What It Means When She Tells You She Kissed Another Man

Most people are basically moral. Meaning faced with a moderate degree of temptation, they will still do the right thing anyway. There are some crappy people in the world that don’t ever experience temptation, because they have no moral compass and just do whatever they want all the time. Most people are moral… but not saints… everyone has their price where they become okay with doing evil.

For example, ask me to kill a kitten… and I’ll say no. I happen to like kittens. Ask me to kill a kitten for $100 and I’ll still say no. It’s just cruel to think about. $1000… ah… no. $1 million bucks to kill a kitten… and… well… how many dead kittens do you need?

So let’s consider how the morality sliding scale works with affairs. Let’s create a fake couple Anne and Alex and the third wheel Brad and watch the slide from White (morally good) to Black (full blown affair)

White – Anne and Brad know each other and nothing questionable is happening between them.

White/Grey – In this transition point, the first crossing of the line happens between Anne and Brad. Usually it’s simply a low key feeler thrown out from the guy to the girl. Something “non-serious” and easily disclaimed as an accident or no attempt to be offensive. Failure to knock the feeler back by the girl is implied acceptance of the advance to Grey.

Grey – This is the zone where Anne and Brad know that something inappropriate is happening between them, they don’t want Alex to find out about it, but it’s also reasoned as being “just flirting”, “not cheating”, “harmless fun”. Except it’s not really any of those and is being kept secret. At this point it’s an emotional connection and not physical.

Grey/Black – Anne and Brad kiss. This marks the transition into the affair being more physical. It may not turn into sex with the first episode of kissing, but it can escalate very quickly to sex after the first kiss. It’s a major hurdle to cross.

Black –  Anne and Brad are now in a full sexual relationship and there’s a huge desire to hide it from Alex.

The idea for Brad is to navigate Anne through the scale of white to black at a steady pace, without stalling in any of the areas for too long, but not so fast that she hits a moral limit she isn’t prepared to break just yet. So he shouldn’t stall out too long for going for the kiss, but also shouldn’t go from introductory flirting to asking her to suck his dick either. (Try not to think of me as just having given advice on how to seduce someone’s wife, and more explaining how they do it.)

Now from Anne’s point of view…

White – Nothing is inappropriate, I love Alex. Brad is okay.

White/Grey Rejects Brad – I love Alex, Brad was rude.

White/Great Accepts Brad – I love Alex, Brad is funny.

Grey – I love Alex, but I’m falling in love with Brad.

Grey/Black Rejects Brad – I love Alex, I want Brad but I just can’t do this.

Grey/Black Accepts Brad – I love Alex, but when I’m with Brad I feel amazing, I can’t not do this.

Black – I love Alex, but it’s fading and I’m not in love with him. I’m in love with Brad and I’m starting to love him.

Importantly, if Anne rejects Brad at the White/Grey or Grey/Black transition points, there’s minimal chance she will tell Alex what happened. Most of the time he will never find out anything was happening. If it’s at the White/Grey line, there’s nothing to see and nothing to tell. If it’s at the Grey/Black line, all he’ll know is that she was a little distant there for a while, but then she stopped being a little distant. He quite possibly never notices anything was going on.

Far more interesting is if Anne tells Alex she’s been doing something inappropriate. This is always an ass backwards ultimatum and Fitness Test from her to him. It looks like a confession, but it’s far more than that…

Fitness Test angle first. Brad already knows about Alex, and has been making headway on Anne by indirect and stealthy means. So he does not want a confrontation with Alex. Alex however doesn’t know Brad is making headway on Anne, so he’s not paying particular attention to mate guarding Anne. So Alex is the sleeping Samurai, while Brad is the sneaking Ninja. So when Anne confesses to Alex something is happening with Brad, it’s like she suddenly flips the lights on and it’s all on…. Yo Samurai… there’s a Ninja…Why don’t you and him fight.

