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#59408 - 04/30/04 11:28 PM No excuses for infidelity
April Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/15/03
Posts: 10
Let me apoligize for sounding angry. But everytime I come in here, all I hear is historical blame for "acting out".

Yes, SA victims have a right to be outraged and disrupted mentally. However, it still provides no justification.

When you are in a relationship, you are portraiting to the person that you are with a life of committment and love. Not a life of deceipt and lies. It still comes down to pure respect for your partner and life.

Are we supposed to accept our partners "acting out" and exposing us to ... who knows what.. because of childhood experiences ????? years ago.

I have nothing but emphathy for the SA victim, but there are other victims at hand. The people that trusted and loved and were trashed aside for reasons I will never begin to understand.

Bottom line: It is still a betraying, deceiptful act - no matter the source. Therefore, no excuses.

A coping? wife


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#59409 - 05/01/04 12:10 AM Re: No excuses for infidelity
theo Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/28/03
Posts: 1122
april,
male survivors come to this site for one reason only, to understand their current journeys on the way to overcoming the disability of the trauma. there is no attempted justification for acting out and we are fully aware of the impact it has on our families and partners. we come here to support and help each other to overcome debilitating trauma. i understand the parner's anger and sense of betrayal. i lived through it four years ago when my former wife abandoned and betrayed me. i also lived it last year when i was overwhelmed by behavior i could not comprehend and ended up drastically hurting lady theo. it is not possible to truly experience empathy unless you have been able to experience the raw pain we go through. we do not act out and try to justify or rationalize it later. we come here to understand, not to be judged.

i believe, and trust, that your intent was nothing more than to voice your own understandable anger. i hear that, i validate that...however, i caution you to re-evaluate the words you used to express this anger. the men who come here come here to learn and to grow while we are struggling with hell itself.

_________________________
journey well,
theo dewolfe

- It is gift, and gift will find its way
- I inherit through my choice. I build through my affirmation. It is through my freedom that I nurture, or fade into autonomy
- I was not given to serve life, but to embrace it

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#59410 - 05/01/04 02:54 AM Re: No excuses for infidelity
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
Hi April,

What you see as excuse making, I see as a dialogue between survivors and partners who are all trying to understand and move on from an experience that is hurtful to everyone involved. Most of the survivors I've seen discuss their acting out here make no secret of, and have no excuse for, the hurt they've caused their loved ones. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen someone come here trying to minimize or justify hurtful and unhealthy behavior, and NOT get set straight by survivors and partners alike. I think we are all here trying to learn about the things you mention as "given" in relationships--trust, respect for our lives and our loved ones--some of us for the first time.

Let me be clear. I don't excuse my boyfriend's actions. I forgive him for them. I am able to forgive him because I believe and understand that his inexcusable behaviors were rooted in the inexcusable actions that characterized his childhood, for which he is not at fault, and which I'm sure he'd gladly trade any "fun" he had acting out not to have experienced in the first place.

He still bears the responsibility for these actions and I don't accept any justification or excuse for what I've experienced as an "other victim" of his abuse. I don't accept "acting out" as a necessary or fundamental part of our relationship, I accept it as something that occurred... and he has had to accept it as well and acknowledge it to himself and to me. I choose to focus with him on the present and the future. I do not choose to let myself or my relationship be victimized by anger and blame any longer. These are the ways I express MY committment and love.

It took me "discovering" my boyfriend's acting out for him to tell me about his abuse at all, although I suspect that since he successfully kept it all from me for so long, he probably orchestrated the discovery because he was ready to tell.

The painful and clearly important link between the abuse and the affair seemed so insane to me, and so difficult for him to talk about, that I was convinced that there must be something legitimate about it for him. As I learned more, I began to understand and believe that the lessons he'd learned about power, sex, self esteem and "manhood" led him to act out as a "last resort" method of escaping/coping. As you say, we may never understand it entirely, but then again, I believe in a lot of things I don't entirely understand.

