60: Why

After Spouse of a Sex Addict (SSA) and author of A Couples Journey of Recovery from Sex Addiction read my story, A Review: Day 22 – Guessing, she wrote to me and asked me a few questions (I’ve added her question and comments below).

At the time I didn’t have an answer. I’m still not sure I have a real answer and as I’ve discussed repeatedly with the men and women on Twitter, I’m not sure I will ever be able to provide a personally or socially satisfactory answer to the “Why” question.

Often the answers to “Why” leads down a meandering, maze-filled rabbit hole. Often the answers simply lead to more “Why’s”. Eventually, answers become answers for the sake of answers or devolve into me leaving and going to the pastry shop.

I firmly believe most people do not know “Why” they do most things. However, that doesn’t mean talking about the question isn’t important. Why matters.

SSA wrote:

Reformed Cad,

I read your entries with a heavy heart and it’s confusing for me because I was betrayed (many times, with many women, over our entire relationship). Notwithstanding, I have compassion and am rooting for you in all areas of your journey with healing from the loss of your relationship with C. Do you mourn the loss of your romantic relationship with K? I’ve wondered if my spouse mourns them, he of course says no, but I still wonder.

I haven’t read much on WHY you had the affair or what YOU were lacking – have you figured that out yet? I 100% believe you have owned and taken full responsibility and recognize that affairs are never the answer – but have you figured out why you went down that road?

Heartache is heartache and regardless of what side you’re on, it hurts like a mofo (in different ways respectively).

Regardless of your actions, you are human and are allowed to hurt xo

Do you mourn the loss of your romantic relationship with K?


However, what I mourn far more than the romantic and sexual relationship is the friendship.

K and I had a lot of issues while married. Some mine. Some were hers. There were a lot of good things in our marriage too. I miss and love my stepson. At moments I miss her.

There were also a lot of abusive things and depending on who you talk with we might both give you conflicting explanations for Why. Even though we shared the same marriage, we shared two different marriage experiences.

I’m not sure C ever really understood why I spoke so kindly about K. C would often withdrawal if I tried to talk to, or about my life with K. I don’t know if she was jealous, insecure, or simply disinterested in aspects of my life that didn’t involve her.

K isn’t a monster, crazy, or dangerous. She’s a human being with her own frailties, damages, experiences, passions, loves, and qualities. On more than one occasion I said to C and K I wanted them to be friends. It certainly would have made it easier to live more congruently and maturely.

The one time C and K could have met, C once again ran off and hid in other artists’ tents leaving me to carry the emotional weight..but that is a different story for a different day.

Without K, I wouldn’t be where I am today, and although my heart is broken, and there have been personally horrific and humiliating consequences, this is where I need to be. Regardless of K’s motivations for calling C, I needed the help breaking the cycle of shame that was killing me. Her motivations may be suspect, but it resulted in a very loving outcome.

I may be angry at K but that doesn’t mean I don’t miss aspects of our relationship.

I haven’t read much on WHY you had the affair – have you figured that out yet?


I’m going to assume we are talking only about the sexual act of the betrayal.

Here is the short answer: I slept with K because I wanted to sleep with K.

I wasn’t drunk, raped, or seduced. There is no justification for my behavior. The decision was self-destructive, selfish, and mindboggling to me even when I was acting this way. I selfishly and thoughtlessly betrayed C, K, our families, and my values, principles, future, loves, interests, needs, wants, and desires to sleep with K.

The first act was unplanned and purely opportunistic and not premeditated. The next five to six acts were a result of fatalism and shame: “I fucked up. I am a fuck up. C is better without me. K is better without me.”

The meaning of Why is more complex and nuanced. I’ll give you the short list as I understand it now and knew even when I was sleeping with K:

  • Issues of abandonment
  • Lack of boundaries
  • The overdeveloped sense of responsibility for the well-being of others
  • Fear of dying alone
  • Financial insecurity
  • Inability to grieve the end of my marriage
  • Unwillingness to be vulnerable and open
  • Confusing sex with caring
  • Empathic overload
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Unaddressed shame
  • Cognitive dissonance
  • Arrogance

That is the short list.

If you want to know why I kept secrets and used an escalating series of lies and manipulations to cover my tracks I’ll eventually get to that in a post. There are similar issues but different dynamics at play there. I am happy to discuss that in more details because I understand those motivations more clearly right now.

What YOU were lacking – have you figured that out yet?

Boundaries. Humility. Lexapro.

Maybe pot to ease the anxieties. Avoiding anxieties created more bad decisions which created more anxieties. I would also refer you to the short list above.

I will say my betrayal, secret-keeping, and escalating series of lies had nothing to do with C, K or anyone else. It was never a reflection of their value, how I value them, or the importance of those relationships. It had nothing to do with sex or a desire for more sex.

