Advertisements

Come and celebrate what this blog has done in 2012!


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 50,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 12 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

Advertisements

Forgiving the other woman?


This about covers it ūüôā

20121229-204831.jpg

Debunking the myths of infidelity: revisited


Through the comments section on the previous post, I linked to one of the first posts I had ever made on the myths of infidelity. Many have emailed or commented that they enjoyed it, so I thought I would repost it in case it is timely for any of this blog’s readers.

**********

In both my reading on the topic of infidelity and in my casual polls taken among friends, it seems there are many myths that come with the territory of infidelity. Some of these myths are held by women, some by men, and some by both. Some are held by mistresses, some by wives. I’ve learned a lot this past year, and thought I would go over some of the more popular myths that exist and debunk them.

1. Affairs only happen in unhappy marriages.

While this does tend to be the reason why women cheat, it doesn’t usually apply to men. Men who live in very happy, sexually fulfilling marriages have affairs. For women, this is hard to understand because we equate love with sex, and if he is having sex with someone else, he must not love me. Believe it or not, this isn’t true. I wouldn’t have believed it a few years ago, if I hadn’t been on this journey myself. I am sure his affair partner felt that he loved her. As a woman, her paradigm is to believe that sex=love and so he must love her. False. He did, by his own admission, tell her he loved her in the midst of an orgasm, something he immediately regretted as the blood flowed back to the brain that has the higher functions of reasoning and intelligent thought. Idiot. I digress…

Women who are unfaithful have usually already fallen out of love with their partners, and have emotionally disconnected. For many women, then, they feel they can justify their behaviour because to them, the relationship was already over – even if he didn’t know it yet.

Men have the ability to compartmentalize sex and love. The two can coexist together, as they do when a man loves his wife, but they need not coexist all the time. Men can have sex with a woman for the sake of the physical release it will bring, and nothing more. Men don’t have to find her beautiful (although it helps if you have something nice to look at), and they don’t have to find her intelligent. If you are the mistress, and your relationship isn’t a deep emotional connection, but just sex, then chances are he isn’t looking for you to satisfy his need for intelligent conversation – you fulfill a very basic need- sex. That’s it. You might as well wear a t-shirt that reads: “Have Vagina, will travel”.

2. Men cheat more than women.

As a society, men tend to be more outwardly sexual in nature than women, so we have an easier time justifying men’s behaviour when they stray, and assuming that they do it more often. Men’s brains are very different from women’s, and they are hardwired to sexually pursue QUANTITY, while women look for QUALITY.

While the stats for infidelity may be tipped slightly more in favour of men, it is the REASONS for the infidelity that differ. Women cheat because they are no longer satisfied in the relationship. What was once a satisfying relationship has lost its glimmer, and it is safe to say that most women who cheat have already emotionally abandoned their primary relationship. With men, this is not the case. Men can be completely satisfied in their relationship, having frequent and great sex at home, and still take the opportunity to get a little more on the side, if the opportunity presents itself, and there is a low likelihood of getting caught. He may be getting fine dining at home, but a little dessert would also be nice….especially if I won’t gain weight.

One key thing to realize is the different ways in which men and women view sex, and how these views allow them to cheat for different reasons. More on that in a future post.

3. An affair is about sex.

An affair involves sex, but it is usually never ABOUT sex. People don’t seek out affairs to get more sex, or to have better sex. Sex is simply the natural progression that happens when someone seeks out a new relationship with someone of the opposite sex. For men, sex is like a sport; something you enjoy that invigorates you, makes you feel energized, potent, alive. For men, there need be no emotional connection whatsoever, and it has very little, if anything to do with love or emotion. We’ve all heard someone say “He’ll have sex with anything that has a pusle”, and for many men, this may very well be accurate. Men simply need an outlet, and who it is, or what she looks like has little bearing on why she was chosen. Men don’t need love for sex, or sex for love – they need sex for sex. Whether you are beautiful or smart won’t really matter….whether you are sexually available at the time will have much more of an impact.

So, if affairs aren’t about sex, what are they about, and what purpose do they serve?

