AKA: Out The Door
“Finally, it’s my turn”
Exiters are Conflict Avoiders at heart, but they take it further. One spouse has already decided to leave the marriage and the affair provides the justification.
- The relationship had underlying tension and resentment building up for years (perhaps starting before their wedding)
- They are either unwilling to meet each others needs, or unwilling to talk about meeting each others needs.
- The lack of conflict, is often misinterpreted as a sign “all is fine”
- Leaving the relationship is often surrounded in guilt, however staying in the relationship would be unbearable.
- The relationship with the lover would typically only last as long as the pain of leaving the relationship. The cheater will often spend many years by themselves avoiding commitment and “entrapment.”
Why the affair happened
This type of affair is usually the outcome of the 20 year train of thought based on some marker:
– The kids leaving home
– The end of a career
– end of government service
Or perhaps the spouse has been gay (attracted to the opposite sex) all this time, but has been stuck in the marriage for one reason or another and has been waiting for the “right time” to leave.
The affair is actually initiated years earlier in the mind of the unfaithful spouse, and the marriage relationship is maintained and tolerated by the cheater on the basis of the future plan.
By the time the cheater is ready to leave, you will often hear them state…
“I’ve toyed with this idea for many years and I finally decided to do it”
The plan to actually leave the spouse usually comes as a result of the spouses refusal to change, adapt, communicate, or meet some key relationship need in the marriage. The infidel, or future infidel, may try to discuss his or her needs with the spouse, but the spouse doesn’t want to hear or doesn’t want to understand.
After a time of arguing about the need, the infidel gives up and resigns himself to enduring the marriage until he can get out of it. The infidel tolerates the tension for many years on the basis of his decision to leave in the future. The spouse will interpret the lack of conflict as a sign that things are going fine. Big mistake!
Quite often the infidel will come to a counselor or coach in order to help the spouse in the aftermath and crisis. They wish no harm to their spouse.
After separating from the spouse, the infidel rarely marries the affair partner. If they do the new marriage will rarely last beyond two years. The lover simply serves as an aid to empower the infidel to leave the pain of the marriage.
The infidel really wants no commitment, and a new freedom.
Affair types that lead to violence
Violence is an ugly topic, but so is infidelity. For a minute I’m going to assume that if you’re reading this page you have been affected in some way, shape,or form by infidelity?
Now I’m talking to the betrayed spouse. Do you remember how you felt when you found out your partner was cheating on you? Probably shocked. And when you had a chance to confront your partner and they admitted to cheating, and you had a chance to process the information, and the consequences of the information, did you not want to punch them in the face? I bet you did!
Let me share with you, that my clients have shared with me stories that you would typically see on crime scene investigation shows. Everything from stabbing their partner in the hand with a fork, to throwing full dinner sets at them while the collect belongings (in front of children), and everything in between.
It gets really ugly for everyone.
It also is dangerous.
An affair, when combined with certain situational and personality factors increases the likelihood of violence. Violence is most likely to occurred with exit affair types. Violence is common with avoidance affair types as well.
With an Exit affair, the loss of marriage compounds at the betrayal, in the legal process of divorce further exasperates the situation.
No matter which role is yours, you may be at risk for violence. If your the betraying spouse, your partner maybe sufficiently enraged to become violent with you. You might also be targeted as the villain by your affair partners spouse. And if you and the affair, your partner may feel so abandoned and humiliated that he or she resorts to violence directed at you.
If you are the betrayed spouse, violence could come from the third-party who is furious at you for not getting out of the picture.
Situational factors that contribute to affair specific violence are events associated with abandonment, humiliation or helplessness, the presents absence of social supports, and the availability of weapons. The most common precipitants are discovery of the spouses affair, marital separation, or a lost in court. Even in divorces without an affair and no history of violence, a higher than average potential for violence is present.
The exit affair incorporates both an affair and divorce. For the abandoned spouse, the double betrayal of being dumped for another person makes for a deep rage. Feelings of abandonment, helplessness and humiliation abound and is easy to believe that there is nothing else to lose. The final straw can be anything that escalates these feelings, it takes away the normal sense of control something as simple as finding the checking account is overdrawn or as heavy as finding your spouse with the affair partner.
