This is a difficult post to write. Writing this requires me to go back four years, to when I was pathologically self-centered, angry at the world, and desperate for attention from women outside my marriage. It takes me back to when I did things that were indefensible, inexcusable, and unforgivable. I lacked compassion and perspective. I’ve spent the last three-and-a-half years working to develop compassion and perspective, to become a new, better, “normal” husband.
Back then, during my final affair, I took AP3 to a resort. It was a weekend when TL and the kids were out of the country. I drove three or so hours out of town with AP3, and we stayed the night at a spa resort. There is one sickeningly selfish and heartless reason I did that. There are also two frighteningly sad, and inaccurate, theories TL has as to why I did that.
I did that because I wanted to take the woman to a place where I could walk around with her with an expectation of anonymity. TL fears that to not be true because the place I took AP3 is actually frequented by people in our social circle. It takes very little reflection to realize TL is correct in pointing out that the place was well enough known to people in our circle. However, at the time that I made the selfish and unfortunate decision to take AP3 to that place, it didn’t occur to me just how known that place was. TL is incredulous that it did not occur to me. I don’t know what to say. It simply did not. I do have a track record of making dumb decisions. That decision was not only wrong and selfish. It was also dumb.
I sincerely believe the paragraph I just penned. TL fears I’m wrong. I’d be interested in opinions from readers. This perplexes me.
TL fears that I in fact took AP3 to that resort with the goal of being seen in public with her, so as to stroke my own ego. TL fears I wanted to tell myself I was successful with women and to use my presence with AP3 to validate that thinking. TL is absolutely correct in assessing that I spent four decades trying to convince myself that I was successful with women. There is also a painfully shameful example during my first affair when I basically bragged to a friend about my affair. Further, there is the childishly shameful fact that I basically bragged to my second and third affair partners that I had been with other women. At those moments, I wanted to hear myself say that out loud, hoping it would make me feel sexually successful. It did not.
So, did I take AP3 to that resort with the goal of being seen in public with her? No. I did not do it for that reason. Can I prove that I did not do it for that reason? No. Do I have any reason to lie about that not being my motivation? No, particularly in view of the fact that I have passed several polygraphs and anticipate more polygraphs, always including questions about whether I continue to lie to or withhold information from TL.
TL’s other fear is that I took AP3 to that resort with the primary goal of giving her something TL had wanted and that I had not given to TL. This theory’s description of the end result is accurate: I gave AP3 something TL had wanted. The theory is not correct about my motivation. I achieved this terrible result by selfish, thoughtless, blundering, not by design. Did I know TL had wanted that spa resort trip? No. I should have, but I did not. Why didn’t I? Because I was so self-absorbed and uncaring that I simply didn’t consider what TL might have wanted. I cared about what I wanted: sex and validation. That’s all. Did I have some motivation to treat AP3 better than I treated TL? I suppose the motivation was to lull AP3 into giving me sex and validation. I had told myself I should not have to entice my wife, but must entice an AP.
So, it seems I did have a motivation to treat AP3 better than I treated TL. It is not that I wanted to hurt TL, though clearly I’ve hurt her more than any man could hurt his wife emotionally. But, I did want to leverage something from AP3 in return. TL says leveraging sex and validation from AP3 could not have been my motivation because: a) I could have obtained those things from AP3 without the spa trip, and b) I ultimately didn’t really obtain much of those things from AP3. I don’t think TL’s two excellent points really cast doubt on my accuracy about my motivation. They simply show that my cost-benefit analysis in deciding to take AP3 to that resort was as sloppy and stupid as it was evil and selfish. It also shows that I really wasn’t very successful at getting things from AP3, even with corrupt objectives.
So, where does that leave us? I did not take AP3 to that resort with the conscious objective of hurting TL. In fact, I hurt TL terribly. But, I did it with the mindless self-absorption of a shark biting a seal, not with the calculated hatred of a terrorist executing a victim.
I did not take AP3 to that resort in order to tell myself people admired my sexual prowess for being seen in public with her. I was the kind of childish clown who wanted that kind of validation. But, I did not want to get caught in my adultery and lose my marriage. I wanted to continue exploiting both of my double lives.
I did take AP3 to that resort to impress her, and thereby to get sex and validation from her. My strategy, in that regard, was as flawed and unsuccessful as it was hurtful and deceptive.
So, that’s what I know and believe on this topic. I will seek professional advice on this topic. Also, I’d genuinely be grateful for any reactions from readers on this. Every once in a while, TL and I have the foregoing discussion. Each time is the same. We speak the same words. She asks the same questions. I give the same answers. I’m not complaining or pitying my own situation here. At this point, I almost feel like a scientist, studying this phenomenon impassionately. It’s simply a puzzle I can’t solve, and I’m asking for second opinions.