Whoever has the strongest overall male frame/presence will carry the day. If Alex turns into a spineless writhing blubbering weakling in front of Anne and weepingly begs her to come back to him… she’ll find a way to go back to Brad. If Alex suddenly reacts with controlled fury and seeks to defend what’s his, Ninja Brad will drop a smoke bomb and vanish.

Ultimatum angle second: Anne let Brad get as far as he did, because there was something lacking in Alex. Look I know that’s hard to hear, but it’s true. So not only does Alex have to puff up and scare Brad off, he’s also got to figure out what Anne is giving him an ultimatum about. She was prepared to risk the entire relationship by telling him about her thing with Brad. If she didn’t want to put the relationship on the line, she would NEVER have told him, she would have just broken it off with Brad.

The good news is that Anne does at least want to have a relationship with Alex… provided of course he fixes the problem.

The bad news is that when she told him about Brad, it was a fairly sanitized version of what really happened. Alex must always assume that worse things happened and find a way to divine the truth as best he can. If it was a case of she slept with Brad and then “gets away with it” by Alex taking her back without knowing, she’ll not respect him.

So Alex must immediately (1) get the other man out of the picture, (2) scare Anne half to death that he’ll possibly divorce her (she will fail to respect him unless he does that), (3) start fixing whatever structural weakness he has in holding Anne’s attraction.

And just to be clear, I’m not saying get in there and start trading punches… as tempting as that may be. I’m saying gather your information and find a way to get them not wanting to be together.



  1. How is divorce in the modern sense a threat? “Okay honey – since you want to be with Brad I am going to divorce you which means you get to move him into my house while taking the bank accounts, children, both cars, cash, and prizes! That’ll show you!”

    You are overstating. In anycase, divorce isn’t used as a threat, it’s simply that if it’s not possible to have a functional marriage because of cheating, the marriage needs to end and the purpose of divorce is to salvage what you can from it.

  2. greenlander says:

    Althol, your blog is awesome. You do a great job of what you’re trying to do.

    But every time I read a post like this, I wonder why I should want to get married.

    The single man’s version of the way to handle this is “My girlfriend is a skank ho who can’t keep her legs shut. Dump that bitch. Delete her phone number from my cell phone. Don’t talk to her again. Chase some fresh pussy. Problem solved.”

    As soon as the state gets involved through the institution of marriage there are so many more problems…

    Agree that marriage is a serious choice with long term consecquences.

  3. 2manypasswords says:

    This post assumes the guy will want to stay in the marriage in the first place.

    To an extent. If the husband simply wants to divorce, he doesn’t need to get advice about how to stay married.

  4. Jacob Ian Stalk says:

    So Alex must immediately (1) get the other man out of the picture, (2) scare Anne half to death that he’ll possibly divorce her (she will fail to respect him unless he does that), (3) start fixing whatever structural weakness he has in holding Anne’s attraction.

    Number 1 is mandatory.

    Number 2 is questionable. First, threatening divorce is probably not the best option as Anne’s character is revealed by the affair and the threat will become ammunition of ever-diminishing potency on both sides. This puts the bar on a downward slide for the rest of the marriage. Sooner or later a tipping point will be reached and family court cash and prizes will become too great a temptation for Anne to resist. An intact marriage should remain sacrosanct, for better or for worse.

    Number 3 is a wise strategy for husbands to take from the outset – preventive medicine, if you like. Better still, become a Christian and marry a woman who both knows and fears God. A God-fearing woman may still defile the marriage bed but she will incur God’s wrath – all the more if the husband remains true to his covenant with God. This will no doubt seem very Beta to the non-believer but God’s wrath is a powerful deterrent to women who understand what it feels like.

  5. OhioStater says:

    Why bother getting married, other than having kids? That is, hopefully legitimate kids. There’s no way you can test, but I’d assume the readers of this, and other man blogs, suffer from higher than normal rates of paternity fraud. Marriage just looks looks like a pain in the ass, more work than dating.

