It began so subtly he never knew the affair began.

I was reading a comment that another blogger, hiddinsight, wrote to a woman struggling with the aftermath of her husband’s affair. Here is what hiddinsight wrote:

It [the affair beginning] is always soooo subtle. If it happened as fast as a slap in the face, no one would do it. We get sucked in because of the seeming insignificance of one thing. But each compromise leads to the next and you don’t even realize you’re doing it. Well, at one point you do…but you become a master at rationalizing it and making excuses. The longer you’re stuck, the harder it is to return to normal because it’s such a habit.

I sat with my computer in my lap and reread those words about three or four times. Letting it sink in. Letting myself absorb her words. Then I copied them and pasted them into an email to my husband. He responded to me saying he agrees. He said he was mired in the lie(s) in so many different ways. He said we could talk about it later but we’ve been busy with the kids tonight. We have a big family project going on this week and I know he values the time he spends with his kids.I am not going to drag him away from the children to discuss this revelation.

I hesitate to call it a revelation… but it was for me. I guess when you are the betrayed spouse you do get slapped in the face when you find out about the affair. You think of how many steps were taken before the betrayal began. In my mind, it began the moment he decided not to tell me about their friendship. In his head, he didn’t tell me because he never thought it was wrong and he wasn’t attracted to her or seeking the affair. He didn’t tell me because I told him I didn’t like her. I didn’t like her because I could tell she was lying about her career experience and I could also tell that my husband trusted her lies. He rarely doubts or underestimates people in his industry. In fact, he gives them respect they often don’t deserve. One of my pet peeves is his tendancy to inflate someone’s talents above his own. He acknowledges his own qualifications, but I have seen him (more than once) believe that a colleague has significant talent that is not warranted or justified. I could see he was doing this with her and I would not stand for it. So he didn’t tell me about their budding friendship. Once she discovered I was in the dark about their friendship it opened doors. She began flirting. He liked the attention but I don’t think he ever thought her flirtatious behavior and his acceptance for it would lead to an affair. But one secret led to the next until you are so deep you don’t even know why you are there.

I don’t know if this really helps. But it was a thought that caught my eye.


13 thoughts on “It began so subtly he never knew the affair began.

  1. Sadly it doesn’t in my case, but my husband’s A’s were much different. It went from 0-sex in an instant it seems.

    But the lies and deception making it hard to stop, yes, absolutely.

  2. Thanks for the mention 🙂 I’m glad the thoughts can be useful. I’m just sitting here with my hands on the keyboard, and an analogy popped into my head. In a way it’s like gaining or losing weight. It doesn’t happen overnight. It’s just a series of thought out movements in the right (or opposite) direction. The point is that it doesn’t happen if you do nothing, choose nothing, move nowhere. Sometimes I think that in order to protect my marriage, I must just avoid situations where I may be tempted. While there is truth in this, it’s kind of immature. All of us can be tempted. It’s not temptation that makes us evil. It’s what we choose to do with it. Like you said…keeping it a secret means you already feel ashamed, and it means something is wrong. You’re making those choices towards becoming obese by eating junk. This actually inspired another thought I had I am planning to post soon.

    • I think for men being totally honest is difficult. Not because they choose to keep secrets or tell lies–because they do not feel the need to discuss every element of their day with anyone. Since D-Day my husband will ask me if talking to his female clients is different now because he is suspicioius of how they interpret his comments. Honestly, he should. My husband is a very nice, friendly man–he can say things that seem really genuine and sweet to acquaintances but that he thinks nothing of the comments. They don’t resonate with him. But to a lonely housewife or divorce–it can mean the world. And that is pretty much how it began. Seemingly meanless comments to a desperate housewife.

      • “they do not feel the need to discuss every element of their day with anyone”…I know this. It bothers me. One of my greatest needs is “open & honest communication” and that includes HIM coming up with SOMETHING to share with me about his day. He is not intentionally keeping secrets, but sometimes talking about his work day gets him all riled up because it is stressful. When he comes home, he wants to forget his day.

        I digress (or perhaps I need a blog post for this topic!) It makes a lot of sense that he would off-handedly say something that would be misinterpreted by someone who wants to read more into it. I am assuming that he is willing to learn what to say and not say…? I’m certainly not as willing to help anyone of the opposite sex!! I have taken the “Sorry…not my problem” attitude…because I just can’t fix everyone. 🙂

      • My husband is the same way–since day one. I remember when we first got together I would say: “How was your day, Dear?” And he would say–I just want to be with you and not think about all the stress from my day. Yes, through the years we found ourselves venting about our day or going to each other for ideas. But I think men really don’t like to bring work home.
        What’s funny is my husband being drawn to help his AP through her “struggles” with her marriage ending. My husband does not like when people complain about their lives–he feels strongly that you make the bed you lie in (now he is living that). So why did he feel like his friendship was so necessary for her? He told me recently that he didn’t feel she was ever really attracted to him and he often was waiting for her to move on to someone else. He even said he hoped she might reconcile with her ex-husband since they have three children too. It’s odd to me that he involved himself at all with this type of person.