Other losses at this time, such as the loss of a job, or the death of a family member, can also strike a match. These are the true crimes of passion rather than random or premeditated violence.
In many cases our legal system further escalates the odds of violence. The emphasis on right and wrong & the use of procedures that are invasive and demeaning combined to get hurt partners the idea that they can be vindicated. The opportunity for custody and money contest, requiring one partner to prove the other is malicious or corrupt or both, brings out the worst in everyone and is traumatizing for children.
Even though many courts have gotten away from the worst features of the adversarial divorce, many divorce attorneys still encourage the client to ravage the other spouse, no matter what the emotional or financial cost.
Some betrayed spouses choose this method of retaliating. They engage in custody battles focused on gaining sole custody or on preventing contact between the children and the spouses new partner or they may attempt to strip the betraying spouse financially.
Betraying spouses can also engage in this kind of retaliation. People who get caught up in the retaliation of others who have not faced their losses. Instead they are in attack mode, and using this attack mode to fight their own inner pain. What they truly need is to process the grief – they don’t need another highly charged legal maneuver.
If you are considering using the legal system to get even – be careful. Doing so can’t precipitate violence in someone who is emotionally fragile.
Personality factors play a significant role in violence. People who become violent do so because they haven’t learned safe ways to do deal with the powerful emotions that a set off by a crisis. The intense pain of being abandoned, the rage of feeling humiliated, the jealous anger of being betrayed, or the frightened fury at finding oneself powerless demand an outlet.
For some people, the only response they know is to take physical action in an attempt to stop the inner devastation and gain some control over the situation.
Those most likely to become violent have many of the following characteristics and patterns of behavior:
- Act out emotions rather than talk about emotions
- Lacking friends or are isolated
- Have low self-esteem
- Display bullying behavior
- Are easily upset
- Currently feel betrayed, abandoned, or humiliated
- Have difficulty managing feelings of hopelessness
- Feel powerless
- Have difficulty coping emotionally in the past
- Feel there is nothing left to lose
- have a history of physical violence, explosive temper, or rages
- Has a history of bottling up feelings
- History of manic or paranoid behavior
- Excessive use of alcohol or drugs
- Owns a gun
- Witnessed or experienced physical violence in the family of origin
Overall, the personality is rather rigid and controlling combined with the brittle quality, as if the person could easily explode. You may feel reluctant to push anything with this person because you may feel they could lose control.
Keeping mind, that having these characteristics does not mean the person will become violent. It is a statement about a possibility.
Preventing violence means taking steps to diffuse the situation whether you are the unfaithful spouse or the betrayed spouse.
the golden rule for preventing violence
Don’t strip the other person. When a person feels they have nothing to lose, they may have a higher risk of acting out or becoming violent. This mean don’t take away their fragile self-esteem by humiliating or shaming them, avoid removing things they value, don’t threaten them, and don’t punish them financially in or out of court. It means no attacks or surprises. You probably know what will set your partner off. Make sure you don’t do it – especially if you want to avoid violence.
- Be honest. Take responsibility for what you’ve done. It is the lying and the avoidance that most disturbs your partner
- Don’t blame your partner for causing you to have an affair. You’re the one who choose not to deal with this situation.
- Don’t rub your affairs in your partner’s face
- Acknowledge how hurt and angry your partner is. Make statements like “I can see that Ive really hurt you.” This way you connect at the emotional level, annual partner may recognize that you do recognize he or her pain
- Don’t say things like “I’ll fix it” – this will make things worse. Your spouse wants you to hear what he or she is feeling
- Don’t compare your partner with the third-party – either positively or negatively. You cannot win here.
- Always be respectful
- Remove all weapons from the house. Many homicides would not have occurred if a weapon have not been handy.
When you’ve been betrayed it’s common to think about doing damage to your spouse or the third party. Most people manage to avoid acting on thoughts thoughts, but with the wrong combination of the emotions and circumstances you could lose control.
You need to take steps to ensure, that your violent feelings remain only thoughts, and that you don’t act upon them.
You also risk being the target of violence. Many of the guidelines given already will be useful for you in diffusing potential violence directed towards you.
What to do in a domestic violence situation
Call the police:
- USA /Canada- 911
- Australia – 000
- Many European Country’s – 112