping mechanism is usually at the core of the choice and rarely changes no matter how different the individual catalyst.

For me and for others I’ve seen heal, it takes getting brutally honest with ourselves, to look at the not so pretty parts of ourselves, and to accept and own our choices. It’s not easy and it’s not fun but the end result if you are willing to do the work is very rewarding.

I would also like to encourage posters to work on “I” statements not just in regards to ending the A but in regards to all choices we made throughout the A.

My “I” statements would look like this:

I chose to be involved in an A.

I was unavailable to get involved in another R because I was M.

I painted a better then life portrait of myself during the A to xAP.  

It’s important for me to understand I chose the A because then it becomes clear to me that I’m in control of whether or not to choosing it again.  I’m going with the NOT.

Owning our choices empowers us to make changes and/or healthier choices in the future. Hope this helps someone in some way.


ps: There is also a thread in the HL explaning how to get out of the victim mindset and why.all I will look for it and bump it up if I find it.

Whether you think you can or you think you can't you are probably right. A parrot can repeat what it has learned but the mark of true intelligence is applying what is learned.

Avatar for wClarity
Community Leader
Registered: 11-04-2012
Mon, 11-05-2012 - 8:09am

Morning Pac :)

You are so right about counseling...it can't be stressed enough.  Sometimes it'll take some shopping around and even a first appointments to find a good fit.

It made all the difference in the world for me.  I sat with a therapist seasoned in adoptions as I embarked upon my journey to find my birth parents.  

Then years later, I sat with another to help get me out of the mess of my life I had created with JAM, but she was not a good fit...too often I saw shock register on her face even though she tried to hide it :)...so she was no good. And I wasn't doing anything all that shocking, but she was older and I guess maybe she was easily shockable and she often sat silent instead of trying to draw things out.  So I was lucky enough to find this younger one...and she was awesome. Most of my difficulties stemmed from being adopted, and so I had separation and abandonment issues...and boy did these become glaring apparently with JAM.  And I was an only child.  I'll have to read up on that.  You mentioned it and I actually saw a book years ago that was about the order of a child in a family.  I had no idea how each child has their own set of behaviors as a result of that.  I did read the series of books on motherless children...my adoptive mother died when I was 16.

I am glad you are settled in and comfortable with the therapist you have now and thank you for sharing so openly.



Community Leader,

Ending an Affair Support Board

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-26-2012
Mon, 11-05-2012 - 7:56am

For those reading this, be kind to yourself.  We do the best we can to find someone who we feel is like us and with whom we can build a happy life.

The US has one of the highest divorce rates in the world.  If you are considering leaving your marriage after an A, seek help from a qualified counselor who can help you through this difficult time.  You owe it to yourself and your H to try to resolve your M issues, one way or another.

We have one life on this earth.  Do your best to make it better.

Avatar for ratherbeme
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-23-2010
Sun, 11-04-2012 - 10:19pm

I have found that the reasons for having an A are generally something is missing in YOUR life, not what is happening in someone elses.

In my case I felt my marriage had been over for a long time, and was in reality looking for exit from it. Many call it an Exit Affair.

I thought I was in love, was ready to leave my long time marriage and in the end felt rejected by my AP when she wouldn't commit to moving on to something more permanent.  Sounds familiar doesn't it???

In my case I am married to a serial cheater, and have been on the bad side of DDays for our whole lives.  It sucks. 

It was my justification.  At least all that I needed.

I was wrong.  There is no justification.  My spouse has her problems, which have been diagnosed, and still it makes no justification for what I have done.

I felt strong enough to love another person, I should have ended what I had.  I too played it safe, and stayed.  I continue to stay. 

You are making an attempt at reconciliation.  Good for you.

I just continue the same old attempt at living a life that I can tolerate, like I had before I got involved with my AP.

It has taken me a long time to realize the justification part is tricky.  I understand mine, but I don't get yours.

We only miss what could have been. I know I don't miss what it really was.

Avatar for wClarity
Community Leader
Registered: 11-04-2012
Sun, 11-04-2012 - 6:11pm

I was only pointing out, Pac, how it is all about *our choices*.  And when we look back and see all the relationships in our lives that were bad for us, we must look at that particular 'why'...because *we* are the common thread.  And individual counseling can help us with that.

I, too, had to look at that in myself.  I was in several relationships that never worked out.  My therapist pointed out that I was repeatedly making bad choices in men.  It was all about me...and my bad choices.

I am not taking from you the fact that you are in a tough situation with a difficult man...I'm just trying to make you see that this tough situation/difficult man was not a justification for having an affair.  And every time you talk about why/blame your husband...that is justifying.  I'm sorry it is hard for you to hear that. I don't mean to hurt your feelings.  

There are healthier ways/better strategies/better copy mechanisms to deal with a bad marriage/difficult partner...as you well know in hindsight.



