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Special Skill

"[Going outside the marriage]...takes a special skill set that many folks do not possess"

mvcmvc said this in the "Frying Pan Into Fire" string.

If you had to name that (those) special skill(s) what would it (they) be?

Here's an April 2011 article by enna30 on this with 84 comments
Outsourcing Your Needs <--
Fool4Waiting Fool4Waiting 56-60, F 11 Responses Sep 9, 2012

Your Response


I have done this and can tell you the skills you need. <br />
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#1 Start your hunt knowing that you only need sex and nothing else.<br />
#2 Have rules about not allowing any feeling of love or connection to happen.<br />
#3 Find someone you like and let go. Have great sex!!! It fantastic!!!<br />
#4 Be prepared to lie a lot to people you love.<br />
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Oh yea!! The most important rule is "RULES DON'T WORK". You can't manage relationships. What you need is far more than sex and the great sex you are having makes staying in your current situation far more difficult. You life becomes very complicated as you are emotionally torn. Sleep becomes harder to find as your mind deals with all of the complications of your life. <br />
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My advice, solve the problems in your marriage first. If that's divorce, than get it over. If your going to fix it than do that. Affairs are far more difficult to mange once your in one. <br />
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Good Luck !!!

Why don't you leave your spouse. Give yourselves a chance at happiness before the rest of your lives pass you by.

A lot of this has been covered but my two cents...<br />
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It depends on what you mean exactly. For something clandestine the primary skill needed is the ability to compartmentalize your life. That is no easy feat.<br />
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For something non-clandestine, some sort of open arrangement, you need to be honest with yourself about ob<x>jectives and a good head on your shoulders to keep things in perspective. I'm referring to keeping things in perspective when inevitably feelings get involved. The partner in crime needs the same.<br />
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I've given this a lot of thought and have done a lot of homework. I'd prefer an open arrangement to a divorce if it came to that and I think I have the constitution for it. I'm also well aware I may be living in fantasy land.

Also the ability to lie convincingly, if need be. I've been told never to play poke-r, everyone can immediately read everything on my face. I think I've gotten better at concealment over the years, though.

To date, I cannot separate my physical needs from my emotional needs. I think you need to be better at compartmentalization than perhaps I am in this regard.

You need the desire and the opportunity. If both of these converge, you will step out of the marriage. The first step isn't the hardest and the second and third aren't either. It's the constant feeling that his W or your H will find out and then there's guilt. I didn't really have much guilt about my emotional affair. But he wasn't willing to leave his wife or really engage physically and over time the pain of our mutually unhappy situations began to wear on the relationship. <br />
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Anyone could have an affair. All if us have it in us. But the consequences are what will affect you the most - both good and bad.

Does not seem to be worth the drama, guilt, complexity, fear, anxiety to me. I had a brief fling and while fun, I felt TERRIBLE for cheating. In my experience, no matter how mad you may be at your partner, if you actually love him/her, it's very hard not to feel horrible about betraying them. And maybe that's a good thing...

Why is it looked at as betraying your spouse?? If you were getting your emotional and physical needs met by your spouse then most would never consider an affair to begin with.

Finding someone to help fill that emptiness is sometimes necessary to survive until you can bring yourself to make the changes necessary to having a full and happy life

I absolutely agree that it's fine to go outside the marriage---if your partner agrees to it. I would have tried an open marriage if my H were willing. But lies, sneaking around, etc, is just not my cup of tea. I believe in honesty. That's why I'm also against staying for the kids. I just don't think lying to people you love works out in the end---in any case, everyone eventually finds out, and then what? And if you don't love the person you're lying to, why stay? I get it, I fantasized about having affairs like crazy until I actually wound up having one. And it made me realize I want to live my life clean, no lies, no deception. That's what works for me. Don't get me wrong, sh*t happens, I did it too. But it was a mistake, not a strategy.

Absolutely, it's betrayal if you have personal values, and if honesty and integrity are 2 of them. It may not be on the surface, but you will carry a heaviness and a sort of guilt for a long time, especially while the affair is going on. You can't change who you are temporarily to suit your personal needs, otherwise you are lying to yourself too. Ending the marriage is the more up front, honest way to go about it.

Another way to go is to reveal your intentions to the spouse PRIOR to engaging. That provides the spouse an opportunity to respond by either stepping up and working with you to get the marriage back on track, or accept the new paradigm or leave. That is what I did and it has worked so far. But my situation is a rareity.

I am torn between the points raised by by everyone here. I found myself agreeing to each of the points raised because they are all valid to me. Been there done that. Had an affair too and did not feel guilty about it but I knew it wouldn't last because I didn't hear him say that he is leaving his wife for me. On hindsight, I knew we fulfilled each other's need at that time and it was all good. The bottomline is I think, for anything that we do we always have a choice in everything and we just have to live with and be prepared to face the consequences of these choices that we have made.

2 More Responses

Also it helps to Google up articles like "10 tell-tale signs your partner is having an affair" and don't do those things!!!

Deep down,you don't need to read up anything or look for any signs,you just know!

Maybe. Maybe not. Some spouses are more able to self-deceive or turn a blind eye. I think my H just does not want to know. The only time he's ever questioned my movements were when I was innocently going somewhere legit. So probably has an inkling but doesn't want to look.

If you have foresight, you can google those signs prior to, begin incorporating them into your usual behavior, then they shouldn't be a problem later.

Yep...maybe that's more like it. Basically that's kinda what I did.

