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?

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They Call it d-day

Sunday morning, MrJJ encouraged me to go to one of the churches I had picked out to try.  I felt lonely every time I went alone.  After the day before, I had hope and wanted to be close to him.  Instead, he spent the day cleaning up his study, listening to a Hawaiian radio station streaming live through his computer.  I’d pop in now and then only to be brushed off.  Pretty soon, it was only the kids that went in to greet MrJJ now and then.

Sometime in the late afternoon, MrJJ went upstairs to go to the bathroom.  He thought I was taking a nap.  Urged by some inner sense, I went into his now clean study and touched his computer.  The Hawaiian music was still playing as I went to the Hotmail site I had noticed weeks before.  Unlike the last time, this time it allowed me to log on.  All the emails were from one person, a woman named Harlot.

Shaking, I forwarded all the emails sent and received.  MrJJ had learned from the AOL incident and this time had deleted all emails as they came in and went out.  The exception was that day.  Harlot happened to be online at the same time as MrJJ and they volleyed emails back and forth while he hid from his family under the guise of cleaning.

My heart was in my throat as I feverishly moved my evidence to my email account, then ran to my computer and changed my password.  My vision began blurring, I was dizzy.  I checked MrJJ’s email one more time and reeled, reading his email to her about how watching the movie “Click” the night before was making him reevaluate what was important in life.

I tried to hold it in, but I rushed upstairs.  Throwing open the bathroom door, I shot out, “I know about her!”

“Her?  Her who?  There is no one!”

“Harlot ***” I answered, putting as much sarcasm and disgust as I could into her full name.

“Oh, you have it wrong, we’re just friends.”

“‘Every time you are with me instead of your kids, I am thankful.'” I sneered the quote from her recent email.

His normally tan face blanched, I could swear it did at least.  I supposed it was good he was on the throne, he likely needed it.

“Just a minute, we need to talk.”

I agitatedly left, allowing him to clean up.  He came into our bedroom and closed the door.  I was calm, eerily calm.  He confessed to an affair with Harlot.  It had only been going on a little while, he claimed.  They had sex once, a few weeks ago.  Shocked that MrJJ admitted to sex with Harlot, I asked if he had had sex with Sorry all those years ago.  I got a strenuous denial.

He did it because I was depressed and didn’t bother to get help, he said.  MrJJ was tired of me and so sought someone who did not have the drama of me.

We talked, who knows how long.  I don’t even know what the kids were up to at that point, likely watching t.v.  We took a break.  I know now that he likely contacted her during that break, though he claims now he can’t remember.  We talked more when the kids were in bed.  I revealed how I had put all the blame on myself for our distance.  I had shopped for sex toys, our first ever.  By the time they came he had rejected me so often, I just packed them away.  I was trying to be who he seemed to want.  I was searching for answers, never knowing that the problem was something I couldn’t have changed.

Every loving action, every attempt at growing closer, was twisted by him.  Or, if he shared it with her, she found a way to twist it.  I was fighting a losing battle, one I did not even know I was in.

He promised to ‘take a break’ from her so he could concentrate on our marriage and family.  So he could decide without undue influence.  I fell into his arms.  I don’t know why.  I had always said I would leave if it happened again.  Here it was, worse than before.  Yet I yearned for him.  We had passionate sex that night.  What I now know is termed as ‘hysterical bonding’.  That dual need to feel wanted and to claim your territory.  At the time, it was so uplifting.

I came to regret it later.

I had had my d-day.  Discovery day.  Unbeknownst to me, I was yet again on the early discovery ride.  Stops include rounds of trickle truth, minimizing, blame-shifting, gas-lighting, fence-sitting, and (as I found out later) cake-eating.  I will explain all of those in the next posts.  If you are a betrayed spouse, or suspect you are, I highly recommend checking out some of my links.  Each affair is different, but they all follow the same script.  Leonardo DiCaprio may have played a modern Romeo, swords may have been replaced with guns, but the lines were still the same.  So it is with affair partners.

“I love you but I’m not in love with you.”

“We’re just friends.”

“It was only a kiss.”

“It was just the one time.”

“We used protection.”

“You drove me to it.”

“We’re soul mates.”

“You never understood me like this.”

All to excuse the inexcusable.  Each time, each word, each careless phrase, is a bomb into the betrayed heart.  Everything will be said to protect the affair and its participants, no matter that the betrayed will be obliterated until our tears feel like they are rivers of blood.

Each d-day is its own pain, own destruction.  I am two years away from the one I share here and my heart still quakes reliving it.  I can go to that day in June ’99 and feel the utter devastation of having the man I love tell me he loved my friend.  It is like an emotional time machine.  Suddenly I am standing in the doorway to my bedroom and its the first Sunday of December ’06.  My husband is telling me that the woman he is seeing is everything I am not.  Believe me when I say, there is a mark left on you forever.

My world was invaded, my family facing destruction.  Where would we go next?

Working it Out

Our first year of marriage I started out working nearly full time in a fabric store.  One of my classes had a practical requirement, so I had to fit in some hours volunteering at a local daycare.  By the end of the semester, that became a full time job for me and I was able to quit the fabric store.

One day, for some reason after we had been married about six months, I logged onto MrJJ’s email account.  I found a completely empty inbox.  The sent box contained at least one message.  One message is all I needed to read.  It was to some woman.  It  read: I love you @>—->——-

For those that don’t know, the last thing is an internet version of a rose.  I can’t even remember if there were other emails, I just remember changing his password and logging off. My heart plummeted.  Even just typing this out, my stomach is in knots.  I had to go to work, while there I vented  to a friend.  She agreed I needed to confront.  When I came home, I stormed into the apartment.  MrJJ was shocked.  He said it was nothing, just someone he met in a chat room.  It was a game, she wasn’t real to him.  He had no problem with me monitoring his emails or ending it.

She became real when he got a picture and card from her a couple of weeks later.  She had discovered where he worked and sent it there.  It freaked him out.

But the lesson I learned was that my newlywed husband didn’t love me.  He couldn’t, or he wouldn’t have been able to betray me like that, right?  I also learned that he thought internet flirtations were ok as long as they were online.

I further felt  devalued when I found a letter he wrote to his ‘crush teacher’.  You know, the young teacher in high school that the guys all have a thing for?  J.W. was that teacher and apparently nearly had an inappropriate encounter with MrJJ while he was in school.  MrJJ kept in contact with her now and then.  This particular letter detailed all of his accomplishments.  And, on the back of page two, two small sentences.  “I also got married this year.  You’d like her, she’s nice.”  I was a foot note in his life.  Yet I loved him desperately.

Our relationship, our marriage, became me feeling unloved.  Like I had to earn the love.  Then resentment would build up and I’d blow up at MrJJ  I have a quick mind when it comes to words and I can be very caustic.  MrJJ would feel left behind, confused, attacked.  He’d lash out physically.  He’d shove me, grab me, pull me.  On two occasions he lifted me off the ground by the neck.  I never called it abuse.  An abused wife had bruises and broken bones.

It became my fault.  I’m a bitch, I’m a nag, I’m too controlling.  I accepted it.  I have always been harder on myself than anyone else.  I was a combination of the proud, independent woman I had always dreamed of being when my stepmother was controlling me, and the weak girl-woman that so desperately wanted her husband’s love.  I resented it, I held it in and lashed out about other things.  I kept the core of who I was secret and protected.