Brenchel- a study in the Affair Mindset

For those of you not watching Big Brother this summer, you’re missing a sickening relationship. Disclaimer right here, I am not claiming these two are cheaters, I am looking at their relationship in light of all that I have learned about the psychology of infidelity.

The houseguests are competing for $500,000. There’s a group of people living in a house being watched 24/7 for the summer.

Basically in the first day or two Brendon and Rachel found they had an interest in science in common. Now, at just over 41 days they are “in love” and talking M, moving to be together (she’s ‘Vegas babay!’ and he’s L.A.).  Brendon has mentioned her being the mother of his kids.

It could be all sweet and maybe the real thing, right?  But watching it I can’t help but think that it’s so much like how an affair would  start.  They are in a state of limerance.

The Obvious:  This is an escape from reality.  In no way is living in a fully stocked house w/ nothing to do but swim, workout and socialize w/ a group of strangers reality. See my previous post on this.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: She finds out he’s a science geek and oh my, of course the Vegas-showgirl-bikini-model-wanna-be is one too! While she seems to be smart in some ways (mostly in Big Brother knowledge) I haven’t seen anything but ignorance. It could be the editing, but my bet is on mirroring.

Go Away Reality- I Want the Fantasy: Brendon applied for the game to win $500,000 just like they all did. In telling her he’d be her KISA (knight in shining armor), he said he’d give up the chance at the money to be sure she could have it.  I’m thinking that if he wins and it blows up between them, lawyers will have a field day fighting that those publicized utterances were a promise.

The Needy/Manipulative Dynamic:  Brendon seems to be desperate for Rachel’s attention. OTOH, she will turn her head and refuse to kiss him if he displeases her.  He’s like a kicked puppy, desperate for affection from a woman he met such a short time ago.

Putting on a Front- just like Rachel seems to like to play the intellectual, Brendon has portrayed himself as giving and wanting her to be her.  In a recent episode, they interviewed his former fiance and her mother.  They both said he was controlling and tried to make her a person that she wasn’t.  Then they showed a clip of Brendon insisting that to be together, it had to be in L.A.  Rachel responds saying, “Vegas is Quintessential Rachel.” By the end of the show she makes a statement that she’ll likely be moving to L.A.

Same Tired Words: Another topic mentioned in the fiance interview was that everything Brendon has said to Rachel, he’s said to the fiance.  The knight lines, love you like nobody else…all been said to another woman multiple times over first.

It’s all About the Tension: I’m just guessing here, but IMO a big part of it is the sexual tension. While they can fool around under the covers, how much can be done w/ the cameras on them? If they had just bumped uglies by now, would they really be thinking they are the love of a lifetime (or 10,000 lifetimes as Brendon told Rachel)? Is it the forbidden fruit that keeps them hungry and salivating for each other?

Yeah, it’s trash TV, but it’s worth watching the episodes up until now to see that this is likely how idiotic and unrealistic wayward spouses and the affair partners acted. While there was actual cheating on the show, watching these two has just made me think “Affair Mentality” multiple times throughout the show. I’m sharing this for myself as much as for you all.  Maybe this will help one person that has been betrayed realize how the affair wasn’t reality, but really to be filed under Juvenile Fiction.  What’s the library classification for hormone driven idiots again?



I’m stalled writing here. I find that even as the years pass, the pain is fresh. This was intended to be my catharsis. To help me give words where I have felt silenced.  Each post is like ripping stitches out of a barely healed wound.

Mr. JJ has been loving, remorseful, honest and transparent.  What he hasn’t been is proactive.  I tell him nobody had to instruct him on how to accomplish all the lies and subterfuge it took to conduct an affair.  That I have told him my needs, if he’s forgotten them or partially met them, he also needs to do what I did- seek help for moving forward.

His new favorite song is Lead Me by Sanctus Real and it makes me cry.  Part of the lyrics are show me I’m the love of your life…that you’re willing to fight.  After two full-on affairs and a couple of flirtation-type infidelities, how do I even begin to feel like the love of his life?  I don’t see him willing to fight.  It’s this limbo that tortures me.  Just good enough yet bad enough.  To tear my kids from an intact family when things have gotten so much better feels selfish; like it’s only because I want more rather than need more.  We talked about the song this morning and Mr. Jem claims he’s ready to fight.  We’ll see, I’m not pinning much hope on it at this time.

I know so many would have been gone before now.  As I am learning in my Lifeskills class, I stayed because I was taught I deserved no better.  The abuses, neglect and abandonment of my past brought me to accepting crumbs.  Now I have kids though and how do I tear their family apart when I have a good marriage after all this just because I want a great marriage?