1 More Response

F4W - The special skill set that I referred to is this:<br />
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Attitude:<br />
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1. To have a pragmatic outlook on life and love. That means recognizing that affairs can be messy and to be prepared to deal with the messiness. Recognizing that eventually you might fall in love with your affair partner, but, with that realization - one's pragmaticism will kick in and provide the wisdom to know that falling in love with said affair partner does not mean you will ever be together. The two are completely different events and may never come to pass.<br />
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2. To have the attitude that the affair ought to add value (but probably not less complexity) to one's life. And to have the sense of yourself to recognize that if said affair is not adding value, but continually subtracting value then it is time take steps to rectify the situation. While one might truly love the affair partner, one must care for themselves first and foremost and that might mean letting the affair partner go if one finds that they cannot gracefully handle the complexities of the affair.<br />
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3. To recognize that the affair is (normally) a temporary solution to the permanent problem that is in your life - namely, your current marriage. And that eventully the chickens come home to roost meaning you eventually need to resolve the core issue.<br />
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4. To recognize and accept that engaging in affairs will not be seen as acceptable behavior by most people. To recognize and accept that engaging in affairs is high risk behavior and that there might be negative consequences.<br />
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5. Recognize that your relationship with your spouse, once you step out, will change irrevocably. It might get better or worse, but there will be change. Your marriage will "feel" different, and the affair might highlight the marital deficiencies to a degree that will make your home life intolerable. On the other hand, the affair could bring you much joy and satisfaction that invariably bleeds over into your domestic life and allows you to discharge your household/parental responsibilities with a lighter heart.<br />
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Skills:<br />
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1. To posses the ability to mentally compartmentalize to a high degree. Details matter here. Everything from NOT calling your spouse by your lovers name (you would be surprised how easy that is to do by the way - especially when stressed, tired, etc.) to being able to shift back into usual and normal "spouse mode" upon return home or upon any interaction with spouse (phone calls, email, etc). If one is prone to high drama and theatrics, then the stress of conducting an affair will certainly bring forth those characteristics so one must be vigilant and recognize when they are in over their head and respond accordingly.<br />
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2. Plenty of time. For those who's life circumstances include a job, minor children, caring for aging parents, even a wide circle of close friends and family who want to know your whereabouts at all times and many other household responsibilties - the affair, and trying to spend time with the affair partner can prove to be daunting.<br />
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3. Money. Travel, hotel rooms, dining, entertainment, etc. Affairs cost money, and one ought to not use their spouses money to conduct the affair. For those financially dependent on spouses this presents an even trickier problem to overcome.<br />
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4. Being prepared for worst case scenario to happen with a realistic contingency plan. What will you do if the spouse finds out and moves to divorce? Cover as many ba<x>ses as possible here. Accept and OWN that what you are doing (even if you have negotiated an open or Don't Ask/Don't arrangement with spouse) is very risky behavior - so engage in some thought about what your response would be if you are caught. The longer the affair the higher the odds are that the affair will be outed.<br />
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5. To NEVER expect your affair partner to leave their spouse (that is where being a hardheaded pragmatic will help), to never ask your affair partner to leave their spouse. If the affair partner really loves you and wants to be with you - they should, under their OWN steam - make the necessary changes in their lives to be with you. If you find yourself single again and want to be with the affair partner full time - do not issue an ultimatum. Tell your affair partner that while you love him/her you, since you are now single - you cannot see him/her until their marital status changes and they are single again.

I would add on the compartmentalisation side that it's more than not calling your spouse by your lover's name, but keeping schtum about stuff your lover tells you no matter how insignificant. This is surprisingly difficult if your lover is at all interesting or shares a common interest with you. I find myself wanting to tell my husband things in passing that my 'friend' has told me when they are relevant to a conversation that we're having at the time. A tell-tale sign of infidelity is frequent mention of a particular person. Don't do it.

Very interesting!

My goodness! I am impressed by this comprehensive and exhaustive discourse. This is a must-read and it ought to be published. Thanks for sharing this. :)

-ability to compartmentalise emotionally<br />
- a certain callousness<br />
- a risk-seeking personality<br />
- ability to lie easily and adeptly (don't over-lie, it will get you caught)<br />
- ability to think coolly and cover your tracks<br />
- willingness to accept the consequences of your behaviour, including the extended impact on family members, not just your spouse.<br />
-willingness to accept that you may get your heart broken<br />
- being able to keep your mouth shut (other than at certain times, obviously)<br />
- some nerve <br />
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Additionally you will need:<br />
- a certain amount of flexibility in your schedule<br />
- some money - affairs cost a little bit<br />
- it doesn't hurt to have separate computers and mobile devices that your spouse does not have access to

You nailed it Elkclan!

It's still all about lying,scheming and who?,Yourself! I've done it,sometimes still do,it's hard work.And in the end it's all about getting the affection that you're missing with your spouse,a real 'Catch 22' situation.

mvcmvc will hopefully be along soon to respond in her usual highly competent manner. Read it. It will be good stuff.<br />
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I'll add, in advance, that in many ways this strategy (which is a nuance of the "staying" option), is the hardest one of the lot to carry off successfully. It requires at least as much work, preparation and fall back planning as the "leaving" option. It requires time. It requires finances. It requires balls. AND, it doesn't solve the core problem either.<br />
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If anyone is considering it - as the 'easiest' option of the few awful choices available - then think again. It ain't. It requires a unique individual to carry this off. And for all the great qualities of the membership in this group of ours, there are not too many of us who are that unique.<br />
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Back in the day, I considered this option. I ended up rejecting it. It was too hard, and I most definitely did NOT have the skill set to do it. Comparitively speaking, "leaving" was easier. <br />
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Tread your own path.