My choices were completely a reflection of how my inner saboteurs were driving my own insecurities and doubts to create new levels of anxiety. Eventually, the little things become big things and the big things become insurmountable.

16 thoughts on “60: Why

Add yours

  1. There is no single answer to Why because these are all the answer. You have a myriad of small things going on here which gradually build up over time until something, anything has to happen. You don’t realise the drip feed effect over time as it slowly eats away at every aspect of your life and then you make a bad decision and it is the catalyst to all the other things.

    If you hadn’t had an affair there is no guarantee you would still be with your wife now, or in 5 years or 10 years. And judging by everything you’ve said above, there were a lot of things that needed ironing out if you were going to stay together.

    You made a bad call. You know that. But it takes two to tango and there is never one person that’s solely to blame in any relationship gone wrong.

    1. Yes…which is why it is easier to slap a band-aid, or label, and move on. Only when there was enough loss and pain was I able to stop and make the time to disengage from the cycle of shame.

      People want one thing to be the complete answer but humans are complex weave of small and large things.

      Most people aren’t willing, as Esther Perel writes, to really do the dirty part of making a relationship work.

      1. I agree that we’ve become very fickle with relationships. It’s easy to part invest and walk away when things don’t work rather than taking the time to find solutions. I am seriously guilty of that, but because I recognise it I make a point of doing some damage limitation.

        I would like to say I blame modern society for so many relationship breakdowns, but believe me relationships were just as hard if not harder years ago. It’s simply that the get out options weren’t there and people often remained miserable their entire lives. In many ways we are better off now but we have to use it to our advantage.

        Sometimes though you can’t see the wood for the trees and people also need to understand that it isn’t always as simple as right or wrong. When there are uncontrollable stresses and mental health problems, or partners who don’t want to ease situations things lose their simplicity.

        I think for an outsider looking in based on what you write it is relatively easy to see where things went wrong. It’s harder when you are on the inside living it.

      2. I try to focus on my parts and not do too much armchair psychology. I know C and K have a role to play too but I try to focus on my narrative & lessons.

        My opinion of other people is none of their business. Except Warren, he’s a troll and did more post discovery damage, than anything besides my infidelity.

        The email conversations weren’t helpful but for the first 5 days she and I were at least speaking.

        Only after Warren started getting involved did it go south badly. I was just looking over my posting history. Up until Day 70 nearly 1/3 of my posts we’re anxiety fueled responses to his trolling.

        It certainly changed the focus from solutions to a drama triangle.

  2. My goodness, you’ve just answered a whole shit load of (unanswered) questions of mine. Mr. Perfect simply cannot go “there” he is so wrought with guilt and shame.

    This is a wonderful and thoughtful dissection, RC. All we can do is learn from our actions and take the next small right step. No matter what side of this you’re on there is learning, growing and healing to be done. As much as you and I are hurting, maybe this side is the better side to be on. I hope so anyway xo

    1. People want everything to be one word answers. I don’t know if that is a western thing or a human thing. It’s why we’ve rejected even the idea of nuance to complex problems. We want to know why but only if it is 10 words or less.

      We don’t want to think or feel because it makes us uncomfortable. And betrayal and infidelity are full of things to think about and feel.

      I’m taking the Lexapro because it helps with the anxiety and runinating. Neither of which are helpful for the thinking or feeling and often are the weapons in my cycle of shame.

      1. You’re actively trying to make you’re life better in a healthy way which is amazing and much more than most can say when they mess up.

        The fact is, we are all going to mess up, hell I’ve already fucked up several times today. All we can do is accept ourselves and all of our ugliness and do better. That’s all. We all fuck up, you’re making an effort to be better. Kudos to you xo

      2. Years ago a friend said to me, “Your allowed to restart your life 1440 times a day.”

        There are 1440 minutes in a 24 hour day.

        I lost a lot when C ended our relationship but she lost a lot by asking me to leave too.

      3. Yes, and Rumi said it too 700 years ago “it doesn’t matter if you’ve broken your vows a thousand times before”

        What if you haven’t lost, but are actually gaining? Have you grown from this? I believe you have because I can see it throughout your writings. This is hard, so hard and I feel your heartache, but what have you learned and gained from this? Hard to see now perhaps, but you will someday xo

  3. In my situation, my husbands answer to my “why” was I don’t know. It remained that for awhile. I called the other woman, she was his counselor at the vet center. She, however, did have an answer”you were out of town”.
    I had 3 brain surgeries last year. He was carrying on with her while he was long haul driving and continued it while I was sick and in and out of ICU. That 4day trip was the first opportunity in over 2 years to go anywhere. It is a deep hurt. But their responses gave me some introspection opportunities. Infidelity is a dark existence. It incorporates deception into a relationship and many become dragged into this darkness. It is painful for all involved. I laud you for recognizing this and opting for your well being.

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