Often times, men report that it wasn’t the sex that made them stray. It wasn’t the beauty, intelligence, warmth, compassion, or personality of the woman he strayed with. It was something about how he was FEELING while he cheated, and how the other woman made him FEEL when they are together. The rush and the exhileration of knowing that they are doing something forbidden causes an endorphin rush, which amplifies and creates a rosy glow (can you say rose-coloured-glasses?) over the entire relationship. She probably showers him with compliments, boosts his ego, tells him how smart he is, how powerful he is, how strong, fit, and capable he is…something that perhaps his wife doesn’t do as much as she used to now that their relationship has settled into a comfortable pattern. Just like women need and want continuous feedback that they are valued, men also need this, although most won’t admit it. They want to be told they are attractive, sexy, a great lover. In marriages, however, we settle into a pattern of comfort and security and no longer shower each other with these compliments, even if we DO feel them. I guess the difference is that when women need to hear it, we find ways of encouraging our lovers to tell us, while men feel foolish doing so. So, if a man is feeling needy for that kind of attention, he may never provide any clues. So keep the compliments flowing…that is even more important than being sexually available – it tells him he’s important to you, that you love him, and that he still ignites that spark for you.

4. If a man is having an affair, it is due to a deficiency in the wife, aesthetically or sexually, and the mistress is seen as superior in these areas.

While this will always be the case for SOMEONE, it isn’t the case most of the time. As per the above answers, men aren’t looking to improve upon anything, and having sex with the mistress didn’t mean there was a competition in his mind between the two. Just like sex and love are mutually exclusive, so are the wife and the mistress. So, if your husband cheated on you, it doesn’t mean he didn’t and doesn’t love you. If you are a mistress to a married man, just because he is having sex with you does NOT mean that he loves you or wants to be with you long term. You’re scratching a temporary itch, and yes he is having sex with his wife and enjoying it, which brings us to the next myth:

5. A married man engaged in an affair isn’t having sex with his wife.

This is completely false, although I am sure most mistresses would like to believe it. Most affair partners are shocked to discover that the man they thought they were ‘stealing’ and ‘one-upping’ from the wife is actually engaging in regular sexual activity with her. In some cases, he may be having more sex with his wife than with the mistress – she just doesn’t know it. Married men sleep with their mistresses and return home to their marital bed every night. They snuggle in with their spouse, they say “I love you” before rolling over, they hold each other in their sleep. In fact, because an affair boosts a man’s self esteem so much, many have reported returning home from their rendez-vous with invigorated, excited, and ready to make LOVE to their wife. Therein lies another main difference….he fucks the mistress, he makes love to his wife. It makes sense because that is what each relationship is based on – casual meaningless sex vs sex for love.

Now that isn’t the case in ALL extra-marital relationships. Some marital relationships may very well be on the rocks, and a man MAY turn to a mistress to satisfy the sexual needs that aren’t being met at home. But, this isn’t ALWAYS the case, and certainly wasn’t the case for us. We are very much “in love”, exchange kisses each morning before we part ways for work, affectionately greet each other when we return at the end of the day, find reasons to tell each other that we love one another, exchange playful sexual advances like we did when we were dating. But, I would wager a bet that his mistress wouldn’t believe it if he told her. In fact, he DID tell her, and she didn’t believe it. She accused him of being delusional, and then painted her own story that matched what she wanted to believe.

My husband made every attempt to paint a very clear picture for her about what this was for him. “This is only about sex for me”, he’d said. I was shocked to hear him say that because this isn’t something that I ever would have imagined him saying. My husband is one of the most emotionally sensitive men that I know, and he very much equates love and sex….when it is between US. “I love my wife”, “I love my children”, “I love and want my family”, “I don’t love you”. All of these comments were met with resistance. Resistance to believe that it could be true, when all of the signs she was seeing were pointing to the opposite. I can’t blame her for thinking that – she is a woman and we equate sex with love…and that belief gets both the mistress and the affair partner into trouble inside their own minds when evaluating the affair and what it really meant.

In Shirley Glass’ book, “Not just friends”, she writes: “A distraught wife said to her husband, “How could you do this to me? You always looked down on those men who had affairs and broke up their family.” The husband replied…”I was always committed to you. I never once intended to leave you.” She was enraged. “What do you mean you were committed? How could you be committed when you had sex with another woman?”. He answered, “It never meant anything” (Emphasis added)

6. If a married man is having sex with his mistress, he must love her. If he isn’t having sex with his wife, he must not love his wife. He has chosen the mistress over the wife.

