The Revenge Affair: Characteristics of the Adulterer

“I Want to Get Back at Him/Her” is one of 6 kinds of affairs I outline in my E-book.

This is the “revenge affair.” It occurs in a marriage in which one feels slighted in some manner and seeks revenge by engaging in an affair.

It is less a movement toward the other person and more a movement away from one’s spouse. The offending spouse usually lacks the skills of personal confrontation or is frightened by the prospect of someone “getting upset.”

When evaluating this kind of affair, make a distinction between revenge and rage. Revenge is not rage. Rage comes from a different source, as outlined in one of the other kinds of affairs.

Here are some characteristics of the person who uses infidelity as revenge:

1, Usually is rather unpredictable and erratic in his behavior.

2. Has a hard time making decisions.

3. Is often impatient and irritable when things don’t go her way.

4. Some of the resentment seems to “seep out” along the edges, maybe when you least expect it.

5. Engages in teasing.

6. Can be stubborn and unyielding.

7. May often take oppositional view and pride himself on being contrary or taking an unpopular stance.

8. Can have moments of impulsive behavior and be labeled high-strung or tightly wired.

9. Has an underlying worldview that is pessimistic. Glass is half empty.

10. Has a tendency to wine or complain.

11. May have moments of sullenness and dejection.

12. Women may respond very intensely during their menstrual cycle. Men may appear very moody at certain times of the month.

13. Manipulates others with unpredictability and demandingness.

14. Family of origin often marked by factions and sibling rivalry.

15. Has difficulty with intimacy since her behavior patterns push people away.

If you are interested in learning about the 6 other forms of infidelity I outline in my book, “Break Free From the Affair,” visit my website.

The Guiltless Affair

I get weird, morbid pleasure sometimes out of talking to my husband about cheating. Affairs. Scandals. I can’t help but bring it up while casually scanning his eyes for a glimmer of guilt, looking for a certain reddening around the collar, trying to catch the whiff of women’s perfume when he leans in to hug me and promises he’d never, ever forsake me for anyone else.

Despite continued vigilance, I’ve yet to find any clues that my husband is fooling around. The deepest recesses of his closet hold only lint balls. The messages on his voice mail at work are dull and mundane. The credit card statement contains no mysterious charges, besides the revelation that Hubs eats far more barbeque for lunch than he admits to. Okay, okay, I can be a snoop- but only after I’ve watched an episode of Cheaters and gotten tears in my eyes as Two-Toned Tammy screams “We got a baby together! We got a baby together! How could you do this to me!” at her philandering boyfriend-of-six-years after catching him in the Popeye’s parking lot with her roommate/sister/best friend.

I’m not alone in my snooping, either. Hubs likes to show up in the middle of the day sometimes, unannounced, just to “see what I’m up to.” When I went out of town with the kids a few months ago, I returned home to discover that he’d gone through my entire bathroom cabinet, searching for God-knows-what. He’s also admitted to Googling my ex-boyfriends. I find this kind of thing flattering. I’ve told Hubs I don’t ever want a boyfriend. But I’ve admitted that I would really like an admirer.

My admirer would be quite handsome, enough to give my husband pause, but he’d also be an advocate of courtly love and would have a “look-but-don’t-touch-EVER-not-even-when-you’re-both-a-little-drunk-and-there’s-no-one-around” kind of sensibility.

Instead, my admirer would content himself with sending me flowers (Casablanca lilies) and boxes of candy (Godiva) and books of poems (Neruda), with notes that say things like, “When I saw you in carpool this morning with the sun in your hair, I realized I had never seen anyone or anything more beautiful.” Or “You fold a fitted sheet with a grace and perfection that others can only dream of. Thank you for being you.” Or even “You are the hottest soccer mom this side of the Mississippi. Ah-OOO-gah!” I’m not particular. It’s the thought that counts.

My husband might not like all the attention my admirer would give me, but he’d have to tolerate it because he has plenty of admirers of his own. The nature of his job is such that people are constantly coming up to him and telling him how great he is. He loves to tell me these stories, to which I counter with something like, “Oh the same thing happened to me today. I was at the supermarket and this total stranger walked up and said, ‘I just love your ability to save at least 25% on your grocery bill every time you shop!'” Hubs generally snorts derisively while I quietly seethe. But my admirer would put a stop to this kind of behavior.

“Hubs,” he’d say, taking my husband’s hand and shaking it heartily, “I hope you know you’re a very lucky man.” Hubs would look slightly uneasy as he noted the firm handshake and kind eyes of my admirer. That night, Hubs would turn up with a large bouquet of his own and an offer of dinner and dancing. Or dinner and drinking, which is more our style.