  6. Katherine Kelly says:

    Some people are more attached to truth than others. This attachment is so strong they do not have the ability to “rationalize” their wants to reduce the pain of cognitive dissonance.

    Truth seekers by their very nature are compelled to look inward so cannot turn away from their own contradictions.

    When their is no escape from self a person must be moral to escape self flagellation but for many there is no relationship with the moral self but only the concern with “appearing moral” so not getting caught is the same thing as being moral in there minds.

    They are good to the point that there are no witnesses which is not good at all.

    This is the essence and source of FRAME

  7. This is all well and good, but it’s missing the how. As in how would you make an aggressive man back off without throwing punches. One of the harder challenges is when you can’t defeat the other guy physically.

  8. Mistys dad says:

    This post ignores the nature of Anne.

    More likely scenario:

    Milf-in-her-own mind Anne is looking to take another carousel ride. After all, boring Alex does nothing but work 80 hours a week to pay for the house she picked out. When he’s not at work all he wants to do is boring stuff like play with the 2.4 children and mow the lawn.

    Brad is such an Asshole, how dare he make fun of her “Mommy Jeans” just before he sped off in his new Corvette. He does fun stuff like go skiing on the weekends and stay out late partying. But he’s such an Asshole. Anne even heard him bragging to his buddies about all the chicks he’s tapping.

    “But all I did was kiss him”

    In the parking lot,

    in the back seat of his car,

    and by “Kiss” I mean blew him,

    twice a week for the last 2 months,

    before we went to a hotel and got really freaky,

    Oh! but then Brad met Jane, and now I need my security blanket back….waaaaaaa”

    I already said in the post there was more to it than just kissing. You also gloss over the husband’s lack of attractiveness to his wife.

  9. This is a good post Athol, but what could push it over the top is getting really specific–telling a story about exactly what the Samurai does to make the ninja go puff, how to pur the fear of separation into her without making empty threats, how to figure out what has really happened, and how to identify the “structural weakness.”

  10. No joke…I was curious about reading one of those smut books women like just to see what elements of game are hidden in there.

    The storyline for the book I chose came down to a husband defending his wife from a guy she revealed that was falling in love with. When he took back the frame she fell back in love with her husband.

    Would the difference between White Knighting and defending a woman be that a White Knight defends her actions and defending a woman would be keeping her from doing self-destructive acts?

  11. The “how” to break it up is a long and separate set of posts.

  12. @taterearl, White Knighting is defending a woman when she doesn’t need it. Usually it’s when a man defends a woman that’s not his because he wants to improve his standing in her eyes, but sometimes it’s a man defending his woman from the results of her own bad choices. Either way, she learns nothing other than how to use you to get what she wants.

  13. Athol: “The “how” to break it up is a long and separate set of posts.”

    Well now you know your topic for the next few days’ worth of posts. Better believe it’s a topic many guys need to read about since they don’t have a clue how to bust up an affair without busting up the other guy and risking prison time and/or being busted up themselves…

  14. Killa Hertz says:

    taterearl, what was the name of that book? I’d be interested to read it.

  15. Georgia Boy says:

    The way I was told to translate cheaterspeak was:
    If she’s talking a lot about this guy and she seems to like him and is interested for some reason in assuring you nothing happened and she wouldn’t do that, there’s inappropriate flirting going on.
    If she says they kissed, they had sex.
    If she says they had sex once, they had an affair for a while but Brad is moving on and she wants to stay with you.
    If she says they had sex multiple times, she is leaving you for him.

  16. Joe_Commenter says:

    The man needs to confront this the same way they would confront a child that has done wrong. He needs to demand an immediate stop to the bad behavior. He must not listen to any wifely excuses. He needs to set expectations that he will not tolerate anything less than full accountability and an immediate end to any contact w/ Brad. The wife has put the husband in an intolerable situation. He must stop this NOW.

