What If You Knew Me

I was driving around town yesterday, thinking about my blog when a thought entered my head.

What would you, dear reader, do if you found out I was your brother?

I have a sister. My wife and I have held a suspicion, turned to near certainty since the affair, that my brother-in-law has cheated on her. My sister has never hinted at an affair, but I know they’ve had “troubles.” So what if she did know about an affair and blogged about it or at least surfed other blogs, and what if she was one of you who has found this, my blog?

One of the commenters here lives in the same town – a fairly small town, at that – where my sister lives, so this isn’t entirely hypothetical.

I feel pretty confident that I have not left enough clues for anyone to figure out who I am. Certainly nothing beyond a vague suspicion, I would say. So if she read my blog, would she unknowingly hate me, her brother, for being an evil cheater? I know she wouldn’t if I confessed to her today – not that I will. But would it be different if she didn’t know it was me? Would she hate some random stranger for doing what I’ve done?

When she reads how I have struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts for the last year and a half, would she say “You deserve to suffer after what you did to my sister-in-law!” Would she wish for my wife to betray me to punish me for my crimes?

How would she react if the next time the Siren comes calling I decide that life isn’t worth living after what I’ve done? After what I’ve become? What would she say if I blew my brains out and my wife had to call her and tell her that I couldn’t live with what I had done to her? Would she put 2 and 2 together when Anonyman suddenly stopped blogging and responding to comments? I’m not going to do that, but there have been numerous times in the past when that has not been at all certain.

It’s just something for both of us to think about. Am I writing things that I wouldn’t mind my sister reading? If I was writing on my sister’s blog (hypothetically speaking) are my comments helpful or hurtful to her as a BS? I hope they have been helpful, because every day I’m writing comments and posts to someone’s sister. Maybe not my own sister, but every time I write, someone’s sister, someone’s daughter, someone’s mother is getting a comment from some random cheater on the interweb and I hope that comment is sound advice, sympathetic condolences, and edifying insight.

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About Anonyman

Recovering adulterer and husband of an awesome wife who has given me a second chance. Sinner and Christian, saved by grace alone. I cuss a lot
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14 Responses to What If You Knew Me

  1. I have thought about this so many times, from so many different angles.

    I can imagine how furious Jack would be that I have written a blog and exposed our story, even though it is all anonymous. Because the truth is that if anyone who knew us read what I wrote, they would know who we were

    I have thought about how incredibly warm and supportive my married girlfriends have been about the situation–they all know about Jack–but that if I were a stranger, they would be much harsher in their judgement. The same for some of the readers, BS and otherwise, who have heaped shame and disrespect at my door. They may feel differently if the OW was their best friend or sister (they claim they wouldn’t, but honestly you really never know for sure until you are in a situation)

    I wonder about the freedom of the internet to be honest with your feelings and actions because of the anonymity. But also how much easier it is to be judgmental and rude. I include myself in that group

    I wonder what Jack’s wife would say. Less about me, but if she knew the whole story. Because let’s be honest, if she had heard about it from him, she never would have gotten all the details

    I wonder about my honesty around depression–would that hurt me in future jobs if it ever got out

    I think the anonymity is amazing for having a real release. And I remain convinced that writing my blog was much more therapeutic than keeping a journal would have been. But there are real risks in exposing yourself in this way. And also reminders, like this post, that behind these nameless stories are real people and real pain

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nephila says:

    I think many of your statements have been harmful to BS because they include blameshifting, victim shaming and reframing to minimise the harm done. Sympathising with cheaters is simply inappropriate. Even my husband says so. I have no expectation you’ll print this but if you commented on my blog I would probably not approve them because, like others who have cheated you cannot help defending your position and attacking others. A lot of it is tone as you’ve accepted before.

    The fact you find my truths offensive is a good test. What if I was your sister? You judge just as much as you are judged but the difference is you try to put another name on it.

    If your sister found it unacceptable that her husband didn’t blame his OW and still thought well of her, if she saw that as evil and a character flaw, what would you do? Yes, she would be judging *you* but you would also be judging her.

    And as I’ve said before, judging is fine. We must judge or else have no distinction between right and wrong. But judging fairly is something else, and in my view a cheater judging a victim is never appropriate.

    I originally wrote my blog so that the OW could read it and not identify us, but it is difficult and there are holes. Still, I would hope if she had recognised us she would have felt ashamed of what she did. When she threatened us in real life I decided that was impossible and it would only give her more to attack us with so I closed it.

    Another interesting question is what would your wife write in response to your blog? I would love to read that.

    Like

    • This is the definition of splitting on Wikipedia, I chose this one because it is straightforward. Splitting is a sign of both borderline personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder. I suggest you look into both as diagnoses

      “Splitting diffuses the anxiety that arises from one’s inability to grasp the nuances and complexities of a given situation or state of affairs by simplifying and schematizing the situation and thereby making it easier to think about. It relieves the person of having to confront the uncertainty engendered by the fact that people have both bad and good qualities. It also reinforces one’s sense of self as good and virtuous by effectively demonizing all those who do not share in one’s opinions and values.”