SAR


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#59411 - 05/01/04 04:36 AM Re: No excuses for infidelity
Wifey1 Offline
Member

Registered: 12/03/02
Posts: 380
Dear April,
I hear your anger and yes I can Identify with it. Sometimes still even feel the anger and the rage more so than other times when I feel the empathy, helplessness and deep sadness.
When I first learned of my spouses "acting out" I know he was not looking for, nor seeking "justification" of his actions. He had spent entirely too many years of his life doing just that ... justifying his actions by acting out, in the form of sex addiction, sex with prosititutes, drug abuse, drug addiction, alcoholism, self harm, lying, blaming, avoidance, gambling - the list is or could be endless in his actions that he tried to use to justify his actions that he chose to attempt to deal with the results of his childhood sexual abuse and other abuses he survived.

Quote:
When you are in a relationship, you are portraiting to the person that you are with a life of committment and love. Not a life of deceipt and lies. It still comes down to pure respect for your partner and life.
I can only speak for myself as a survivor and for what I understand of my spouse as a survivor in regards to portraying to a person a life of committment and love. What I and my spouse learned from our abuse and our families of origin about committment and love is exactly what we portrayed to each other, and included in that portrayal to each other we also shared what we "believed" a normal healthy relationship should or could be. Real or perceived. Most of what we were taught were a double edged sword, a price to pay for anything good, a price of severe pain be in emotional or physical. Never written out nor spoken neccesarrily but expected the never ending feeling of waiting for the other shoe to drop to "prove" that our gut instincts were right, or that so & so knew better than we did. Yet we were "True and Honest in presenting in what WE "knew as our committment and love" at the time.
For my spouse and I all we grew up with was a life filled with deceit and lies. There fore not knowing that life could hold real honesty or truths, taught that even our very basic animal instincts to trust our guts were "wrong" , all we had to hold onto for truths were the ones taught to us. We never knew what a lie was or what deceit was, we only knew that what we felt never matched up with what our heads or what others told us never mind our hearts.
Basically, deceit and lies WERE our TRUTHS. Because of this it was ALL we knew for Respect for not only the first most important "our SELVES", but for our chosen Partners.
Quote:
Are we supposed to accept our partners "acting out" and exposing us to ... who knows what.. because of childhood experiences ????? years ago.
No, we dont have to "accept" our partners acting out and exposing us to who knows what. Only we as individuals can define what we are willing to choose and or accept, work to understand, as individuals in a relationship we also have the right to express boundaries, request, demand and command respect, empathy, compassion and understanding of our role in being a partner of a survivor. We also owe it to ourselves to prepare a back up plan or be able to support ourselves if by chance the relationship with the survivor ends.
In my own experience in this short time of learning to rebuild a better relationship with my partner probably the hardest part I have had to learn to really look hard and deep at is my very own beliefs, boundaries and what I as an individual am willing to accept as responsibility, obligation and to OWN my very own behaviors that allowed for the years of deceit and lies to continue to be the cornerstone function of our relationship. It's been very painful, and I have felt tremendous shame and embarrassment when I've come across a discovery of an area that because of what ever real or imagined reason I chose NOT to confront or communicate to my spouse over what ever issue was at hand, whether it was a lie or deceit or just a plain ol feeling of I'm cleaning the bathroom more than he has. I have had to come to an understanding that I made the bet choices I could at the time with the knowledge I had at the time. Quite simply we functioned and continue to function to the best of our abilities with the tools we had at the time and are developing now as we move through and forward in our relationship.

Quote:
I have nothing but emphathy for the SA victim, but there are other victims at hand.
I think I have heard the term or phrase used to describe this as "co survivors". It is true - the effects of sexual abuse reaches in and effects / affects every aspect of a survivors life, truly NO area goes uneffected. This yet again emphasizes WHY the tragedy of child abuse with emphasis on sexual abuse is such a HUGE issue, a small example that has always seemed to sum up how deep the damage is done to the human spirit after such trauma was hearing my spouses voice filled with such deep sorrow as he said to me "I spent so many years being afraid to even hug my own daughters when they needed to be held the most, and I could not bring myself to hold them or rock them."

Quote:
The people that trusted and loved and were trashed aside for reasons I will never begin to understand
Because of my own experience with being a survivor I see this in 4 points, those who were abused were "trashed aside", another point as in those who I "pushed or trashed aside" for my own protection (real or perceived), those to whom I never gave a chance to even get to know a little bit, and not allowing myself a chance to even slightly know or trust someone enough effectively not trusting myself and trashing myself aside.