  17. Jason Coleman says:

    Your line “Why don’t you and him fight” in italics reminds me of the game “Let’s You and Him Fight” or LYAHF from Eric Berne’s writing on transactional analysis and “Games People Play”. His stuff is great reading on psychology and psycho analysis. It goes along nicely with your “Lizard Brain” theories.

    More info on the game: http://www.ericberne.com/games/games_people_play_LYAHF.htm

    The books of his to look into would be “Games People Play” or “What Do You Say After You Say Hello?”.

  18. “(2) scare Anne half to death that he’ll possibly divorce her (she will fail to respect him unless he does that),”

    This statement assumes that the possibility of a divorce occurring would have real life negative consequences for her (not simply emotional ones). That is why I called it a threat – the possibility of something unpleasant happening unless some behavior of hers, changes. My point was that the state has removed any short term negative consequences for bad behavior by the female making them solely the man’s responsibility and therefore the ability to scare a woman with a threat of divorce has no teeth. You do mention that divorce happening is scary but this is not what she will be told by countless friends/shelters/a lawyer if she speaks to one. The only way a divorce from the woman’s perspective would be considered a negative is if she feels she would lose something tangible (other than you and in the scenario you lay out she gains a new boyfriend so that’s a wash).

    The bigger question is how do you game your wife when in point of fact you have no real power? I grant you that you can appear powerful and domineering, strong, confident, etc. and this will increase her attraction (all to the good) but point of fact she is holding all the cards. You cannot summon a SWAT team on command. You cannot move your girlfriend into your house. You certainly can’t do anything with your own children without her permission and at her pleasure. This is how the law is practiced. 60-70 years ago yes you could remove her means of support and her financial picture would deteriorate immediately especially with children to care for. That is a real threat, but thanks to the law as practiced now you will be jailed unless cupcake gets her bon-bons.

    I realize this goes well beyond the post in question so apologies if this is off topic. I am a new reader of your site and I am genuinely curious as to how to pretend you have power in an environment in which you have *no* real power in any sense. Even the most dominant man will be brought low by the current legal regime.

    You miss the point. If you keep a wife who has gotten away with cheating on you, who shows no remorse… there’s no hope for a meaningful recovery. So you’re fairly well forced into ending the marriage, or otherwise you’re sticking around for whatever she makes Round 2 of this behavior to be. The wife that reports kissing another guy, actively wants her husband to win her back. Otherwise she would just cheat on him.

  19. John Q Galt says:

    Jacob Ian Stalk: “Christian” women are among the worst. Peruse Dalrock to understand why.

  20. Joe_Commenter says:

    @Remo: Your point of view is often brought up in this blog and forums. Many men don’t really think about all of the points you have made until we find ourselves in exactly this situation w/out any power what-so-ever.

    In other posts MMSL makes it clear that all men need to consider marriage with eyes wide open. I got married 25 years ago and even back then I was hesitant to go into the institution of marriage. Ultimately what made me take the plunge was realizing that my wife had a college degree and a bright future ahead of her. I made it very clear that she would be working full time, even if we had kids. If her earnings prospects were not solid I would not have married her. We dated for 4 years before I asked her too. So I knew her pretty well.

    Ultimately men have to be smarter about who they marry, if they marry at all. Athol makes it clear that the best way to stay out of trouble is to marry well in the first place.

  21. Well thought out post. So what is it like when the script is flipped, and the guy confesses? Alex, Anne, and Betty?

    Same deal. It’s an ultimatum / Final Warning she needs to attract him or he’s leaving/cheating.

  22. John K Smith says:

    Ex-wife kissed another guy in the parking lot of a bar on girls night out. Divorced her ass, never been happier.