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  3. DJ says:

    I met a woman recently at a school function. We just happened to end up standing next to one another before the meeting started. We had never met before, but within 15 minutes, she had told me all about her husband’s affair and how she had left him. She had returned home and was now starting anew. Do I just look that empathetic or was she just in need of venting to someone… anyone… ? I don’t know, but she seemed to feel that I understood. I had family and friends nearby, who know nothing about Daniel’s affair, so I kept quiet about my own situation, and mostly listened to her story.

    Then she told me that she had turned to blogging as a way of processing her feelings! She said, “I guess you wouldn’t be familiar with infidelity bloggers, but I read a lot of them.”

    !!!

    Like you, I had also wondered if there people who knew me who also read DJ’s blog. It just might be…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anonyman says:

      As you know, the pain runs deep and it just comes spilling out sometimes. My wife has seen this after her father’s death – people who don’t know her or what happened will come up to her and start talking about their own loss. I think part of it is intuition about who is safe to talk to and I think part of it is God’s hand in bringing the right people together.

      By the way, thanks for commenting. I’ve been meaning to read through your blog, but I just never seem to have the time. Thanks for taking the time to read mine.

      Liked by 1 person

      • DJ says:

        It’s nice to read your perspective – a religious perspective, and from one who so eloquently and honestly describes the journey. I have been at this for four years now, so reading through my story would take a while. My original blog, Not Over It, encompassed the initial stages of my journey. My husband had a six-year affair with his first love. He had broken it off but was trying to remain friends with her when I discovered their emails. His company server had saved all six years worth.
        I was suicidal and suffered physical and mental shock, resulting in PTSD. I still battle with episodes sometimes. I chose to stay married conditionally and try to work it out. It wasn’t until 2 months ago that I finally told him that I was here to stay. This week, being the fourth antiversary of my discovery, is still a little difficult, but God has turned me into an overcomer.
        My current blog, Renewing a Right Spirit, is about my journey to wellness. I have chronicled my ups and downs of the journey. I am just coming out of another particularly bad episode. For over 25 years, I thought Daniel and I had a special love, that we were meant for each other. I have not been able to overcome doubts that I was ever special to him. I was probably just the rebound girl, and then the one he was obligated to.

        He is sometimes helpful, sometimes not. I have given it all over to God, and through Him, I am smiling as I face another Big DDay tomorrow.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Anonyman says:

          That is awful. I’m so sorry for you. All affairs are awful in their own way, but the doubts and the depth of the betrayal in your case are pretty bad. It’s a testament to God’s grace and love that you are where you are after all that. I’ll be praying for you tomorrow (now today).

          Like

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  5. Janelle says:

    I do not have a brother, so no worries there. However, I have noted previously we have dear, dear friends who are currently in divorce proceedings and part of that includes him having a very brief affair. My husband and I were both disappointed and distressed when we learned of the depth of their marital troubles and about the affair, but we have known these people for 20+ years. They are like family to us.

    This was one action, one big mistake in a 20+ year history. How could withdrawing friendship benefit anyone? Near as I can tell cheating is not contagious. As a couple we choose to remain close to the straying husband, because we can see and hear his regret and remorse for his actions. If he were unrepentant and did not see cheating as a mistake or a bad thing, we would likely have to reconsider whether or not to remain friends.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I think this is reality. When you know someone extremely well, you don’t judge them on this one action. Depending on their own response to it you might, but I have found that in real life most people are not like Nephila. They understand that people mess up and also that some marriages aren’t worth saving. They are forgiving of their friends and relatives because a person is so much more than just a “betrayed” or a “cheater.”

      Like

      • Anonyman says:

        Fixed the comment for you. I agree that most people are more willing to see nuance and to forgive IRL than on blogs. Blogging in particular makes it easy to group people into “the cheaters and their apologists” and “betrayed spouses and their protectors” and then to treat them correspondingly.

        It’s kind of like driving in traffic. I say things to other drivers on the road I would never say if I knew they were my friends. In anonymity, there is a tendency to not only say what we really think, but to let ourselves think the worst without the pang of conscience that comes from knowing the person you’re judging.

        Like

        • Definitely true. A lot of bloggers threw a fit when I wrote about how some of Jack’s family and friends knew about or suspected our relationship yet never said anything to his wife. The reason isn’t because that whole community is evil or that his wife is a horrible person, it was because the marriage was in serious trouble and I think some of them felt bad about what Jack was going through. They didn’t condone the situation, but they also knew I was the one thing he was holding on to at the time. I’m not sure anyone knew what to do, but they didn’t think he was evil or I was evil. They thought it was an unfortunate situation for everyone involved

          Like

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