“Admirer,” I’d say as he called me on the phone for the fifth time in a week, just to hear the charming lilt of my voice, “I really can’t accept your gifts anymore. You’ve been simply wonderful, but between you and me, I think Hubs is getting a little jealous.”

“Lucinda,” he’d whisper with just the right blend of regret and compassion, “I will be content to admire you from afar, if that’s what it takes to make your life easier. But I have devoted my life to you- and the evidence of that will be impossible for either of you to ignore.” Regretfully, we’d both hang up the phone.

After weeks of not hearing from my Admirer, my husband would silently bring me a copy of the Living section of the newspaper. “Local Artist Receives International Recognition for “Lucinda” Series”, the headline would read. Pictured beside his oil painting called “Lucinda with the Sun in Her Hair” would be my Admirer, his searing, questioning eyes burning through the newsprint.

A short time later, I’d be named Parent Magazine’s Mother of the Year based on an anonymous submission. Hubs would try to pretend he mailed in the entry, but the editor’s admission that my “ability to artfully manage the lives of my husband and three children while radiating an amazing inner calm and stunning the locals with my otherworldly beauty” set me apart from the other entrants would clue me in on who was really responsible for my resulting photo session and free trip to New York.

By the end of that year, “Lucinda (Love of My Life)” would top the Adult Contemporary music chart.

I’d join the super exclusive ranks of world famous muses. Occasionally, Vogue or Vanity Fair would do short pieces on me, despite my wish to remain anonymous. The only photos they’d be able to secure would be of me rushing between my minivan and my front door, using one arm to balance Baby and a bag of soccer balls and holding up the other in front of my oversized-sunglasses-and Pucci scarf-covered face. Yet readers would note the winsomeness in my frown, the hurried spring in my step. Soon, I’d have Admirers showing up at my door from all parts of the globe.

So you see, what’s an affair really besides some hurried bonking and a lot of postcoital guilt? An admirer is really the way to go. If you know of any good candidates, I’d be happy to review their qualifications…

After An Affair: Getting Over a Breakup or Divorce When Your Partner Left You for Another

The natural reaction after getting the news of an affair is to feel anger and rejection. A self-negotiation takes place about “why” it happened. Then the self-penetrating questions start, like:

• What about me wasn’t good enough for them?

• How could they toss a 15 year relationship together for somebody who doesn’t even know them?

• What do I tell the kids (if applicable)?

• Why would they choose another person when all they needed was here?

The questions will invade your mind and will add to a lack of confidence and ruminate without answers at times. You have to remember that in today’s society the grass always looks greener on the neighbor’s lawn. Perceived options of the person who had the affair are larger in their head then the chances that the new person will have their own set of baggage too.

They can blame you for all you ever did wrong in the relationship and make you feel guilty, but in the end it is their own behavior and problem they created. Affairs happen for a variety of reasons. An article entitled, 9 facts about cheating that couples – and singles – should know by Shana Lebowitz, in Business Insider state some possible reasons affairs take place. According to the studies quoted, affairs can often be tied to financial sustainability of the cheating spouse. For example, when men are the breadwinners – specifically, when they earn more than 70% of the total household income – they’re more likely to cheat. Birthday timing is also quoted as a reason people cheat. The quoted article stated, “right before you hit the big 4-0 or 5-0, for example, you have a greater chance of trying to find meaning in life by having a relationship with someone who isn’t your partner.” The fact is that you can just add to emotions that put you in a tailspin trying to figure out the reasons.

So, what do we do when we are left to pick up the pieces? How can we move on and trust in ourselves again yet envision a life with another person after our trust has been violated?

1. Realize the affair and the choice to make that choice is fully on the other person. Even with couples who are deeply in love, there is an excitement or connection (whether false or not) in another. Allow them to live with the consequences. It is not your issue to contend with. Don’t make excuses for them. They broke the trust, not you.

2. Now you have choices of your own. You can decide how to live a brighter full life without them. The length of time you carry this as your own burden is something you can decide. You can decide where to spend your time, what goals you want to pursue, and who you would like to spend your time with.

3. Trust yourself enough to not immediately go out and seek revenge by sleeping with someone else. Take time to sort your thoughts. Take time to breathe and allow stress to escape. Realize you came into the relationship with great qualities and will leave with the same.

4. Find some form of stress relief like walking, workouts, reading something positive, or spend time with friends who understand you.

There is little we can do to remove the sting and rejection, yet we can take control our perceptions about the meaning of the affair of another person. Now is the time to see value in ourselves and know that we can recover. Over time, coping will become easier and life can then take a turn for the best.