  23. PastorofMuppers says:

    @ Mistys dad’s comment seems to say as much about the nature of Alex as it does Anne.
    Seemingly Anne married a man that let her steamroll over him when it came time to make what’s likely their most important financial decision (even when it clearly wasn’t in their best interests) and spends most of his time as a dull office drone, which almost surely takes a toll on his physical appearance. His interests away from work seem limited to playing with kids and mowing the lawn, and he apparently leads such boring life that a dude who skis and stays up late is seen as “exciting.”

    None of this justifies or excuses Anne’s actions, but Alex hardly is blameless. A man who’s made himself unattractive shouldn’t be surprised when his wife gets turned on by a guy who is attractive.

  24. “Most people are basically moral.”
    I’d say that people are immoral. What people have is a moral instinct that none completely follow, making them immoral, but often reminded of that fact. People feel better about it through constant rationalization, such as your example of ILYBINILWY.

  25. Jacob Ian Stalk says:

    @ John Q Galt

    ““Christian” women are among the worst.”

    Agreed. If the quotation marks in this comment carry their intended qualification, that is – i.e. not really Christian. It would thus be more accurate to say that Churchian women are the worst. To this I wholeheartedly agree.

    I note that my qualifying statement is “God’s wrath is a powerful deterrent to women who understand what it feels like”. Churchians understand neither God’s blessing nor His wrath.

  26. John Q Galt says:

    I suppose if you make an artificial distinction between “Christian” and “Churchian” women by defining any woman who goes to church, prays, calls herself a Christian, believes that Jesus Christ died for her sins but still engages jn hamster-inspired bad behavior as “Churchian,” then by definition you win. You prove nothing.

    I’ve known any number of women who misbehave and they way they hamsterize it is, they were “Unqually yoked”. That amd the Scripture that states that a man who does not provide for his family is worse than the heathen….the interpret that so broadly, that it is GOD’S WILL that they divorce.

    Again, you might define that at “churchian” vs. “Christian,” but it is obvious to most of us that you’re making a false dichotomy.

  27. Version3.0 says:

    Couple thoughts

    When my STBX said she’d engaged in “flirting that had gone too far” what she meant was multiple mutual masturbation sessions online, so I agree with the ‘cheaterspeak’ comments.

    More importantly, if you’re blue pill and she says this to you, you’re likely to think, “Wow, this is great. She fessed up and agreed not to do it anymore. We’re on the right track.” Actually, no. She’ll do it again if you don’t correctly interpret this as the “I kissed a guy” admission and slam it down.

  28. I am Anne. I confessed to my Alex before, during, and after (and it was a very long “during”). I have always wanted to fix what was wrong and have the marriage we always wanted. Or at least, the marriage I always wanted (still not sure what he wants, though he does want to stay together). But I don’t know how to get there. He bought your book (at my request) and I don’t know what else I can do. Just wait? How long?

  29. Jacob Ian Stalk says:

    @John Q Galt

    There is no false dichotomy – only incomplete understanding between us.

    The women to which you seem to be referring don’t seem to have the beliefs of a Christian – as I understand them to be. The Christian covenant is not merely believing that Jesus died for our sins but also living under the rule of Grace. This means forgiving each other for any and all transgressions, without exception.

    The Bible also teaches that God never abandons His people – once chosen, they cannot be unchosen. So using the excuse of “unequal yoking” as grounds for divorce is sinful.

    Paul teaches this:

    “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers”

    and qualifies it thus:

    “If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. “

    The only firm conclusion that can be drawn from this is that God hates divorce. Any woman who divorces her husband for any reason is defying God and will incur God’s wrath. It really makes no difference at all what leads to the divorce. God still hates it and will visit His wrath on those who practice it, in this life or the next. If the Bible is how we learn about God, and if Jesus Christ is His Son, then anyone who claims to be Christian but believes they have a right to divorce under certain circumstances is simply not Christian. The principle is what matters, not how we imperfectly categorise them.

  30. lurker/Anne:

    Go to the MMSL forums and post your question there. You’ll probably get good advice on the next steps, or pointed to posts where this has already been discussed.

    Good luck.