If I have learned any ONE great truth out of this whole year of discovery, it is that the differences between men and women are staggering. We are so vastly different, and the ways in which we see and evaluate relationships is remarkably different. We can’t evaluate a relationship with a man through OUR eyes, because our eyes are female. The opposite is true for men. We simply aren’t hard-wired to understand it from their perspective. Sometimes it takes a crisis to propel you to a place where you are forced to look at it, examine it, and understand it, and for that I am thankful to have had that opportunity – it has been life-changing.

When I first learned that my husband had had an affair, my initial thought was “he doesn’t love me anymore”. For women, sex and love go hand in hand. Women want to feel love in order to have sex (prostitutes and manipulative mistresses are the exception…but even then, deep inside they long for a loving connection too). If we feel love, we will have sex, so if a man has sex with us, it means he loves us – right? Wrong. Men have sex for sex. It has nothing to do with love or emotion. Men have the ability to compartmentalize sex into its own category, and love and emotion are not required. A man can have sex with you without feeling an ounce of love. A man feels no guilt about engaging in loveless sex because the two are mutually exclusive. This is why he can have sex with the mistress and still LOVE HIS WIFE.

Once I learned and understood that he was capable of separating the two, it became much easier to understand his perspective and regain the faith that he may still love me. There was a chance for us after all.

7. The mistress must be more attractive/smarter/more fit/more beautiful than the wife.

This is rarely the case. In all of the reading that I have done, rarely is the mistress more beautiful than the wife. Sometimes she is younger, but usually not prettier. Because women fret about their appearance, and because we know men are visual creatures, our first fear is “he found someone prettier than me”. This is rarely ever the case.

When my husband first made mention of this woman at work who was now working closely with him, my first comment was “oh a blonde woman working with my husband, should I be worried?”, said with a smile. He replied with: “Oh goodness no, absolutely not, she isn’t even slightly attractive to me”. Now, of course you are thinking “well he told you that at the time because he was DECEIVING you”, and I would agree, except that he still says it now. When we talk about what led him to being with her sexually, he is stunned that he ever strayed towards her. He doesn’t find her physically attractive or sexually attractive, he has no memory of what she looked like naked except for the fact that she had breast enlargement surgery and corrective surgery for inverted nipples. He remembers these things because he found them odd, and yes, my husband prefers natural breasts thank you. The sex was “nothing special”, “not very good”, and he doesn’t remember any details about the actual sexual interactions they had together.

According to Shirley Glass, in her book “Not Just Friends”, she states that “outside observers will speculate unfairly and ignorantly that the betrayed wife must have been inadequate in the bedroom.

8. Once a cheater, always a cheater

This is one where there is no absolute answer. Heck, there isn’t an absolute answer to ANYTHING, but this one is truly variable. Because men cheat for various reasons, the things that keep them cheating or not also vary. If a man is incapable of fidelity, and has an inability to commit, then yes, he will likely re-offend. When the infidelity is the result of a deeply seeded problem within him, it will take time and commitment to reversing it. If it was an unfortunate set of circumstances that led him to make choices he normally would never make, or if he was in some way coerced or assisted by the affair partner into starting a relationship, that’s different.

When a man makes a pledge towards honesty, confesses the affair, and lays all of his cards on the table for scrutiny and examination, he has taken the first step towards earning back your trust. Instead of more lies and covering up, he has chosen to tell you, and that is a good start. When he chooses to enter therapy in order to better understand himself, you, your relationship and why the relationship was vulnerable to an affair, he is showing an interest in identifying and fighting the demons that led him down the affair path. When he listens, when he cries with you, when he takes responsibility for what he has caused and feels true remorse, and when he puts himself into your shoes to feel what you are feeling, and to grasp the intensity of the pain that he has caused, you can now say that he truly GETS IT. I would venture to guess that someone who knows the pain of infidelity from the other side, and who respects and loves the person to whom he is married, will not want to hurt her that way again…especially if he wasn’t aware, at the time, of the impact his actions were having.

Men can cheat once and never again. Some men are serial cheaters. Not all men.

9. Men initiate almost all affairs

Obviously in cases where the wife is the cheater, this doesn’t apply. This response will be directed to married men having affairs. I think it can be true that men will seek out an affair, but I don’t believe that a man wakes up one morning, and says “Today, I am going to seek out a woman whom I can engage in an extramarital affair”. It isn’t as much a CHOICE as it is a CIRCUMSTANCE they find themselves in. Men who find themselves in affairs, sometimes do, not because they were actively seeking it out, but rather a set of circumstances presented themselves in such a way, at such a time when a man was vulnerable to an affair.