I get little bits of encouragement that makes it harder to let go and yet when those seeds fail to bear full fruit, it makes it harder to hold on.  The most recent one was this weekend.  Mr. Jem was searching his email for a registration confirmation.  In the process, he found an email he had written in 2006 to me during the affair.  Usually his theory is don’t dredge up the past.  He read the email anyhow.  When I came downstairs, he told me about it.  That it was a cruel and hateful email and he was sorry.  He didn’t realize that he had truly been that mean.  I have yet to get a straight answer from him about what he thought when I referenced his attitude during that time, but my guess is he thought I was rewriting history to make him the villain as I sometimes do to Harlot.

I will try to keep this blog updated and finish my story.  I hope to share my walk through recovery and what I have learned.  I know so many of you that come here are searching for just that.  Each of our walks has it’s own path and I will share mine, hoping to shed some light on yours.  Meanwhile, please visit some of the resources I share here.

Cheating and Reality TV

Yeah, people like to call it ‘reality tv’ but the fact is it’s scripted. There is more room for ad-libbing than in a totally scripted show, but when it comes down to it, it follows a script and a pattern. So does an affair.

There are sometimes stand-ins for the participants when things don’t look quite right and have to be re-filmed. At those times, it’s usually a close up of part of a person, like hands. Or a far away crane shot. An affair is much like this, where the affair partners either just look at bits and pieces or look at it from such a distance they can’t see the details that truly make a person recognizable for who they are.

While these shows are going on, it becomes the participants reality. They go through character changes that sometimes make them unrecognizable to their loves ones watching from the outside. They often change their morality to fit the situation, using whatever justification they can come up with. This is just like the funhouse mirror you see when looking at an active wayward spouse.

There’s usually the promise of a prize that is worth all the debasement, conniving and acting they have to do. It is rare that a person gets it, and rarer still that they are happy w/ the reality of the fame and issues that come along w/ the prize. Just like cheaters.


Not my fault

I was reading an affair recovery book today. The author said something along the lines that betrayed spouses have to take an account of what they did to make the marriage an environment that an affair could happen in. Like so many of us involved in affair recovery be stressed that the choice to have an affair was solely in the lap of the wayward spouse.

This began the wheels of my mind, circling over and over. I have read time and again the affair is 100% the choice of the unfaithful but the problems in the marriage are 50/50. Some people, like this author I was reading make it sound as though the betrayed could have taken preventative measures though.

The fact is a spouse that is broken enough to cheat will cheat. I have seen many betrayed spouses reporting that their marriage history was re-written and they were villianized (certainly true in my case). Then there are the other spouses that claim, “You were too perfect. I felt I didn’t deserve you.”

To me this is a prime example of how a person that is going to cheat will cheat no matter what. Will justify mo matter what. I need to know that because for years I tried to fix our marriage only to be ignored until one foot was out the door. I tried. You can only get so far alone.

What percentage is it when the betrayed had actually tried? Does it even matter? Because many times it would have happened no matter what. Whether you were ‘too good’ or ‘always unloving.’ Anything could mean an affair to a spouse willing to ignore their vows.

Where’s the standing ovation?

Everywhere in the news I see adultery and the wages of cheating. It’s always some form of pain.

Even on the recovery boards, there’s debate as to who should shoulder the blame. This clip says exactly what I have been saying all along.

Embedded video from CNN Video

ETA- sorry, CNN seems to have deleted the video.

don’t mind me

I need to rant about life for a moment.

My father lost his wife this morning. Her daughter and son lost their mother. Her mother lost her daughter. We should never have to bury our kids, yet she is flying to my dad and the kids to discuss funeral arrangements.

She was young. She had just gotten a nursing degree. She had a daughter to see go to the prom, get married, a son to watch graduate.  Maybe even a daughter-in-law one day to frustrate.  Possibly in the future, grandchildren to hold.

I never met her and yet she was loving to my kids, more than my mom ever was.

My dad was a betrayed spouse too (my mother cheated multiple times). He’s been searching for that lifetime love and I believe he found it, only for it to be cut so short, so suddenly.


We had so much in common. She always had a cheerful, bubbly hello for me when I called. She was such a blessing to my daddy and now she’s gone.

I miss her though I never met her. I hurt for my dad. For her kids. For her mom.

When I think of the people who do evil, wicked things and they never stumble on a pebble in their life- it just makes me cry out IT’S NOT FAIR!

I find myself questioning my faith and clinging to it at the same time.

Please, pray for my family, especially her daughter. The father is…fucked up. Pray that she will be put in custody with her grandmother, my dad, even her brother rather than the cruel man that is her father. It’s just a few years until she is of age, please pray she is able to live them in a loving and supportive environment.

just wondering

Why I have tried to be good my entire life? Where has it gotten me? In pain, alone, dissatisfied.

People always talk about karma and living well and pap like that. Yet the ones that hurt me most for their own selfish gain have moved on to more satisfying lives than I have. I am alone in picking up the pieces.

What is the purpose? The point? Where does it end?

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