Quote:
Bottom line: It is still a betraying, deceiptful act - no matter the source. Therefore, no excuses.
Some may perceive these as excuses, I perceive them as coping tools developed without an intructor -- self taught for self preservation, for survival of heinous crimes against the most innocent and unsuspecting and most vulnerable.

I would never profess or want anyone to get the impression that life is some kind of "awww honey how awful mean those people were to your innocent little person you were"... first of all that would insult his intelligence and 2nd of all he knows i've told him in my own rages of anger to go take a flying f*k at a rolling donut for what ever bullshit he's tried to feed me, as well as he has said the same to me ---
but April, we're trying, we are a work in progress.....
And even work in progress can be a beautiful sight and experience.
Peace,Sammy


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#59412 - 05/01/04 12:49 PM Re: No excuses for infidelity
MikeNY Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/07/04
Posts: 927
Loc: NY
I am a survivor and I PERSONALLY agree that there is no excuse for endangering the health of someone that you claim to care about or who cares about you by cheating, etc. STD's are serious business. The person who is with someone who is cheating or acting out has a right to know what is going on and to choose for themselves. Otherwise, it can literally be as serious as murder by HIV. It is biological assault. It is actually covered by some laws in some states. It does count as Sexual assault in some places. If your wishes have been stated, and the person ignores them, is that consent? No. It is a person performing a type of sexual assault. It is sexual contact that you did not consent to and are not comfortable with. It can literally be somone taking someone else's life into their own hands while ignoring their partners stated wishes.

_________________________
"Every child asks the questions which hold the answers to the secrets of the universe, WHAT?, and WHY?". --Me

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#59413 - 05/01/04 08:09 PM Re: No excuses for infidelity
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
April
I understand your anger, and I won't minimise your beliefs.

Acting out isn't something I wanted to do, and I'll talk about my own personal experience here.
Just before our 25th wedding anniversary my wife discovered that I had acted out with other men, I gave unprotected BJ's to total strangers.
That was some kind of shock to her, I can't begin to imagine her thoughts.

But to her infinite credit, and because she loved me, she gave me a chance to do two things.
Firstly explain my actions. They could have been taken as a list of excuses, and that was a fear for me I admit. But the truth was at that time I was a sex addict driven by incredible forces. The drivers were rooted in my abuse and the guilt and shame I felt. The surfaced as a need to degrade myself even more - I felt like 'shit' so I believed that I should act that way.
What I did was nothing to do with confusion over my sexuality, I wasn't having a gay affair, I was degrading myself.

The second thing she did was support me.
But this was a two way deal. I had to make assurances, and keep them, that I wouldn't do it ever again. And I haven't. I won't lie and say that I turned the drivers off overnight, I'd developed those drivers over nearly 30 years so there was no way it was going to be easy. I struggled for a couple of years, but I did it. The chances of me acting out to that degree now are nil.

"To that degree" implies that some of the urge is still there, well it is - I can't deny that. But it's in control now, not just my control but OUR control. Her support is so much a part of that.
If she wasn't around to support me would I revert to acting out ? I don't believe I would because I've developed my sense of self-esteem and worth tosuch a degree that the base urge to degrade myself has gone.
So what does "acting out to that degree" mean to me now ? It means that sex acts with strange men for degradation are over and finished. The residual acting out is now an occasional use of porn, but I'm working on that and I'll get over that as well eventually, with her help once again because I tell her and WE work on it together.

I do disagree with you a bit here -
Quote:
When you are in a relationship, you are portraiting to the person that you are with a life of committment and love. Not a life of deceipt and lies. It still comes down to pure respect for your partner and life.
The first part is what I lived and breathed, I was, and still am, in love and committed, and respect was there.
I know my actions said otherwise with the deceipt and lies, but even if it does sound like an excuse I didn't have control over my actions, no more than an alcoholic or a drug addict has control over their addictions. But like them I can live a life of abstinence.