In our case, my husband did not seek out his affair. He was ‘befriended’ by a woman at work, who soon became privy to the emotional turmoil he was going through. Casting herself as his “friend”, and as his “ativan”, she justified her overly-caring behaviour as part of her ‘loving, caring, compassionate nature’. Looking back at it now, my husband sees her approaches disguised as ‘friendly banter’ through a more informed lens, and feels conned. Interesting when the betrrayer also feels betrayed.

My husband’s mistress set her sights on him early, and he was a target. We are convinced that if it hadn’t been him, it would be some other high-earning professional in his office. She set her sights on him, knew what she wanted, and made it happen. She knew men love sex, so she outwardly professed to “never getting enough to be satisifed”, and how she would have sex “8-10 times a day if possible”. She catered to his male side, and painted herself as “every man’s dream”; sexually available, sexually interested, and no strings attached. Unless you define a purposeful pregnancy which resulted in a baby, an attempted collapse of your family, manipulative threats toward your family and professional mobility, and a monthly child-support payment “no strings”, you’re right on. Women who see what they want and go after it are very easily capable of igniting an affair with a man, as long he is in the right place from a ‘vunerability’ standpoint.

10. Infidelity means the end of a marriage.

I, and countless other women are proof that this is not the case. Don’t get me wrong, this is the hardest road I have ever traveled, and I’ve logged many miles soaked in tears, but I will survive this, and our marriage will be better because we’ve been through it. A compassionate and understanding husband who takes responsibility for his actions, open and honest communication, marital therapy to assist couples in communicating effectively and filling the potholes which made their marriage vulnerable – all of these things assist a couple in rebuilding the trust and intimacy of their marriage. I am sure at one point, or maybe even at many points, I considered our marriage to be “over”, unsalvageable, irreparable. With time I am starting to see that this affair, his infidelity and this crisis may simply be a catalyst for a new beginning.

“I never stopped loving you”


This post comes on the heels of an earlier post, where I discussed how a husband can have an affair, and claim to still love his spouse. ¬†It’s crazy making, right?

As I mentioned in the above-linked post, this was something my husband used to say to me all the time when I was hurting. ¬†He knew I felt unloved in his actions, so he reassured me that he had never stopped loving me during his affair. ¬†It made me sick to my stomach, and almost hurt more. ¬†Was this his twisted idea of what LOVE is? ¬†Is showing love to me going out and creating false email addresses designed to sneak around behind my back? ¬†That isn’t love to me. ¬†Is showing me love going out and finding pleasure in the arms of another woman? ¬†That isn’t love to me. ¬†Is showing ME love, buying a hotel room in order to penetrate another woman, while I struggle at home to get the kids home from piano lessons, get dinner made, homework checked and kids washed and ready for bed? ¬†That isn’t love to me. ¬†But for him, it meant something different. ¬†It meant that he had merely compartmentalized her, and kept her and their relationship in a separate box from the one in which the rest of his life resided. ¬†He was able to open that box and visit it, and then when he was done, he could close the lid, and open his usual box. ¬†They were never open at the same time, so when he was in one box, the other was out of mind. ¬†Although, I would wager a guess that while I may not have come to mind while he was with her, she certainly came to mind when he was with me, and that is because she posed ¬†continuous threat on our relationship, something I could never have done to them, as I was in the dark, kept in a box, with the lid on tight.

Nothing would infuriate me more than my husband saying the words “But I never stopped loving you”. ¬†It was like a kick to the midsection. ¬†Left me breathless and confused.

One day, as we drove back from therapy, on the way to picking up our children, he said it again. ¬†I screamed at him in the car, trying to help him understand that those words are empty and hurtful, not helpful as he had hoped they would be. ¬†He wanted me to say “Oh! ¬†I understand you did this, but you still LOVED me throughout, so I should actually be happier about this than I am!” ¬†That wasn’t my reaction.

At the end of my rope, as we drove, I tried to help him see it from my perspective. ¬†I had to find a way for him to see my position on this. ¬†Seeing my position meant standing in my shoes, and since I hadn’t cheated on him, I had to take him on a mental journey through part of my experience.