      • “What’s funny is my husband being drawn to help his AP through her “struggles” with her marriage ending.” It’s pretty normal for people who like to FIX things. Soooooo many affairs start this way. My last post describes how mine started this way. It’s weird how we can separate this “make your bed now live in it” attitude to those whom we live with, and those who are out there in the world, we just want to help. It’s because we don’t know them well enough to say these things. There’s no PAY OFF for saying these things to an acquaintance. The PAY OFF comes when you see them depending on you and the affect you have on them. He felt like his friendship with her was “necessary” because he was getting a pay off. He felt like a hero. He felt powerful. It fed his ego to help.

        During my whole affair I was trying despeartely for the OM to give his wife a chance to fight for her marriage. I stupidly thought that we could do it together. Even when I “fell in love” with the feeling of being able to help him, I still wanted to do what was right. But I was stuck in the addiction, and couldn’t think straight. It was too late.

        If I had to do it again, I would make sure that I am helping people who are within my realm of help. Children. Women. Not men. NEVER again will I help a man.

        And if I were in your shoes (I tread so carefully here), I would make sure that I “NEEDED” him so he could come and rescue me. Not in the sense that I’m pathetic or made stupid choices, but in the sense of “lack”. I don’t know any other option to naturally feed his ego. Men just need to be desired. When it’s lacking at home, they sniff it out like a bloodhound.

        I totally understand your confusion. I hope something I said maybe helped a bit.

      • This all helps. I am going to share what you wrote with my husband tonight. Because reading your words actually made some thoughts click in my brain. Like I get it.

        Yes, I know what are saying about my husband needing to know that I NEED him. It’s ironic because I was reading about his astrological sign (Leo) today, which is odd for me, and it said that Leo’s need to feel praise and flattery…. things that you forget to do after 10 years of marriage and three kids. Not that I buy in to horoscopes and all… but it was interesting to read that a Leo “needs to be needed but will never ask for praise and adoration. A lack of attention will hurt a Leo’s ego and he will suffer in silence.”
        I’ll let you know my husband’s feedback.
        Thank you.

      • I know, right!! I wrote a post about “Maintenance” today because I’m feeling the same things! We’ve been married for 15 years though, so there is NO AVOIDING it 🙂 Cheers.

        I agree with your feelings on horoscopes, but I think that it is bang on for today…ha. Hope you have a great conversation tonight!

  3. Funny, my husband said that from the beginning and I refused to beleive it. (He’s also a Leo who needs “stroking” but would suffer in silence-that is until he didn’t.) But months later I kind of intellectually understood it, the first miss step, or boundary crossing, leading to another and another until it escalates and the rationalization. But emotionally it speaks to me of monumental self-indulgence and utter self-absorption that to this day I still struggle with “getting.” I guess because this is so alien to me. I always think of him…but am learning to let it go because he is thinking of me now.. Still…yikes..

    • I feel the same way–if I focus on the questions of how did he let their relationship go that far? Why couldn’t he get out of it? Why…. I’ll end up dulling my mind with questions that cannot be answered rationally. My husband let it go that far because he was not happy with himself and her attention made him feel good in some way. It’s always ironic though to hear him say now that there was still this emptiness when he was with her. As though he wanted her attention to make him feel good but it really wasn’t fulfillment.
      Like you said, the most important thing is he is here for me now.

  4. Pingback: Why did my husband cheat? | Healing After My Husband's Affair

  5. I never thought of it like this. But my husband’s affair didn’t seem to happen this way, well to me anyways. To me, something subtle would appear to happen over a long period of time. And the affair my husband had didn’t seem to. But I am comparing that to how we started, which was subtle. Now, it took 7 years of friendship with me for my husband and I to be in a place where we were finally able to explore being together. It took him all of a month to land this side chick?

    He became suddenly interested in his little Pop Tart the weekend of April 22nd 2016. It was the first time he lied to me about working OT. He went to a friend’s house and gushed about how much he liked this new chick to his buddy he works with over drinks, and supposedly his buddy was trying to talk him out of it. He spent the night since he was too hammered to drive home. That following Monday, April 25th, my husband started looking her up on FB in his search engine (where he looked her up multiple times in a two week period, which sent me my first red flag on who he was interested in). They had lunch alone April 29th and then suddenly he sleeps with her May 21st.

    I asked him just yesterday what made him “suddenly” interested in her, because to me his interest in her began that April 22nd weekend. He told me it was the way she looked at him when he saw her at her work during that week. It was the way she let him know that she was having issues in her marriage and she wasn’t happy. He said he knew if he asked her to lunch, she would say yes. In my eyes, his little relationship with her went from 0 – 60 mph in a very short amount of time. But I suppose each affair starts differently. I mean if you look at it in a subtle way, he did exchange numbers with her first, then they texted, then lunch and so forth. But to me, if you are married, you DO NOT give a woman your number. That is where it started for me. That should not have come across as being innocent or subtle. That is knowing it is wrong, but flirting with the idea of what if it could become more. That is exploring your options. That is showing interest in someone else, while you are not available. I know this may sound crazy, but I believe he wanted to have a side thing. My husband is a flirt, And when you are married and flirting, it is a lot like fishing. And I believe he flirts with women he is interested in to see if they flirt back. He is fishing to see if he can catch a fish. And if they do flirt back, he has a live one, reel her in.

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