  31. ZLX1:
    Thanks for your input. Wow, you read an awful lot into my brief paragraph that simply wasn’t there. You may have missed the part where I said, “I don’t know what I can do,” i.e., please can anyone offer some positive suggestions on things I can do to make the situation better? Obviously I have ended the affair and accepted responsibility. It was my husband’s choice to agree to go to marriage counseling and reconcile. I suggested the book to him as a way of communicating to him the kind of marriage I would like, at the urging of our therapist. He can choose it or not choose it, obviously. Again, since MMSL is geared toward what men can do, I’m asking if there’s anything I can do, proactively, rather than just sit around and not have an affair. Thanks!

  32. Remo is correct. The betrayed husband is completely impotent in these situations. He has nothing to threaten his wife or her lover with. Therefore, only marry a woman who makes a lot more money than you do. That’s what I did. If she cheats, she’ll be paying me.

  33. Well my original comment got nixed. Lolz. I respect this is Athol’s blog and I recognize that I occasionally (but only a little) have a Tourettes / PTSD episode, but , well, I’ll try to be more positive this time ’round – here goes: Donning cuddly bear suit.

    Did the story arc of all this go something like this?:

    1. You unhappy, whatever the cause.
    2. You meet or know other dude.
    3. You have affair.
    4. You confess affair or get discovered.
    5. Stop affair after a bit. Why you stopped it kind of matters but you don’t have to disclose.
    6. You want hubby to go to counseling to solve this problem where he is not making you happy / you are not happy in the marriage. [Question for self reflection: is your unhappiness his fault or do you share in the responsibility for your own unhappiness?]
    7. Hubby agrees with your idea to go to counseling and reconcile. (You said he agreed to go, so that makes it sound like it was your idea – just want clarification, maybe it was his idea.)
    8. You would like him to make certain changes to increase the chance that you get happy with him and the marriage.
    9. While you are waiting for him to do that, you ask if there is anything else you should be doing?

    Some ideas:

    It would be a positive step to consider your husband more in all this.

    Such as:

    What are you going to change or are willing to change about you? If I were to ask you to list three concrete things that you think you need to change about you, your attitude to him and the marriage, or your conduct, things that you can take real action on to make the marriage a place your husband wants to be, what are they and will you do them?

    Have you engaged in a dialogue with him where you are actively interested in finding out what you need to change to give a positive incentive to your husband to want to stay married to you? He doesn’t have to stay married to you so what positive incentive are you offering him to take that risk given the track record so far?

    Are you willing to undertake changes on your part, even if you have to go first? (Notice where I said positive incentives to stay married to you. More on that later.)

    I would suggest to you that he’s probably not very pleased with you right now either so a proactive thing you can be doing is working your butt off to show him in action that you care about his well being, his feelings and that even though you recognize that you can’t really completely “make up” for what you have done, you are going to go gangbusters trying.

    Seriously, talk is cheap, you have to be all about actions. You’re going to have to consistently behave like you love him, care about what happens to him and that you very strongly want a future with him. A wife.

    You have some work cut out for you to prove to him that you are someone that he would want to stay married to. If, and maybe I am assuming, you are having the attitude that the “ball is in his court” or even mostly in his court, to make this marriage better. That’s the wrong approach.

    I know there might be a big laundry list of stuff you would like him to change and things that make you unhappy with him, but in this situation he is the wounded party and it would be a good move on your part to acknowledge that and to make moves of your own initiative to change things about yourself that need changing as opposed to waiting for him to complete his list and then see how it goes.

    Inaction on your part is going to really kill things. Also it kind of shifts blame to him for your behavior. You did the affair and now he’s got to go to counseling and get a list of stuff he needs to do as a result. See what I’m saying? He might well need to do those things, but context is important. You had the fun, he gets to pay the bill. If I were you, I would not put him in that type of situation, especially if this is all pretty raw for him.