After we had talked the night she discovered what I'd been doing she said to me "It wasn't you doing those things, those bastards led you by the hand and took you there"

We've been married 30 years this year, and things are going from strength to strength because we support each other, and love has a lot to do with it.

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#59414 - 05/02/04 01:20 AM Re: No excuses for infidelity
Leosha Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/18/03
Posts: 3614
Loc: Right here
Quote:
Originally posted by April:
Let me apoligize for sounding angry. But everytime I come in here, all I hear is historical blame for "acting out".

Yes, SA victims have a right to be outraged and disrupted mentally. However, it still provides no justification.

When you are in a relationship, you are portraiting to the person that you are with a life of committment and love. Not a life of deceipt and lies. It still comes down to pure respect for your partner and life.

Are we supposed to accept our partners "acting out" and exposing us to ... who knows what.. because of childhood experiences ????? years ago.

I have nothing but emphathy for the SA victim, but there are other victims at hand. The people that trusted and loved and were trashed aside for reasons I will never begin to understand.

Bottom line: It is still a betraying, deceiptful act - no matter the source. Therefore, no excuses.

A coping? wife
Hmm. I understand your anger. But 'historical blame'? 'Disrupted mentally'? 'Because of childhood experiences ????? years ago'?

The 'historical blame', in my case, was ten years with a father physically abusive enough to cause the death of my younger brother. And sexual abuse by a sporting coach for 8 years. 'Disrupted mentally' equates to 'nightmares, loss of sleep, inability to eat, inability to trust, dissociating to point of insanity, flashbacks, body memories, depression, panic and anxiety'. And the '???? years ago' was basically my entire child life, which ended about 6 years ago.

I have a relationship that I have not cheeted on. But there have been times when I have been less then pleasant, and have pushed away everyone that I know is good for me and cares about me, including her. That is part of the mental disruption I suppose.

I realize that there are other victims of MY abuse. The people who care about me that I push away, or have hard time to trust are also victims. But, in due respect to them, and as much as I love them, they do not have the mental and physical repercussions of MY life.

Maybe there is no excuse for infedelity. That has not been issue for me. But there is reasons for our behaviors, including wrong ones. True, the choices are our own. But there are reasons.

leosha

_________________________
Avatar photo in memory of my younger brother Makar.

"Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted."~~~Martin Luther King Jr., 1963

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#59415 - 05/02/04 08:35 AM Re: No excuses for infidelity
Caetel Offline
Member

Registered: 11/05/03
Posts: 322
Loc: Paris, France
I just wanted to give April a little support here. I believe this forum has been created for partners and in that sense this is the proper place to release emotions (and strong ones too). It can be tough for SA survivors to hear them but still they are part of us partners, we need to express them too. What would happen otherwise ? We bottle up the emotions inside and at some point we turn them violently against the very same men we love and try to support.
I think this is somewhat dysfunctional to mix up the expression of emotions and judgement. The problem is that sometimes our men take advantage of that fact that if we love them, we should be understanding and forgiving all the time if we want to receive their love in return. But it doesn't work like that. I love V., he betrayed me, I understand his reasons (even more so in the last few days) but still he hurt me bad, I am angry and I believe male survivor or not people have ALWAYS the choice.
This is what I call "ambivalence", this is what we have to integrate and deal with as partners. This is what I have to deal with as a survivor regarding my parents (my father the abuser has been a victim too before raping me, my mother chose not to protect, not to see anything because of her own family history... but knowing that, still I have the right to my own rage, sadness...). I believe partners are also victims of their man's trauma (called secondarary trauma in victimology) and their healing journey has to be also, just like you guys, to fully integrate that ambivalence.
I have reached that point as a survivor but as a partner I am still far away.
Bottom line is: partners are NOT super heroes, just women with the right to express emotions. If some male survivors feel uneasy about the consequences of betrayal, tough, but you need also to know the impact of betrayal on us, and I am talking real emotional consequences, real extreme pain.
Nevertheless, we are still here trying to support and love our men the best we can. We are also on the battle ground, everyday !

