Life After Betrayal
"I'm looking forward to the opportunity to really shed some light on what is in the psyche that causes men to cheat," Oprah says.
Brian had an affair with a woman at work for two-and-a-half months until he decided to confess to his wife. He believes that the ideas in The Script are pretty accurate. "There's not too many roads you can go on differently in an affair," Brian says. "It's pretty hard to come up with creative ways to cheat."
But Brian says he never felt unhappy in his marriage. He simply developed a strong connection with another woman. "I never got into the relationship with the other woman because I was dissatisfied with my wife," he says. "I still loved her in every way, and I just didn't understand [why I was cheating]. There was certainly an emotional connection I had to the other woman."
"We were sitting on the bed and I said, 'I've got to tell you something, and you may not be ready for this,'" Stephen says. "…I've never known that I could hurt someone that much in less than a minute. To this day still, I remember that evening so clearly. I just never knew I could hurt someone that much. And it pained me because I'm looking, and I'm like, 'Wow. You love me that much?' I didn't see it. I didn't get it."
"[I'm crying] because of the pain [I caused] my wife and my kids," he says. "I make no bones about what I did. But I've got a great woman behind me. And we're going to get through it."
"It was totally emotional," John says. "The three affairs I had, I never had sex with any of them. They were all emotional affairs. It was all about connecting with this other person. Now with the first person, yes, it got to the point that there was some fooling around and I would have had sex with her had the opportunity presented itself."
Terrence thinks that most men do cheat, but doesn't believe that once you're a cheater, you always will be. So what if the shoe was on the other foot? Most of the men said they wouldn't stay with their wives if they cheated on them—Terrence revealed why he thought this was the case.
"Our egos can't take it," Terrence explains. "Your ego can't take your woman looking at a man more or less knowing that she slept with one. … Men are babies. We can't take anything we dish out. That's the bottom line."
After Ryant's wife found out about his affair, he pledged his fidelity. But his old habits died hard. "If I was alone with a woman, I would be immediately thinking about sleeping with her," he says. "I was a good, old fashioned 'ho.'"
Ryant says that whenever his wife confronted him about his faithfulness, he would get an attitude with her about it. "It was almost to the fact, 'How dare you? You don't know for sure. How dare you confront me, and how dare you snoop.' … My wife just wanted to know. And I would really convince myself that [she was] against me. [I'd say to her] 'You must be looking for something. You must not want to be married.' So I would feel a little guilty."
"I was going to somebody for something that [my wife] should have been providing for me," Mike says.
Natalie says that this was somewhat true. "When we got married, we were best friends. I mean, the whole time we were dating we were just together all the time and had a good time and enjoyed each other's company," she says. "And right when we got married, I went into management and dove head first into my work, and that's all I did was work. And I'd come home and crash."
Natalie said she took Stephen for granted. "He was such a great father and a great provider that he maintained the house, he maintained our children, which allowed me to work even more. And I stopped being a wife and I stopped being a friend and a mother."
Natalie says she'd already heard almost everything about Stephen's cheating, so she was not all that surprised by what he said on the show. One element in his frank discussion with Oprah was new, however. "The comments he made about the day he told me. That was the first time I ever heard him express the emotion about how hard that was for him," she says. "How bad he hurt me, and that he got that."
Mary: Well, a lot of things were brought up [when finding out of the affair] and I was a raving maniac.
Oprah: Yeah, that would kind of make you a raving maniac. Whenever you have the possibility to rave on.
Mary: But we talked through it. You know, you just need to talk through it. You need to deal with it day by day and, yes, it's disrespect and we're moving on from that.
Oprah: When you saw your husband, he was very emotional. How did that make you feel?
Mary: That he still cares. He loves me, I love him and we're going to work it out.
What Ryant's cheating did do, however, was incite the inquisitiveness that Danine, who works as an investigator, says is in her nature. "I just started looking at the patterns, and he wasn't home at certain times. I kind of did my little research and found out where [the woman Ryant was having his affair with] lived and did my little tracking. It's awful, because you get obsessed with looking and digging and searching and then once you're right, it just motivates you to keep looking and keep digging and keep searching and there's no end to it.…
"It was really helpful to hear him say that there were things that he could have done also in our relationship that could have done a lot for me. I think a lot of men are under the impression that flowers and candy and cards are great but, you know, mop a floor and unload a dishwasher. Get me in bed a little earlier. I mean, those things are a turn-on."
Danine turned her experience of tracking Ryant's cheating ways into the book, Ultimate Betrayal.
One thing Anne did do was become angry at "the other woman." Why didn't she direct that anger at Brian? "I thought about that a lot and … the reason why is because I loved my husband. He was my lover, my best friend, someone I trusted and I knew. She was a stranger, so it was easy to direct all my anger and all my pain towards a stranger and an enemy that I didn't know. I couldn't make the mental transition of seeing the man that I loved and adored as my enemy in a second just like that."
After entertaining fantasies of doing harm to "the other woman," Anne finally cooled off and realized she wanted to meet her. "I was really quite amazed in that meeting," Anne says. "I mean, among other things, I was kind of like, 'Her? I was expecting a sex goddess.' She wasn't what I had envisioned. It was good for me to see that."
Brian says that his marriage has been better after he had an affair than it was before. "We've kind of grown up in our marriage as opposed to where we were," he says. "Even though we had a pretty strong relationship, we learned so much about ourselves. I learned a lot about myself and I can then apply myself as a real man to meet my wife's needs."
Anne has turned her experience as a cheated-on spouse into a public speaking career and book, My Husband's Affair Became the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me.
"He says he didn't [have actual sex with other women], but I'm not sure if I'm still willing to believe that because I've read the e-mails and it's obvious…they indicated that something physical happened, whether it was touching or something else. Whenever I ask him, it's the I-don't-remember card. I mean, this one was five years ago. The other two happened right under my nose and I didn't suspect them. I didn't consider them affairs. At the time I did consider them infidelity and very improper behavior."
With unanswered questions, and with John unwilling to own up to his actions, Amy says she doesn't know what will happen. "He keeps asking me why do I want to know?" she says. "I said I have to so I know what happened. I haven't decided what I'm going to do yet. I don't know. I need to know if it's something that can be saved and if it's something that we both have to work on. So I know what my part is, so I know what he went looking for."
Mike responds by asking, "If I've already destroyed the trust and the faith that she had in me in the beginning, anything that I say nowadays just doesn't hold any water. I've told her everything that ever happened."
Candy says that's not true. "I just recently found out…Saturday…that [the lies] continued," she says.