    So I ask again, what’s are his incentives to stay married to you and to make his own changes and are the incentives you offer positive? If this were a business deal and you screwed me over and ripped me off, and now you wanted me to take a chance on doing business with you again, why would I do that? What are you offering that makes it worth my while? That’s what I’m getting at.

    You could say some of the incentives for him might be the following right now:

    1. You won’t cheat again.
    2. You won’t divorce each other and go through that hell. (It is hell, trust me.)
    3. It won’t cause financial ruin for you both.

    Those are all good things to avoid, but if those are the only incentives on the table to stay married to you they are merely avoidance of negative things. I’m suggesting that you take action to give him positive incentives to want to be married to you.

    You state that you gave the book to him at the urging of your therapist to communicate to your husband the kind of marriage you would like. Okay. That’s good. Communication is good. No problems there.

    Except, from what you have written so far it sounds one way. You should find out the kind of marriage your husband would like and what he would like you to change. You said earlier that you didn’t know what he wanted so that might be a good step.

    Find out and then take action regardless of where he is with his progress on the list of things you would like him to change. You might find as you do positive things he does positive things and you setup a positive feedback loop.

    The Lolz!

    Me, I would date your friends, but I’m a prick. The Lolz!!!!!!! (Couldn’t help it.)

  34. ZLX1:
    Thanks again for your input. Most of this doesn’t apply to my particular situation at this point, but that’s my fault for posting such a vague question and such a brief description of what is a very long and complicated story. I’ll continue reading blog and forum posts to try to find the help my marriage and my family need.
    Thanks everyone! :)

  35. Joe_Commenter says:

    Lurker: Congratulations for taking ownership of your mess up. It’s brave. I don’t fault you for being attracted to someone else. It happens. The attraction to others isn’t the problem. The problem is that you violated the cardinal rule of marriage. Your husband needs to get your attraction back. He needs to own that part.

    You have to own that you probably destroyed a part of the soul of your marriage. Own the mess you have created. The cheating will make your husbands MAP much much harder. The map is all about confidence. You have shattered your husband’s. This realization must shape you actions going forward. Generally, your attitude must be one of complete contrition. You need to work to display in any way possible that you want, need and love your husband.

    What can you do now?
    Most important is to personally commit to the marriage. Think about it very carefully. Do you want to go thru the pain of getting the marriage back? If you do, then commit to it. Get fully emotionally invested in it. You will need a lot of psychic strength to make it work. Without that commitment, the daily doubting
    whether it is worth it will kill you.

    If I were your husband here is what I would want to see from you.
    1. I would want you to act like you are sorry for cheating.
    2. I expect you to apologize and ask for forgiveness. No. I would expect you to beg me to take you back.
    3. I expect you to be tolerant and understanding of the anger and rage (not physical violence) I would feel towards you.
    4. I would demand and expect you to be OK with me snooping in on any email, facebook, phone, activity.
    5. I would expect you to publicly renounce Brad, cut all contact.
    6. Have patience w/ your husband’s progress. He is in no mood to do anything to please you.

    #1-3 I -would expect to see demonstrated over and over, for many months maybe even years to come. Anything short of that, I would interpret as you not being committed to reconcile with me.

    Lastly, consider redoing the vows in a year or so. Bring it up to your husband in 6 months. It’s good demo of your commitment.

    I wish you all the best. Everyone screws up. That’s what being human is all about. But you now have the opportunity to make your marriage better than you ever could have imagined it. This can turn out for the best. Use the process of getting over the pain as a way to grow together with your husband.

  36. FYI that I have had a long back and forth with “Lurker”. I’m not able to reveal what we talked about, beyond saying I think the situation is potentially fixable and there is a plan in action.