_________________________
Mitakuye oyasin ! We are all related !

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#59416 - 05/02/04 03:31 PM Re: No excuses for infidelity
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
Sammy

I came back to this thread and you've said just what was on my mind:

Quote:
I have had to learn to really look hard and deep at is my very own beliefs, boundaries and what I as an individual am willing to accept as responsibility, obligation and to OWN my very own behaviors that allowed for the years of deceit and lies to continue to be the cornerstone function of our relationship.

I have had to come to an understanding that I made the bet choices I could at the time with the knowledge I had at the time. Quite simply we functioned and continue to function to the best of our abilities with the tools we had at the time and are developing now as we move through and forward in our relationship.
When you live with someone day in and day out, nothing that either one of you does happens in a vacuum. Which is part of why it's so hard for us as partners to really believe that ANYTHING having nothing to do with us, abuse included, could be the cause of the behavior.

I don't for a minute think that this makes me at fault for his actions--none of what he did was my fault--and I don't think you're saying that, Sammy, because I'm sure that if either of our partners implied such a thing, the "rolling donut" would be the least of their problems ;\)

BUT... I am responsible for the way I responded (or didn't respond) to things that were happening in my relationship at the time... I'm also responsible for what I, as an individual, expected/demanded from the person I shared my life with, and I think this goes back to what April was saying about acceptance. If my boyfriend were to say (explicitly or implicitly) to me, "My acting out behavior is going to continue and that will have to be a part of your relationship with me," that would be unacceptable to me and I would end the relationship, even though it would hurt me to do so, because if he says that and I do nothing, I'm no better than all the other people in his life who did nothing. So in that sense, no, I don't think partners should continue to "accept" anything but what they personally find acceptable.

But, I do think that it's crucial to "accept," as in "recognize as true," what HAS happened to us, and a big part of that for me has been understanding that in my life and my relationship, I've tolerated much that I found unacceptable--this includes the distancing/ deceit/ general passive-aggressive crap that I knew about even when I didn't know about the infidelity. And yes, this is a painful recognition for me.

Is it possible that if I'd reacted differently to those behaviors, if I'd been able to let him know that I loved him but I insisted on a better kind of relationship for us, that he'd have gotten help then? That he'd have felt comfortable telling me about the abuse at that point? Would it have stopped the acting out before it got to the point of infidelity? Or would it have strained an already unstable relationship to the point of breaking? I don't know and I don't really need to know, because I couldn't and didn't react any way but the way I reacted--we did what we knew how to do. And today we know new things and we are still doing what we know how to do, and one of the things we're learning how to do is put the past into perspective.

That means being honest about the past and the very real emotional consequences of it, but it also means trying to understand and reconcile what's happened so that we can make the next 8 years better than the first 8 years--that's the part that's most important to me. If I didn't believe that talking and learning about the reasons behind our past actions would contribute to our healing today, I'd probably do everything I could to leave the past in the past.

SAR


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#59417 - 05/02/04 05:15 PM Re: No excuses for infidelity
theo Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/28/03
Posts: 1122
april, and ladies,
i wanted to take a moment to respond to what has been shared here and hopefully clarify something. the justified anger at betrayal is something i have lived with on both sides. i never meant to imply that there was a like it or lump it attitude. i trust that this was conveyed in my first response. the pain of our partners is real and should be given equal weight of importance. i would never want to take away the justified anger at our actions that have harmed those who love us. my first response was intended to respond to the categorical statement that we come here to justify and continue our dysfunctional coping that kept us alive. i know there was justified anger at the actions, but to say that we were trying to make excuses and continue in the same pattern was incorrect and an injustice to those men here on the journey of recovery. i know you were angry and venting april, and this is the place for it. i apologize for intruding on that. had you asked a question about the feeling that we only seek to justify and continue our negative coping, then my answer would have been appropriate. you should not have been hurt and betrayed and put at risk, april, this is true. just try to remember that recovery is a process and a journey. not all men are committed to recovery and some do use it as an excuse, but the men here have dedicated themselves to the journey. that is all i wanted to convey. i should have said in the beginning that not all male survivors are makers of excuses, i should not have taken the defensive posture. take care, april.

_________________________
journey well,
theo dewolfe

- It is gift, and gift will find its way
- I inherit through my choice. I build through my affirmation. It is through my freedom that I nurture, or fade into autonomy
- I was not given to serve life, but to embrace it

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