Now, he was driving at the time, otherwise I would have asked him to close his eyes.  Instead, I asked him to vividly picture the words I was going to convey. It needs to be said that in my line of work, I work alone.  I do not have employees or colleagues, and I work for myself.  And so I began:

“There is a man I work with. ¬†He is tall, muscular, athletic and fit. ¬†He makes me laugh, and has a great sense of humour. ¬†He and I have been working together for about 6 months, just he and I, in my small office space. ¬†He and I, spending so much time together lately, have been sharing more and more details of our lives with one another. ¬†I have learned about his family. ¬†I have learned about his likes and dislikes, and he has learned about mine. ¬† Our friendship has grown stronger over the past few months, and we have taken to grabbing lunch together on most days, instead of splitting up and resuming work at the end of our lunch. ¬†He has opened up to me a great deal, and shared some very personal details of his life. ¬†I too have shared details about mine. ¬†I think he appreciates the reciprocation, and it helps us as colleagues to open up to one another, as it makes us better work partners, not just strangers who have to be there, but want to. ¬†A few weeks ago, while we were having lunch, his hand brushed mine, and I didn’t pull it away. ¬†He turned to me, to gauge my response, and we looked at each other and knew. ¬†The attraction that had been building between us over the past months was unavoidable. ¬†As he looked into my eyes, we both felt it. ¬†Moments later, I felt our lips touch, and we were kissing. ¬†It was the passionate first kiss that everyone remembers. ¬†My head was spinning with the excitement, as it had been years since I’d had that experience…” I looked over at my husband as he drove, and his brow was furrowed in either intense concentration on the words, or he was angry at being put through the exercise, or the content was bothersome. ¬†I couldn’t tell, so I continued. ¬†“Before long, I found myself wishing we were somewhere more private, where I could fully and completely express myself and my affection for him. ¬†I asked him if he wanted to get a hotel, and he agreed. ¬†We agreed to meet there, and take separate cars so that we were less obvious, in case we ran into someone we knew, and I needed to be available at 3:30 to pick up the kids from school. ¬†I wouldn’t have had time to return him to his car back at work, and vice versa. ¬†I fantasized throughout the entire drive about what was about to happen. ¬†Would he find me attractive naked? ¬†What did he look like naked? ¬†Is he a good lover? ¬†‘Of course, he must be’, I thought, considering his sexual energy. ¬†The traffic could not move fast enough to satisfy my hunger, and soon I had parked the car, and was running into the lobby. ¬†He was already at the desk, making the arrangements. ¬†He had obviously driven faster than me. ¬†He must have been as excited as I was. ¬†We hurried through the check-in process, giving fake names, and a credit card number. ¬†As soon as the plastic key card entered his hand, his eyes met mine and he smiled. ¬†This was really going to happen. ¬†We rushed for the first available elevator. Truthfully, I would have taken the stairs to the 21st floor, it didn’t matter, but thankfully, it only took seconds for the elevator car to open. ¬†Speed walking through the hallway, he held my hand tightly. ¬†His hand was sweating, and I could feel his rushing pulse. ¬†It matched mine. ¬†We fumbled clumsily with the key card in the lock, and finally the door opened. ¬†We crossed the threshold and the door slammed shut behind us. ¬†The next moments are a blur as we peeled off one another’s clothes with an excitement that I had long since forgotten. ¬†Revealing his body to me, and mine to him, we became ever more excited, and he kissed me. ¬†Before I knew it, we were on the bed, his gentle caresses on my neck. ¬†What followed was the most amazing and extraordinary sexual experience I’d ever had…” ¬†I looked over at my husband driving, and his knuckles were white on the steering wheel, his jaw clenched, and I continued. “He gave me the most intense and body-consuming orgasms I’d ever had, over and over again, until we both fell onto the bed together, in a breathless and sweaty pile, our hearts racing, and our bodies satisfied.”

“So, tell me”, I asked of my husband while he drove, “where exactly in that situation was I loving you?”. ¬†My husband’s eyes filled with tears, and he finally understood. ¬†“I wasn’t”, was his reply. ¬†“I was never loving you or showing you love in those moments, if I was doing something so selfish with someone else like that. ¬†I wasn’t loving you at all”.

My husband got it. ¬†He never again told me “I never stopped loving you”, because he realized that while he may have never stopped FEELING love for me, for those moments that he was deceiving me, he wasn’t LIVING his love for me. ¬†For the first time in our recovery, my husband stood in my place, and felt the horror of what I was feeling. ¬†Knowing that the pain and anguish he was feeling as a result of a made-up imaginary exercise had caused him such hurt, he knew that mine must be so much greater, and at that moment, he felt what it felt like to stand in my shoes, and the ugly view I had from where I stood. ¬†From that moment, he invested himself in SHOWING me he loved me, and it has made all the difference.