  37. This is EXACTLY what happened to my wife.

    Me: Nice Guy
    Wife: Can’t figure out what the hell is wrong with me, thinks it’s her fault.
    Neighbor guy: Starts throwing out feelers to my wife
    Me: Feeling that something is going wrong (like no sex in over 6 months) and she is hanging with the guys at parties and not the women.
    Wife: Starts talking divorce
    Me: Finds Athol and Dr. Glover
    Wife: Admits to “Feelings for another guy” (WTF?)
    Me: Digs into her email and texts and finds EA
    Wife: Moves downstairs
    Neighbor Guy: Starts setting up dates with my wife
    Me: Calls Neighbor Guys Wife and blows the whole thing up… (They were at Disney Land with the kids when I called!)
    Wife: Flips out but at this point I have read enough to know how things are going to shake down.

    After several months of therapy and reconciliation things get back on track and two years later we are doing fine, but the signs are always there if you want to look for them. Many women don’t expect it to happen to them, but it does if the husband is not doing his part. Otherwise there would be no reason to start the affair in the first place… Take it from me, it can be fixed at the last moment but I know I was one of the lucky ones.

  38. For a writer who claims to feel in the ‘dead zone,’ this article is on a pretty high level of understanding and is all-round excellent (as is the more recent ‘social contagion’ article).
    However you might feel about it at present, your writing – from the perspective of an outsider and lurker – is hitting new heights of insight and quality.

  39. Great article. I’ve been through this exact situation. The emotional roller coaster should not be underestimated – making good/logical decisions was not easy (close to impossible) at this point. For me, the natural response was to quit on the marriage emotionally …but I didn’t want a divorce (we have kids and I didn’t want to only see them every other weekend for the rest of my life) …and to start thinking about revenge (by that I mean find a girl to hook up with). For the first time in my life I saw a therapist …who helped pump up the samarai. I also stumbled on a short book (that I read in one night – all night) that cautioned me not to be a spineless writhing blubbering weakling (which is kinda funny if you could see me – I’m huge). The third thing, that was critical, is that I got access to her text messages (I’ll leave out the details since I’m not sure if my methods were legal or not :) – so I knew exactly what went on and what was going on. Shortly after she told me that she had crossed a line, he texted her to meet …he was flirting/hinting about a blow job. She told me that she had to go see a girl friend. The combination of the 3 things I did, with this situation culminated at that moment into me telling her that… I’m no dumb ass. I know what you’re up to and can read you like a book. You’re going to meet XXXX because he wants some ass. I should follow you and settle this with him once and for all, BUT given the way that you have been acting lately, you are not worth it. You can’t live her anymore, or be part of this family (there was another issue with her lack of parenting – she was basically going through a midlife crisis …at 30). The next day, we moved her out and she was cut off from everything. She was shocked – but (like the article alludes to) it was like she had been WANTING me to punish her. She bragged to her friends (in kind of a high drama sob story way) that I kicked her out …and that somehow, through some divine power I KNEW what she was trying to do (kinda like guys on girly movies who are completely in-tune with all the women and their emotions – blah). I had assumed that she would go hog wild once we were separated (I would have if I was in her shoes – no more chaperone). Instead, the affair ended and she spent the next 4 months trying to win me and the kids back. I eventually let her back. I never figured out what she was lacking from me. She claims it had nothing to do with me – said it was about seeing if she could still get young men’s attention. I don’t know about that. Women are strange. But she seems to be 100% devoted now – much moreso than before (not sure that I am anymore to be honest – still trying to forgive her for risking our marriage) …but I’ve learned that whenever she seems less than content, if I play the ‘bad boy’, become possessive, become more demanding, and not take any shit (I’m much more mellow than that naturally), she falls right back in line. It’s weird to me … she’ll complain about my bossiness, but with a smile on her face. I can tell she is happier that way. I was raised to be a gentleman, but I guess deep down there is something in her that wants to be ‘owned’ or possessed. So I give her what she needs in that respect.

  40. asdf,

    That’s brutally hard. It sounds like you’ve learned what you needed to learn to keep your relationship.

    I hope everything works out for you.


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