Community Leader,

Ending an Affair Support Board

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-26-2012
Sun, 11-04-2012 - 4:42pm

Sorry, WC, but I have been in a verbally-abusive relationship with an insecure man long before the A happened.  This is not our first time in counseling.

My friends have seen my H's behavior first-hand, many times and long before my A.  They've begged me to leave him, many, many times.

I am absolutely not, nor have I been, getting what I need to be happy in my marriage.

Hopefully if there are other abused women reading my posts, they can relate/see some of themselves.

Let me once again underscore that I ended my A because I did not think it was a healthy way to deal with my marital problems, and I said as much to my xAP the last time we communicated.

The A happened because I am married to someone who grew up in a bi-racial family in the 60's and 70's, at a time when mixed-marriages were taboo.  He has severe identity issues because of that - white women whose parents would not allow them to continue dating him; constantly being asked, "what are you" by stupid people.

He has some pretty severe identity issues that are absolutely the root-cause of his deep-seated insecurities that have effectively made me his verbal whipping post in the privacy of our own home.

I like you, WC, but please, please do not accuse me of lamely justifying just why my A happened.  Not every A fits neatly into the round hole.  Mine certainly doesn't.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-26-2009
Sun, 11-04-2012 - 2:04am
Brilliant post! I can relate to so much of what you wrote. If it wasn't for a few details I would of thought our xAPs were the same man. Thanks for posting - it really helped reading. I needed this today :-) WGO
Every recovery is a kind of rebirth
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-2005
Sat, 11-03-2012 - 7:25pm

Hey Pac :)

I feel I need to say something because what I am seeing, as I often see with many, is too many justifications for having an affair.  My marriage was missing this...my husband wasn't doing this...my husband is this way or that way and not giving me what I need.  And whereas those are good excuses and things that certainly need addressing, they still are not a reason to have an affair.  And before I go on, this goes for the majority of us....bad choices...bad coping skills. 

It seems you have made some pretty bad choices in regards to men.  I mean, was your husband always this way?  Did he change after your were married, where suddenly this controlling, jealous, insecure man appeared?  Did you choose to blind yourself to his character flaws...or think you could change him and choose to marry him anyway?

We can justify to ourselves why we felt entitled to have an affair, but it is in our better interest to delve into why and how did we find ourselves here...kwim?  

We are here at this point in our lives because of the choices in life we have made.  And for sure, not all our choices will pan out as we had hoped, but how we cope with the consequences of our choices will determine and shape our future happiness and contentment.

Now, I know you haven't told your husband of your affair, right?  But you are sitting in marriage counseling, keeping this major secret off the table...what you are capable of...and so now all eyes are on your husband's behavior and problems only...somehow that doesn't seem fair.  Is your therapist aware of your affair?  Did she suggest individual counseling for you?  Because really, this is all about you because the bottomline is always about our own conduct...how we behave in any given situation...and individual counseling can help us make better choices for a happy healthier us.

I hope you don't feel that I am putting you in the hotseat.  I just felt I need to make these observations.  Let me know what you think.



iVillage Member
Registered: 09-26-2012
Sat, 11-03-2012 - 6:14pm

Hi, Changedforever3.

This is very hard... the sense of loss, missing the xAP despite it all, etc.... 

I believe an A often happens for a reason.  In my case, it was *clearly* because something is missing in my own marriage.

I am married to someone who is terribly insecure, witholds spontaneous displays of affection, is often inches away from an argument with me; argues with our poor innocent dogs, argues with his own family, etc...; is constantly questioning me about my whereabouts; why am I late; why didn't I call him (yet he can do as he pleases), why am I on Facebook/email/Words With Friends; is constantly complaining about all the work that needs to be done around our house (yet refuses to take the initiative to do anything about it/contributes very little).  Throughout our 11 year marriage, he has essentially left me with the majority of the emotional heavy-lifting in our life.  The few times I've asked him to place difficult phone calls or deal with service people I've arranged to come into our home (things that are beyond my reach), have usually led to tense, escalated screaming matches that begin with his angry response to my request.

So, as you can imagine, when my xAP finally mustered up the courage to kiss me tenderly for the first time, it was like water on a parched desert.  I wholeheartedly embraced those few months we had together.

I know I am a beautiful woman, but my husband rarely, if ever, tells me.  People who are insecure don't say things like this, because they don't want you to be confident (and risk being confident/attractive to another male).  My xAP told me I was beautiful all the time.

Still, I knew the A was doomed from the start (given the above 6 truths), but the *important lesson* I learned was that my marriage and my future happiness was/is in serious trouble.  I knew it before the A, but now that the A is over, it's raw and glaring.

We are in marriage counseling now, but I'm just not sure if we have a future together - at least right now.  Our sessions so far have been all about his problems (and he has 99.9% of them).  For the first time, I've realized that I can actually ask for what I want in life.  And I'm not sure this is it; not sure my H can give me what I need.  I privately feel it's too late.

We'll just have to see.