Screen Shot 2012-12-27 at 1.07.05 PM

 

 

Would you like to connect on Facebook?


If you are a reader of this blog, and would like to join the Facebook page for this blog, I would love that!

 

How could he do this to me, and claim to love me?


Often times, ¬†I hear betrayed spouses say “How could my spouse have done this to me?”, and “S/he must have known this would devastate me, how could s/he do this on purpose?”, or ” S/he says s/he never stopped loving me, despite having had an affair. ¬†How do you love someone and simultaneously hurt them so deeply? ¬†How is that loving??”

Those statements are familiar, not only because I have heard them time and time again from wounded spouses, betrayed by their partners, but also because I too have asked EACH ONE OF THOSE QUESTIONS at one time or another.

The pain of infidelity brought on by a spouse’s affair has been described as one of the worst emotional traumas that a person can experience. ¬†If you just caught yourself debating that statement in your mind, and posing death as a more painful trauma, you’d be close, but wrong. ¬†In death, those left behind, except in the case of suicide, know that the person who left them did not do so on purpose. ¬†In an affair, the person who suffers the loss is caused to suffer due to the purposeful actions of another, worse still by the person who vowed to protect their hearts forever. ¬†It is a truly indescribable loss and betrayal that you simply can’t fathom or appreciate unless it happens to you. ¬†When someone causes you to suffer such pain on purpose, and with intent, the damage is really immense.

20121110-230328.jpg

Of course, upon discovery of the affair, the first thing we wrestle with is the dissonance that arises when we consider that this pain was caused intentionally through the purposeful behaviour of someone we love, and who purports to love us. ¬†“How can someone love me, and do something so ugly to me?”. ¬† The simple fact is, affairs are completely selfish acts, where the person embroiled in the affair is NOT thinking of you, the pain their actions will cause you, the consequences of their actions, or whether they should reconsider in light of your feelings. ¬†They are motivated completely selfishly by the benefits that the affair brings THEM. ¬†For the time being, the world is revolving around them, and for a brief time, you do not exist. ¬†Hurtful to think, but completely true based on the many reports from wayward spouses who report their experience. Affairs satisfy an emotional gap left open by vulnerabilities in the wayward spouse’s world. ¬†Passed up for a promotion, the loss of a parent, a recent move, addition of a new baby into the home, these experienced, not dealt with and perhaps even minimized in the mind of the wayward spouse, grow and are soon tenderly placated and soothed by the adoring and admiring words of another, who reflects back to him/her the reflection of themselves they wish to project. ¬†The affair partner, then, becomes a mirror to the wayward spouse, reflecting back only those positive qualities in themselves, and none of the stressors and reality that come with real life. ¬†It is a fantasy and it feels really good. ¬†It feels so good in fact, the wayward spouse starts to seek it out, the thrill like a drug, the ¬†fringe benefits well worth the effort to cover it up and hide it. ¬†Who the affair partner is, what s/he looks like, how they perform in bed, what they say and do don’t really matter – it’s how those things made your partner FEEL that made the difference, and I can guarantee that while they were deep in the throes of self-esteem-seeking, they were not thinking about you, your pain, the possible outcome. ¬†They were selfishly only thinking of themselves. ¬†It is akin to a drug addict, who just needs a hit – the tunnel vision showing them only the drug, the finish line, the goal. ¬†Everything else falls outside the line of focus, at least for now. ¬†So, when a spouse says, “I wasn’t trying to hurt you”, s/he probably wasn’t. ¬†What s/he WAS trying to do was unhurt themselves, and you were collateral damage.

One of the things that used to drive me INSANE in the wake of my husband’s affair was that he used to say “I never stopped loving you”. ¬†Knowing that my husband had been intimate with another woman made me feel as unloved as a human could possibly feel. ¬†I had no value, no worth. ¬†I wasn’t worth loving if he chose to do that to me. ¬†I was unworthy. ¬†Claiming that he never stopped loving me felt like a slap in the face each time he said it. ¬†He’d say it with a expectant tone, as if I would hear it and magically understand that he was right, and I shouldn’t hurt over it. ¬†PARDON ME???!! ¬†How do you claim to love someone so deeply while thrusting your penis into another woman? ¬†How do you love me while creating false email addresses to hide your tracks and telling the other woman that you love her? ¬†“How is that loving me?”, I’d thought. ¬†He would explain it as “compartmentalization”….that he had an ability to put me and our family out of his mind completely when he was with the other woman. ¬† When he’d start to feel guilty, he would justify why he deserved this, why it was OK, and even why he thought I would be ok with it (yes, he rationalized that one). ¬†He wasn’t thinking of me while he was with her. He had his phone turned off, and he was disconnected from us. ¬†It was weird to consider that notion, because part of me wanted him to be thinking of me, and the other part didn’t. ¬†If he was thinking of me, then I held at least an equal share of the OW’s power, I’d think. ¬†However, if he was thinking of me, it also meant he was doing this to me with willful knowledge of me, consciously. ¬†It was a lose-lose, and I hated it. ¬†It was only once I had the opportunity to sit and talk with Brian Bercht of Passionate Life Seminars, and his description of what was going through his mind, that I realized that it was possible and that my husband “may” be accurately describing his experience, and not lying about it. ¬†That was a big step forward for me.

It is hard to imagine, but our husbands don’t think of us during every moment of every day. I like to think that he does, and often play the playful “Did you think about me today?” game when we finally connect after work over the phone or in person. ¬†Of course, then I want to know how often, what he thought…he just can’t report that because he doesn’t remember and just doesn’t think of me as often as I would like to think that he does. ¬†He certainly wasn’t thinking of me when he was seeking her out, and if I popped to mind, I was rationalized away pretty fast. ¬†It is amazing what the mind can do, and what you can allow yourself to do, and focus on, at the expense of all else.

We would like to think the pain the affair would cause US would have been a deterrent to the affair. ¬†It simply isn’t. ¬†The pull towards filling whatever that gap is, is so strong, that it trumps all things. ¬†It is pure selfishness, unbridled. ¬†They seek only to satisfy themselves, without thought or consideration of other people. ¬† It’s the same reason why knowing that sex can lead to STD’s and unwanted pregnancy doesn’t stop horny teenagers from engaging in unprotected sex – the urge to fulfill their own immediate need blinds them, and their tunnel vision shows only the reward, not the sacrifices along the path. ¬†It is the same situation that arises when one, addicted to food and what the food represents for them, gorges themselves with it, knowing full well that it is making them sick. ¬†They do it anyway, because for the time being, it feels good. ¬†The guilt will come later, but it will be rationalized away…”that’s the LAST time…”, or “I just needed it this one time because…”

Nothing set me off more than when my husband would say to me “I never stopped loving you”. ¬†It was such a slap in the face, in the aftermath of the affair. ¬†How dare he put a tender word like “LOVE” into his affair? ¬†How dare he equate loving me with betraying me?!!? ¬†It made no sense and would anger me incessantly. ¬†He just didn’t understand why I would become so enraged when he’d say that. ¬†He really believed it to be true and was trying to make me feel better. ¬†So why wasn’t it working? ¬†My next post will highlight how I showed him through a simple exercise why, and why he never said those words to me again. ¬†Loving me was no longer part of that equation, and showing me how he loved me from that day forward was going to make the difference.

Stay tuned.

Words of comfort:11


20121214-075551.jpg

20121214-075602.jpg

The OTHER woman


The O.T.H.E.R woman

O – overplayed
T- toy
H- he
E – eventually
R – releases

Rebuilding Trust after an Affair: A guide for the Wayward Spouse


Trust is nothing more than ‘proven behavior over time’. ¬†When an affair devastates a marriage, trust is completely broken. ¬†How do you go about restoring trust in the aftermath of one of the greatest devastations a person can inflict?

First and foremost, if you are going to confess an affair to your spouse, you might as well tell him/her the ENTIRE truth. ¬†I told my husband in the wake of the discovery of his affair that I wanted all of the information on the table. ¬†I wanted to know who, when, where, how often, what, and most of all, WHY. ¬†That last one was the one that took the longest time to unravel, and truth be told, it isn’t often one that the wayward spouse even knows the answer to….until they do the work involved in uncovering what made them seek a relationship outside of their marriage, and that takes time, introspection, and therapy.

The most important thing for me, in the initial days, was the reassurance that I wasn’t going to be knocked off of my feet again. ¬†I lost all footing when he confessed his affair. ¬†I hated the feeling of helplessness that brought, and I reasoned that I would rather know the truth, no matter how devastating, in one fell swoop than receive the truth in small doses, each time being knocked to the floor. ¬†I reasoned I was already on the floor, you might as well throw it all at me, because once I get up, I don’t want to be knocked over again. ¬†So, you may as well give your spouse what they need to know, if you are even going to admit to your wrongdoings. ¬†There is no point in half-way. ¬† Either you tell them, or you don’t. ¬†Obviously, it is better if you do, but my point is simply that trickle-truth (truth that trickles in slowly, one drip at a time) only results in a reduction of trust when you slowly confess to things you earlier denied. ¬†Laying your cards on the table face up, and doing so early will win you major points.

A betrayed spouse is going to have tons of questions. ¬†How many questions s/he has depends on the person. ¬†Some people crave to know every last detail, while others are satisfied with less. ¬†I, for one, wanted ALL of the details. ¬†I didn’t like knowing that my husband had a little window of life that I didn’t have access to, or know about, and I wanted as much information and knowledge of his affair as he had….as she had. ¬†Whether you ask for the gory details earlier in the process or later, remember that you are responsible for the information that you receive. ¬†Do not ask a question that you are not prepared to hear an answer for. ¬†If you can imagine hearing the worst case scenario and you feel incapable of handling that truth, perhaps it is best to wait on that particular question, but table it for another time. ¬†Answering all of the questions that a betrayed spouse has shows honesty and a commitment to the process of healing. Showing patience for his/her constant re-hashing of details, and perhaps even asking the same question again and again is necessary. ¬†We repeat the questions because our brains are trying to synthesize all of the information. ¬†Repetition allows the information to penetrate to an area where we can then understand and deal with its content. ¬†Just like children, it helps us learn to repeat. ¬†It also helps us to test answers against prior responses to gauge truthfulness, but it isn’t USUALLY done on purpose as a test…that is just a side bonus ūüôā

Owning your mistake, amidst such shame is not an easy task. ¬†I don’t think I would have the ability to do it. ¬†I am not strong enough of character to manage that, I don’t think. ¬†Having your mistake brought up again and again is hurtful to the one who has betrayed. ¬†Not only because the wayward spouse needs to re-examine his/her flaws under a microscope again and again, but because s/he needs to see his/her spouse struggling with the information, hurting, and trying to piece themselves back together again. ¬†You cannot rush a healing process. It is a process…and it isn’t a straight line. ¬†In fact, some days you won’t remember the last time you took a step forward as it seems each time you do, you take three backwards. ¬†It is frustrating, but stick with it. ¬†Invite the betrayed spouse to ask questions, and be patient with him/her. ¬†For me, asking a lot of questions made me feel needy and burdensome. ¬†I worried that if I asked too many questions, my husband would find me unappealing, and leave me. ¬†Of course, that was when I still believed that the reason he’d had the affair was because I was unappealing in some way and that it had something to do with me. It wasn’t until much later that I learned (through repetition and re-exposure to the idea) that it had NOTHING to do with me. ¬†Be patient.

Actions speak louder than words. ¬†Show your spouse that you are committed to their healing. ¬†Attend marital counselling and DO THE HOMEWORK. ¬†Attend individual counselling also. ¬†Give your spouse password access to your phone, your emails, your text messages and your voicemails. ¬†Give your spouse complete access to check these as they need. ¬†You need to be an open book now, at least for a while. ¬†Don’t be surprised or angry when you feel s/he has looked through your personal communications. ¬†After all, it was your actions that landed you here in the first place, and you haven’t been a stellar example of honesty. ¬†Regain trust by removing all doubts by providing complete and unrestricted access. ¬†Tell your spouse when you will be late, and provide your whereabouts. ¬†Take pictures to prove your plans, if needed. ¬†Your spouse is going to be on hyper alert for a while. ¬†Offer these things before they are requested, it goes a long way towards showing you can be trustworthy.

What you say and what you do are two different things. They should both be the same, but one weighs more than the other.  Words are simply words.  Actions speak. In fact showing us through behaviour will carry more weight than telling us the same thing ten times.  Maybe more.

That brings me to the reason I made this post in the first place.  While standing in the Chinese Theatre in Epcot Centre at Walt Disney World a while back, I came upon this plaque on the wall:

 

photo

 

 

Words of comfort:10


20121212-041341.jpg

%d bloggers like this: