Advertisements

Toronto Affair Recovery Seminar


I am often asked “if you could pick one thing that propelled you forward in your healing, what would that one thing be?” Hands down, it was attending the “healing from affairs” weekend with Anne and Brian Bercht.

Anne and Brian are affair recovery specialists. They have helped hundreds and hundreds of couples heal their marriages. They have also helped hundreds and hundreds more who were interested in reconciling come to terms with the affair and forgive, allowing the betrayed spouse to no longer be at the mercy of the affair.

I have been asked by Anne and Brian Bercht to put out feelers to see if there are any readers near Toronto, Canada who would be interested in one of their seminars in April 2014?

In order to commit to offering it, they would require at least ten participants. In order to show your commitment only a $500 deposit would be required instead of full payment.

If you want to find out more about what they do, visit http://www.beyondaffairs.com
and check out “seminars”. It truly is life-changing and I can’t recommend their programs enough.

You need to know that these seminars rarely if ever come to that area, and rarely to Canada. If you live there, or can get there, take advantage of this opportunity. It won’t happen again for many years. Find change now.

Comment below if you would be interested in placing a deposit towards an April 2014 date so that they can make this happen for you!

Advertisements

Lifting the veil of taboo


Why is infidelity such a taboo topic?

Why are we all so keen to portray marriage as perfect bliss, with no problems?

Why are we so ashamed to admit that there are issues like this exist in a marriage?

Why does no one EVER want to talk about it?Why is there such judgment about it?The taboo of infidelity

Because I consider myself to be completely healed, I can say that I no longer feel the need to obtain support from others by telling them my story.   I don’t seek out others to tell in the hopes that they can offer me suggestiions, a shoulder to cry on, and ear to listen…I just don’t *need* that anymore.   And, although some of my friends know of our situation, most don’t.   I can say that in my desire to seek support, I feel that I did tell the wrong people.  Most of the ones I told aren’t in my life anymore, mostly because we weren’t such good friends, I suppose.  In some cases, learning of the affair pushed some away, either because they couldn’t handle the fallout, my constant need to talk about it, the way it monopolized the conversation, or all of the above.   Once I started to notice that those that knew were dropping off, I started to become more prudent in who I told…until I just didn’t need to tell anyone anymore.  I can now keep it to myself, but should I have to?
It’s interesting to me.  Over the last couple of years, my husband and I have befriended a couple through our children who were once at the same school.   We started to hang out with them socially, and really enjoy their company.  From time to time, the topic of infidelity has come up, as they have shared stories of work colleagues and other friends whose marriages have fallen victim to an affair.  In talking with them, not having once shared our story, I detect judgment from them about the topic. I can see quite clearly that they both are very quick to support the betrayed, and vilify the unfaithful spouse.  They both seem to be of the same opinion that an unhappy marriage should be exited before a new relationship started (I agree), but they also both seem to think that an unhappy marriage is what leads to affairs, and if you have been following my blog, or doing any reading on the subject, you will know that it’s not that simple.  While I appreciate the fact that their feelings on the matter support ME in MY position as the betrayed spouse, I also know that we could never tell them because it would jeopardize our relationship.  They would likely harbour very  negative feelings towards my husband, and if we told them now, they might feel betrayed themselves, knowing that we’ve discussed the topic together and never once told them that we have intimate knowledge about infidelity, having been there ourselves.  I have to say, though, that I do feel like a fraud not being able to share such a significant story of WHO WE ARE as a couple, with another couple that we are becoming close friends with.
I made a comment on Facebook the other day, about a mistresses as I watched the trial of Dr. Martin McNeill unfold, on trial for allegedly killing his wife Michelle in order to start a new life with his mistress Gypsy Willis.   My sister in law chimed in that married men who have affairs are the absolute scum of the earth.  I can’t help but wonder what that dinner conversation would look like if we told her that her brother in law, who both appear to hold in high regard, was guilty of that very thing?   Not only that, he fathered a child with his mistress and is paying child support for the next 19 years?  I think they might have coronaries right then and there, and given her comments, I can imagine it might cause a rift, so we remain quiet.It makes me sad when I think of how many of us are forced to stay quiet about these issues because we feel threatened to lose others around us if we tell?  It’s like a shameful secret that no one wants to talk about.  But, it is also a catch 22: The less we talk about it, the more secret and taboo it becomes, so the less we talk about it.  As someone who has been through it, who walked through to the other side, and who understands affairs so much better, I don’t feel shame in my story.  I feel pride.  My prior feelings of shame came from the belief that my husband’s affair was a refection of me as a bad wife, a bad lover, an incompetent partner, a lesser woman.  I now know that to not be true, so I do not feel shameful.  I would also venture to guess that my husband no longer feels as much shame as he once did because he now knows that his affair doesn’t reflect on him as a globally bad man.  He has taken the steps to make the proper amends and done the work.  Shouldn’t he feel proud?  Shouldn’t we both?   So why can’t we talk about it? Because we will lose friends and family…and that makes me very sad.

I try to live with authenticity.  I thrive when I have fewer more intimate connections with others.  Part of that intimacy is openly sharing the deepest parts of oneself with those you trust and care about, and I can’t have that with some that I would like to.  I have to wonder how the taboo of infidelity could ever be lifted?  I often feel like I am living a lie.  And, considering how prevalent infidelity has become, and that MOST of us will experience it at some point…shouldn’t we be talking about it?

 

A return to me


This process has been torturous for all involved.  Who knew that one split second decision to give a woman flirty attention, perhaps a kiss, or respond to a flirtatious gesture could turn a whole series of lives upside down?   I know my husband didn’t.  If he had, he would have walked away.  He should have walked away.

D-day was so long ago.  Looking back, I couldn’t wait for the time to pass, so I could be where I am now.   Now that I am here, I can’t believe how long ago that was.  So much has happened since then.  My kids have celebrated three Christmases, three birthdays…we’ve moved, they’ve changed schools, etc.  Not much is the same as it was then, and I am thankful that no remnants exist. I wanted to pack that life away, and never open the box again.

I mentioned this in another entry, but the day after D-day, I was scheduled to work with a family with two young children.  I had to watch him put his arm around her, snuggle her after they laughed about a mutually understood inside-joke, watch the dad scruff the hair of his son, and coddle his daughter.  I had to watch a family BE a family.  It was the hardest thing you could have asked me to do in the wake of finding out.  I wanted to die.  I tried as hard as I could to put a smile on my face, to pretend that all was ok with me.  I wondered whether my eyes showed signs of the beating I’d put them through the night before, crying, and holding back screams as I muffled my mouth with a towel.   I hoped they wouldn’t suspect.   I was likely overcompensating for their benefit and my own, forcing smiles and cracking jokes.   It was horribly fake.

In the days and weeks that passed, I continued to work, as I had pre-scheduled appointments that I had to keep.  I couldn’t take any leave.  I am self-employed and my company doesn’t run without me.  I am the life-force of the company, the manager, the worker, the advertiser, the salesman, the technician, the everything.   Desperately trying to keep my head afloat, work provided me with a distraction from my pain, but it was also a barrier to giving myself the gift of healing time.  I was so preoccupied with work, I dove into it.  I took on more of it.  Moments of quiet were dangerous.  Keeping my mind busy and my plate full was a good thing…most of the time.   The down-side was that I wasn’t giving myself time to grieve, and was allowing myself this time only in between.  Punctuated moments now and then, and only for limited time, as I had work to do, clients to please, a community to engage with, kids to raise.

When my mother died, I did the same thing.  Not having anticipated these losses, I wasn’t ready when the time came, and had no way of giving myself any time off.  I continued on, plugging away.

What I feel most sad about, when I reflect on the last few years, was the effect my emotional condition had on my children.  I became a bad parent some of the time.  I had no patience.  I was quick to anger, and yelled a lot.  I lashed out at my kids for seemingly minor infractions because inside I was at the end of my rope, and I didn’t have enough reserve.  I was hanging on by a thread, and while my kids had no idea, I am sure they noticed that mommy just wasn’t so nice anymore.   Between my inner grief, and my work schedule, I didn’t sign them up for many activities after school.  In as much as I attended school functions and contributed as much as I could to their school life, I wasn’t doing much for their extra-curricular life, and I am sure life at home wasn’t very fun.   I didn’t smile much, rarely joked, and my husband and I were probably not very affectionate in front of them.  How could I be?  I wasn’t sure I wasn’t opening myself up to further heartbreak.

One of the reasons I became a mom was to make a difference.  I wanted to raise beautiful children.  I wanted to create human beings that would go forward in their lives and make meaningful contributions.  I wanted to create generous, kind, compassionate people who would do something good with their lives.  I wanted to mother them.  I wanted to bake for them, cook for them, teach them, love them, hold them, read with them, guide them.   As much as any working mother could, I tried to make those things happen.  But the years from 2009-2012 were fraught with insecurity and pain.  I didn’t even know if we would survive as a family.  I gave the bare minimum a lot of the time, and I feel bad about that looking back.   My kids deserved more, and I wasn’t giving them what they needed.   Thankfully, kids are resilient, and we did a good job despite our situation.  They still don’t know, but I am sure they notice that mom is more fun, more prepared to give them her time and attention, and less quick to anger.  \

The OW was hell bent on taking my family from me, and while she wasn’t winning in the way she had planned, I feel as though she did cause damage, and took ME from MY family emotionally.

I made a decision this summer that will benefit my children.   I am closing my business next month, and taking the time to focus entirely on them.  I want to cook, I want to bake, I want to fold laundry, I want to drive them to school, I want to attend rehearsals, and be the lunchroom monitor on special days.  I want to be involved in their school life, and active in their personal lives.  I want to be fully available to them.  It’s not that I hate my job, it is more that I no longer want to allow my job to pull me away from what is important, and I am wanting to make up for lost time.  I am fulfilled just loving my kids, and I want to spend some time repairing the damage I feel was caused.

As I reflected on my decision to stop working the other day, I realized that a part of my happiness over taking this step is also another clean break from something that carries remnants from the affair days.  I want to purge all things that were a part of my world then, and start anew.  Like I said, I have a new home, we drive different cars now, our kids attend a different school, and my husband has relocated his office since the affair.  Almost nothing remains that once was during the affair.  It is all new, different, and clean.   My business is one of the last constants that has been there through it all, and while this isn’t the reason I am giving it up, it does feel good to let go of something that also felt tarnished from the affair.  She knew where I worked, she’d offered to have a rendez-vous in my office space once.   Taking this out of my life, leaves me room to fill it with something new that wasn’t there during the affair.

I don’t know what the next years have in store for me.   I know that I will miss my job a little, but I will cherish the memories made with my kids more.  I may go back to school.  I may not.  For now, I will just wait and see, and am grateful that I have the option to not work while I figure it out.  I feel like I am finally taking the time for me that I denied myself before.

 

In his own words…


As many long-time readers and subscribers of this blog know, I have wanted my husband to document his journey in his words.  It’s hard to put the entire journey into one piece, because it spans many years, has many aspects (as you know from reading my side) and many turns, valleys and victories too.  To try and capture it all in one piece is impossible.  I hope he will write more, or compartmentalize the task into smaller sections and talk only about those things (i.e. his vulnerabilities at the time, his true feelings for the OW, why her, the struggle to free himself from the affair, the decision to tell me, the story of how he told me, the fallout, the healing, forgiveness etc.)

Four years ago I took the first step of a journey that would alter the course of my life.  I didn’t know it at the time, but by accepting an invitation from a co-worker to engage in an affair, my life would never be the same again.  It seemed relatively benign at the time.  A holiday from the “everyday” life of a busy professional.   A break from the stress that comes with entering middle age where one has to balance a busy career, a budding family, and ailing parents.  There was no balance, there was stress, hard work, and vulnerability.  In fact, the affair partner wasn’t even good looking!  My wife was and is a beautiful woman, she turns heads and commands a presence when she enters the room.  A woman that any man would be proud to marry.  When we started to date, I was surprised that she would even be interested in me – I felt that she was out of my league (as the saying goes).  By contrast my affair partner was short and stout, had a big butt and uneven breasts.  She used to make funny faces during intercourse that would freak me out, and sometimes turn me off.  Her breasts were fake, uneven, a no frills plastics deal.  She would walk into a room and typically pass judgement on people, make enemies, and develop a delusional condescending story about people.  I never knew if she was telling the truth or fabricating a lie.  I grew to question her words, her honesty, and her integrity.  So why did I engage in an affair with such a person??????  Why did I risk it all, destroy my life, and destroy the lives of those around me?

The question of why did I have an affair has been the focal point of self exploration for the past 4 years.  It is that question that has inspired me to depart from the safety of my “planned” life on a journey of exploration that will likely never end with an answer – only raise more questions.

My affair partner tricked me.  She told me that she was in love with a long term boyfriend.  They were living together.  Their relationship was as long as my marriage had been.  I discovered later that she lied about everything, there was no boyfriend.  Either way, I was made to believe that we were on equal footing and both taking an equal risk to be together.  She told me that it was just for fun, a holiday, and that at the drop of a hat, either one of us just had to say the word and it would end.  No questions asked!  No hard feelings!  No consequences!  This was safe.  What could be safer for a stressed out middle age professional who needed some kind of reprieve?  Life was hard for me at the time.  Some people turn to drugs and alcohol, I turned to sex.  Neither one a good solution.  I later discovered that people dig themselves deeper into a hole when they use a maladaptive response to a difficult situation because not only is one left with the difficult situation left unresolved, but they also have to contend with the consequence of their poor choices.   Instead of sitting down with my wife and sharing the burden of finding a solution to some of the challenges I was facing, a healthy choice that would have eventually brought us closer together, I sought out ways of resolving the situation on my own, and got caught up in an affair.

I like to believe that I am a powerful man.  A man who is in control of the situation around him, independent, successful, a go getter, a bread winner, a person above average.  I like to believe that I rise where all others fail.  I like to believe that I don’t need help.  However, over the years I have learned a very painful lesson.  I can’t do it myself.  Unlike my romantic notion of a hero who stands alone and wins the day, I have developed a wisdom – I cannot do it alone.  I require the help of others, and work best with others assisting me.  Unfortunately, my delusion of grandeur had led me into a trap.  I wasn’t able to do it alone, and as a result, I was failing.  As I was failing, I was vulnerable.  My affair partner identified my vulnerability and exploited it.  As I reflect on the affair, I believe that she did her homework.  She knew where I lived, the car my wife drove, my wife’s hairstyle.  She knew about things that I told her, and things that I did not tell her.  After all, what kind of strait guy discusses his wife’s hairstyle with anyone?  That should have been my first clue.  She was stalking me.  I was her project.

After my vulnerabilities were mapped out by this person, the rest must have been easy.  Just slip in and begin with intercourse, and the rest is driven by blackmail – and that’s exactly what happened:  My interests magically became her interests.  I was complimented, validated, and made to feel like the hero that I believed I should be.  But when I wanted to stop the affair, when I said we’re done the affair, the blackmail began.  She threatened to disclose it to my wife, my friends, my work colleagues, and my professional circles.  So I complied with her requests and continued our relationship.  I was trapped!  As long as I complied with her wishes, I would be okay, my world wouldn’t be torn apart, but if I didn’t comply, then she would rip me apart socially , personally, and professionally.  I stayed with her, I needed time to find a way out.

Stockholm Syndrome develops when the prisoner becomes close to their kidnapper.  This woman was tearing me away from everything that I held dear, against my desire to be with her, and yet I would engage with her in intercourse.  Stockholm Syndrome is the only way that I can understand and explain my actions.  My days were dark, I was in a prison, but walking amongst others.  I was beaten down, feeling powerless and did not know what to do.  Every day I hoped I would think of some kind of solution, but as her and I spent more time together, she trapped me even further.   I was sinking!

It all stopped when I took away her power over me.  I told my wife about the affair and braced myself for the storm that was to come.

The darkest days of my life had come upon me.  Attacked by my affair partner, and on loose footing in my marriage – my life had crumbled apart.  In order to put it back together I spent the next three years of my life seeking out wisdom to help me understand myself and the new world around me.  I have engaged in many conversations with my wife, counselors, friends, and advisors.  I have read books, scoured websites, and travelled to marriage enhancement retreats.  I have begun to understand the complexity of marriage, the fragility of marriage, and the reasons why over 50% of North Americans divorce.  I have understood my vulnerabilities, my strengths, and my shortcomings.  I have become wiser, more humble, and scarred.  I am no longer the man I was 4 years ago, and sadly my journey has taken me away from that man, the man I was before the affair, and I will not know him again.

So what have I learned?

Love.  I have learned about love.  I have learned that love is a conscious choice that we make every day.  It is not a romantic notion that sweeps us off of our feet, draws us in, and commands our lives.  I have finally understood what happens after the prince rides off with the princess into the sunset.  I have understood that loving another person is distinctly different than falling in love with that person.  The difference is that the act of falling in love is selfish, and short lived, while loving someone is selfless and infinite.  It’s confusing because the word “love” is used in both situations.

When one falls in love, they are overwhelmed with emotion for the person that they desire to have.  Their need to be with that individual is only satisfied by being with that individual. It is selfish.  I hate to sound unromantic but two people who have “fallen in love” are coexisting in a selfish state.  They are mutually fulfilling a desire to be with the other person.  In being together they are satisfying their own selfish need, and coincidentally satisfying their partner’s selfish need.  The “in love” phenomenon ends as the newness, or as some term it the “ Honeymoon” phase of the relationship comes to a close.  At the two year mark, the work of choosing to love another person begins.  This is selfless work to satisfy an altruistic desire to foster a partner’s growth, wellbeing and happiness.

I fell in love with my wife when we met, and I continue to love her.  Over the years, since the affair, I find myself seeking out to experience her pain.  I enter a frame of mind that I believe she may be in, and I experience her pain.  The feeling is chaotic and indescribable.  I can’t make sense of it, explain it, or relay it to anyone.  I can’t think of an analogous way to describe it.  It’s horrible.  It is pure pain and agony.  Sometimes it brings me to tears, but mostly it brings me beyond tears.  It’s hard to believe that the mind has the ability to transcend into such darkness, but it is how I would imagine feeling as death descends upon me.

I often engage in the act of empathizing with my wife.  She has struggles, as any person, and she is more feeling than I am.  As I experience that which I believe she experiences, I strive to understand her needs and desires, and I yearn to fulfill them.  When I make the choice to love her, I make the choice to let go of myself, my needs  and wants and to step into her world.  Only from there can I be the man who I want to be for her in order to create a world around her that will foster her personal needs and growth.

In addition to love, I have learned about the power of vulnerability.  We are all vulnerable.  Stress, hard knocks in life, our own insecurities make us vulnerable.  Anyone who can identify another’s vulnerabilities can exploit them for personal gain.  As I have learned about the notion of manipulation of others through their vulnerabilities, I have discovered the value and importance of privacy and intimacy.  Before the affair I lived an open life.  I knew that there were people who were extremely secretive, and I condemned them for their secrecy.  It seemed like they had a poker hand that they were slyly going to play at any given time.  I was proud to be open, transparent, and non secretive (with some socially appropriate exceptions).  In retrospect, it was a naive way to be.  My affair partner identified my needs, my weaknesses, and my insecurities.  Then she simply gave me what she believed would satisfy me.  She reeled me in close enough that she got her meat hooks into me.  Once I was trapped, her true colours came out.  I have learned that one must be aware of their vulnerabilities, whether it be work stress, a fight with the spouse, a sick parent, or conflict with their children.  By exposing this to others, one may place themselves at risk.  It’s not hard for a prospective affair partner to play the role of a perfect “friend” in order to draw a vulnerable person into an affair and to draw them away from a more constructive approach of solving their problems.

Lastly, I have learned about the fallibility of humanity.  Humans are imperfect!  I raise this point not as an acceptable excuse for my adulterous behaviour.  I raise it to emphasize the importance of a salad of human instinctive behaviours.  Firstly, tolerance, understanding, and acceptance:  I have been with my wife for nearly 16 years if we count the years we were dating.  Never had I cheated on her except in this affair.  In fact, I had never cheated on anyone who I had ever been with.  However, I have been labeled a philanderer.  Although not by my wife, I have been tried and sentence as a guy who will probably do it again – my historic track record of fidelity has been deemed unimportant.  I believe that it is a human quality to protect oneself from further pain by making such accusations.  In order to not rise up in battle against the unfounded notion that I would cheat again, I find comfort in accepting and understanding the source of the belief.  Second, there is a belief that knowledge and insight brings one illumination and growth.  Specifically, when I look back at my journey, am I a better man for taking it? Have I learned, have I changed?  I think we as humans have learned to believe that personal growth, knowledge, and insight are positive.  Ignorance, although blissful, is considered negative.  However, I have lived through the darkest days of my life over these years.  I almost lost everything that I had worked to build; money, career, and family.  I still have pangs of anxiety when my lawyer’s office contacts me with regards to requests from the affair partner (yes it went to the lawyers and to the courts).  I have no more benefit in my life from this experience than a concentration camp survivor has from their experience.  I just recognize that there can exist a very dark reality, and regretfully I partook in it.  Although maybe I need to have some further maturity around this point – all I can believe is that I wish I had never had the affair, I wish it never happened.    Thirdly, I feel aged.  This affair and the aftermath took the wind out from under my sails.  I don’t know if perhaps it’s just aging in general, but I find myself feeling older, looking older, and generally less ambitious than I have been in the past.  In recent years, I have become very aware of my humanity, fallibility, and mortality.

Over the years, I have made many attempts to write about my experience and my insights. I’ve had a lot of difficulty expressing my thoughts on this with clarity.  I hope to share my experience, the lessons learned, and the wisdom gained.  I hope to impart this wisdom to others who may walk down the same path.  It is my sincerest hope that no one ever does what I did as it will ruin their life, the life of their spouse and the lives of their children.

 

Feel free to ask any questions or make comments.  I will pass them along to him, and get him to reply to the specific comments directed at him.

 

Thanks for reading and for your continued support of our story.

Man of honor: words from a husband


My husband wrote me the following last night, after reading the previous blog entry. It speaks to his experience of the “man of honor” weekend, what he pulled from it, and how he sees his future.

I am sharing it in the hopes that it can help give some insights into his thinking on his affair.

With respect to the blog post that I prepared for you…I was disappointed that it did not speak to you in the way that I had developed it in my mind. I can see how you would receive it to be a disturbing, insensitive, and emotionless post. I was surprised that it came out to be that way – but I understand how it came to be, and I would like to share with you my thoughts.

I had spent a year developing various ways of expressing myself with regards to this very important post. One night, when I couldn’t sleep, I decided to sit down and spend a few hours writing. All I achieved was a chronology of the events of the year, and the recovery following. It was very unfulfilling, and added nothing new to the situation at hand. When I learned about the Man of Honour weekend, it gave me the hope that I would spend a weekend with men focussing on the affair, dissecting it, and rising to a revelation about the situation. In the end, I think that I did that. I regret that it’s not palatable to you. If there’s one thing that I learned from the weekend, it’s that men and women approach the affair situation in very different ways. It leaves me to wonder if the critical elements that are required for men to understand, digest, and recover from the affair are not, and perhaps never could be, the same kind of elements that are necessary for women to recovery irrespective of the gender of the perpetrator of the infidelity.

As the weekend progressed, I became acutely aware of a need to develop a vision of myself as the man who I want to be in the future. Clearly the man who I was in the past was not suitable. This vision is important not only because it of the way I want to see myself, but because it will engulf the man who I intend to be as a husband to you, a father for our children, and the career man who I want to be remembered as. People often use the idea of writing one’s own eulogy as a way of identifying the key means of direction for their moral compass. Bryan Bercht and the Man of Honour weekend helped me transcend that overused eulogy creating exercise. It was from that weekend that came my blog contribution.

There are three key elements that came out of the Man of Honour weekend that changed my vision of who I aim to be. The first is the notion of the Man of Honour, the second comes from the words of Victor Frankl, and the third is just me putting it all together into a vision of the future.

On Friday night, our group of approximately 20 men ate our dinner, we were engaging in polite conversation, and cautious of broaching the delicate issues of infidelity. We then assembled in a meeting room and upon the request of our leader, we assembled a list of qualities that we unanimously agreed would reflect a man of honour. I find it ironic that a group of men, disgraced by their infidelity, would have any right to develop a definition of the man of honour – it’s like asking a group of criminals to re-write the criminal code (with the anticipation that it would be a better document than the original). However, from the broken rubble of our lives, we developed the following list of characteristics that would represent a Man of Honour:

The qualities of a man of honour are:

· Honesty
· Integrity
· Trustworthiness
· Accountability
· Reliability
· Loyalty
· Courage
· Loving
· Committed
· Friendly
· Humble
· Compassionate
· Empathic
· Sincere
· Role model
· Patient
· A good listener
· Willing
· Transparent
· Victorious
· Enthusiastic
· Understanding
· Dependable
· Hard working
· Genuine
· Resilient
· Consistent
· A leader
· Forgiving
· Generous
· Strong sense of conviction (spiritual, hope, core values)
· Optimistic
· Perseverance
· Unselfish
· Cooperative
· Servant
· Team player
· Looking out for others

On the Saturday, our group hiked through the mountains of Colorado, 9000 feet above sea level with stones in our nap sacks, short of breath and tired. While we did that, we reflected on our lives, the damage that we caused, and tried to find ways to support one another in our journey (both to face the physical demands of the hike, and to help repair the emotional damage that we brought into our lives). Our course leader reminded brought our attention to Victor Frankl. Dr. Frankl was a Psychiatrist who was imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp. All members of his family, including his wife and brother were killed. Dr. Frankl survived and during his ordeal, he developed a philosophy and treatment methods that helped many people. The one point that struck me as most relevant to my situation was the Dr. Frankl stated “One cannot always control the circumstances that lead up to events that happen to them, but one always has control over their response to those circumstances.”.

Out of the rubble of my mistakes, I am actively building a vision of the person that I want to become. I want to be a man of honour. In fact, it’s sometimes a trigger for me that guides my values. It can be as simple as paying for street parking. It’s no longer about a desire to avoid a ticket, paying for a ticket to park on the street becomes a brick in the foundation that I am building to be a man of honour. It guides everything that I do. I sometimes fall short, but I continue to work at it regularly. The second part of that vision involves the words of Victor Frankl – I may not be able to always choose my circumstance, but I can always choose my response to those circumstances.

When I think back to my acts of adultery right now, I am in disbelief about my actions. Regret is an understatement. I have an incredible wife, wonderful children, and an enviable life, how could I have done what I did???? The act destroyed the lives of so many people-it’s truly unbelievable. To truly be a man of honour, I have to take accountability for MY actions. Naturally there were circumstances that were very difficult, but in the end, I chose the wrong actions! Dishonorable actions. Yes there were extreme circumstances, yes I was cornered, and yes I was isolated from anyone who could help me, but my personal recovery, my first step towards a more honourable life requires me to accept accountability for my actions –fully! Why? Am I being too hard on myself? No, because a man of honour must act with honour, dignity, and fortitude. The price for being a man of honour may be a high one, but the price for being a man of dishonour is even greater.

As I move into my mid forty’s I begin to see my mortality on the horizon. I don’t mean to evoke feelings of sadness or pity. In order to live a fulfilling life, one must be aware of their mortality. Recognizing that there is an ultimate finality, one’s actions are guided differently than that of a person who has no appreciation of the short time that we have on this planet. The way we experience the world, the decisions that we make, and the way we spend our days changes when the days become numbered. To that end, I bring the first part of my life to an end – I close that book altogether. It was formative, and I will never forget it, but I feel that it no longer represents the person who I am today. With the many lessons that I have learned, the experiences that I have had, the mistakes that I have made, and the triumphs that I have achieved, I begin to develop a map for the way I intend to live the second part of my life. Most importantly, I intend to live my life with honour.

I am sorry that I hurt your feelings with the blog post that I wrote for you. Perhaps I was too brash, bold, analytical. Too much time spent looking at the situation from above rather than experiencing the importance of the moment from within. I love you deeply and I find it hard to live with myself every day that I think about what I had done to you, to our family, and frankly to this world (albeit, very small part of the world). I am hopeful that by becoming a better man, a better person, a better husband I can make an impact and make it right.

Patching the life-raft


Making the conscious decision to cheat

Making the conscious decision to cheat

 

When you find yourself in the turbulent waters of an affair, and its disclosure, you find you will cling to anything that passes by in the hopes that it will carry you out of the mess.  That was the case for me.  Whether it was a gentle person willing to lend an ear, or a belief I held about WHY he had done what he had done, it didn’t matter.  I needed to cling to it.   In the case of the former, I would find myself almost desperate to talk to someone who understood and anytime someone would give *my* problem any time or attention, I was so grateful.  I never wanted them to stop listening.  I needed to talk, and I needed to be heard.  I think sometimes, I pushed people away who had offered to help, who perhaps just got tired of listening.

The thing most of us betrayed spouses are desperate to know is the WHY of what happened.  Knowing WHY it happened somehow gives us a sense of control that we feel we have lost.  If we know WHY, then we know HOW and we also feel more equipped to put things into place to prevent it from happening again.

When my husband laid out the timeline for me, he tried to help me understand the process.  I struggled with understanding how he could allow his affair to continue, especially after he started feeling guilty and knowing that what he was doing was wrong.  I had somehow convinced myself that he *fell into* the affair, however that may have happened, and that from that moment on, he was struggling to get out, stuck, strategically pinned by her threats and coercions.  I wanted to see my husband as a victim of hers.  It helped to see her as the only perpetrator against my marriage, and him as the victim who got swept away, and into something bad.

I then started to learn about what makes a man (or woman) vulnerable to an affair.  There are so many things.   I found myself looking at a list of real reasons for why he had done what he had done.  Stress at work, increased family stress (new baby), parental obligations and caregiver stress (father was in trouble with the law and as an only child was relied upon intensely to help a man who has never been able to help himself), etc.  Our list was long, when we reviewed how many of the vulnerabilities applied to him/us.   The list, once again, allowed me to see my husband as a victim of his circumstances.  He was, once again, a “nice guy who found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, dragged into a situation unwillingly and then prevented from ending it due to ongoing coercion and threats to his livelihood and our family”.  At times, I felt bad for him, even though I hated what had happened.

Last week, the day before Mother’s Day, my husband wrote me a blog post for this blog.  I have been asking him to do so since May 2012.   I wanted readers to hear his side, his experience, instead of relying on stereotypes and false imaginations.  I hoped that his words would help others understand what happened to their spouses, and would outline the slippery slope that he found himself on, since so many men have the same pattern.   I waited patiently for a year, and then last week he wrote me something, and sent it to me the day before Mother’s Day.  I read it and cried.  I cried not because I was thankful.  I cried not because I was relieved.  I cried because the bubble I had built for myself in trying to get through the day to day of living with an adulterous husband and trying to rebuild my marriage, had popped.

In his first paragraph, he writes:

So when an attractive co-worker propositioned me to consider an extramarital relationship with her, my mind instantly raised every reason to do it.  It had brought to mind every tabloid that I had ever seen or read about infidelity and it’s seemingly benign outcome.  With that “well researched” information in mind, I proceeded to take that first step of my journey.  After all, I worked hard, my wife was busy with the kids, and I owed it to myself to have a change of pace, a treat, a break from my regular hectic, grueling, and stressful life.

My heart sank once again.  An old, familiar feeling.  The pit of ones stomach opening wide and swallowing them whole from the inside out.

His words showed me that he knew it was wrong before he started.  That he had consciously made the decision to engage in an affair, and that he sought out ways to give himself permission.  He thought of all of the times people had “gotten away with it”, or that it “hadn’t caused that big of an issue”, and hoped that would be the case for us.  After all, as he put it, he deserved it, and I was so busy with the kids.  Yes, busy with kids that we had decided to have together, for which I share 80-90% of the parenting responsibility.  I was busy.  I had a 18 month old, a toddler and a young child in my care while I worked full time.  But I guess because I was “so busy”, he felt he deserved what he calls “a treat”.  And here all this time, I have relied on the fact that he was in a fog, and unaware.  Relied on the idea that he was confused, and swayed.  Relied on the idea that he wasn’t in his right mind at the time, and unable to have seen clearly his path.  Reading this made me realize that he saw perfectly clearly his path.  He wanted a treat, a little heaven on the side…and hoped it wouldn’t cost him his marriage.

It made me sick to my stomach.  Happy Mother’s Day to me.

It goes to show, that even after one considers themselves “recovered”, they can still get caught up in old feelings, in sad realities, and be re-triggered.  I am only fresh on this healing path, and only recently consider myself “healed”.  I am sure I will have more of these, and should never have expected that the grey skies were behind me and only clear skies ahead.  I can still be spun backwards at times, and it no longer knocks me over and takes the breath out of me, but it sure does still hurt to hear/see those words, written by my husband to describe his feelings at the time.  Feelings which I guess I had re-written to suit my own abilities to cope with the truth.

I didn’t post the letter.  I simply can’t.  It doesn’t in any way reflect what I had hoped he would write about how he found himself in an affair.  It was analytical, unemotional, and jumps from discussions of meaningless sex as a teenager to the night we put our cat to sleep, neither of which had anything to do with me.  But hey, the letter does end with him saying how incredible I am.  Thanks. I’d kind of have to be in order to have stayed.

The life raft I had used to stay afloat suddenly had a hole and I felt like I was taking on water.  Needless to say, I am once again patching the holes to stay above water.

 

Becoming a man of honor


I know I talk a lot about the seminars led by Anne and Brian Bercht, author of “My husband’s affair became the best thing that ever happened to me”.

Anne Bercht Book on Infidelity

I do so because I believe strongly in what they do, both theoretically, but also practically, as I have participated in two of their weekends, and was asked to coach at upcoming seminars for betrayed wives.  They are the most compassionate couple, who sincerely want you to thrive, and find your way through this horrible experience.

There is a weekend designed exclusively for men, called “Man of Honor”.  This weekend, which takes place in a beautiful outdoor retreat in Colorado, allows men to come together and learn what it takes to be a man of honor, to build character worthy of respect, and to leave a legacy.  It welcomes unfaithful men, as well as men who have been betrayed.  This is the only seminar, other than the healing from affairs weekend for couples, where the betrayed and the unfaithful come together to learn, to share, and to grow.

I am pleased to say that my husband will be attending the upcoming weekend for men on May 3-5th, 2013.  Although he has come so far, and made great strides in repairing what he did through his affair, he still sees value in learning more, protecting more, and growing more.  I respect and admire that about him, and am pleased that he doesn’t ever consider himself “done”.  It is a lifelong growth curve that he feels he will always be on, and this issue and its ramifications will forever be in the wings of his mind, acting as a guiding force as he navigates boundaries with other women, co-workers, and friends.  This experience has shown him that this can happen to ANYONE, and that unless you are taking active steps to prevent an affair, thinking that you are immune is the greatest vulnerability your marriage will ever experience.

For anyone whose husband is struggling with how to support their betrayed spouse, for men who have healed but want to take it to the next level, for betrayed men who want answers to how to heal, and for any man who just wants to be BETTER, this seminar will get you there.  I respect and advocate for their work so much, I wanted to blog about it 🙂

It can be costly to attend these weekends…it’s true.  But, you also need to ask yourself how much it will cost emotionally and financially to lose your marriage?   It’s worth it.  Go.

Some words from my husband about LOVE


The day after I had posted about Valentine’s Day, and how the meaning for me has greatly shifted since his affair, but moreso since my view on relationships has become more….realistic, he sent me these words, and permitted me to post them here.  I thought I would share.

Last night after midnight, as I was leaving the work, tired, wasted, and with aching feet, I received your post about Valentine’s day.  What a painful way to feel – for you and all those partners of betraying spouses!  How sad it makes me feel that I did this to you, and how deflating it is to the spirit of love, on a day hallmarked by society to celebrate love!  It is further deflating that the feeling the betrayed spouse feels is even lower than that experienced by those without a partner to love on Valentine’s day.  That last point wasn’t explicitly stated, but inferred, at least to me, from the post.  And salvation from these feelings comes from gratitude for the small things, a manicure, not getting an STD, or visiting the salon……

On my lonely drive home, ridden with guilt and remorse for destroying your festive feelings of Valentine’s day, I started to ponder love.  Love for a spouse, a child, a parent, a cause, a nation…. Love for another person.  I realized in my thoughts that Love is gigantic!  It encompasses all that we do, all that we feel, all that we are.  It brings us joy, despair, and anger.  Love leads us to celebrate, to mourn, to laugh, and to cry.

Love is powerful!  It lifts us up when we are down, it fills our hearts when there is emptiness, and carries us when we have nothing left to give.  It drives us to win wars, perform superhuman acts, or reach farther than we ever thought that we could.  Love inspires us to create, build, and to strive.  Love unites us, divides us, and conquers us.

Love is simple.  It doesn’t require a contract, a building, or a permit.  It can be experienced by anyone,  animals, children, and friends.  It can happen anywhere, through any medium, and without special planning.

Love is deep!  No wonder love is symbolized by the heart.  It’s at the core of one’s soul.  It resides in the deepest and most sensitive part of one’s body.

So how does all this impact the couples who have lived through infidelity?  Those who were hurt by a spouse that strayed, became involved with another, and betrayed.  How can one celebrate their love of that person?

In our relationship, where I was the betraying spouse, it was my love for my wife that led me to spend day after day trying to win back her heart.  It was my love for her that led me to overcome my shame and announce my biggest mistake to strangers so that she could receive their support, even if it was at my expense.  It was my love for my wife that gave me hope during my darkest hours that maybe she will forgive me.  It was my love for my children, my wife, and my family that kept me from killing myself when I felt there was no reason for living.

In committing infidelity, our vows were broken and cannot be repaired, but the strength of our love transcended those vows.  Our love was the cement that held us together during the roughest challenge in our lives, and when all else failed, conversations, counselors, books, and friends, our love was there for us guiding a path for us to follow through this hurricane that we endured.

I never understood Valentine’s day the way that I understand it now, because I never experienced love the way that I experience it now.  I believe that Love is deserving of more than a single day.  Without feeling love I would not be here today.  I would not have had the fortitude to survive the ordeal that I survived, and I would not have had the perseverance stay on this course.  It was by far the most difficult experience of my life.

Now that I am through most of the storm of infidelity that I brought into our lives,  I am grateful for the existence of Valentine’s day.  It is a day that is devoted to thinking about Love, which is at the core of everything that we do.  I am grateful that it exists, because I have come to understand the meaning of love a little bit better than I did in the past.  I have come to appreciate the clichés about love:

  •  Love conquers all
  • All we need is love
  • At least we have our love
  • Without love there is nothing
  • ETC….

Those clichés have a new and deeper meaning to me.

I love you very much!  Sometimes I feel anger, and sometimes you do too.   That’s okay, because if there was no love, there would be nothing to get angry about.  Our love has moved mountains as it guided us through this most difficult time in our marriage.  I feel that should be celebrated.  So I got you a gift for valentine’s day.  If you don’t want to open it, and you don’t want to celebrate this day – I’ll understand.  I can take it back.  I don’t want to impose my beliefs upon you.  Every day that we experience love is a reminder of the power of love.

So I take this moment to wish you happy love day, happy every day!

Husband

Dealbreakers


When something traumatic happens to us, our world shatters.  What we knew before is now changed, and we question what we ever saw as “truth”.  Many of us struggle with the idea of what we could have possibly “done” to have “deserved” what happened to us.  The simple truth is that none of us brought upon ourselves the circumstances that led to our suffering, and we aren’t karmic collateral damage.  We are victims of the unfortunate and stupid, careless and hurtful actions of someone who vowed to protect us.

Today, while at the support group that I lead for betrayed spouses, we talked about our respective “deal-breakers”.  Each of us took our turn sharing what, for us, would be the ultimate deal breaker in our recovery.  For some, it was that their wayward spouse seek and attend therapy.  For others, it was that the wayward spouse grant the hurting spouse the opportunity to seek and receive support from others outside of the marriage.  For me, it was an interesting question to ponder, as I don’t think I ever had one dealbreaker.  For me, having the affair was supposed to be the dealbreaker.  I was “supposed” to walk away from my marriage, kick my husband out on his ass, and get on with my life.  Wasn’t that, after all, how I said it would be when he and I would talk about infidelity?  Isn’t that what I had vowed I would do?  Why then, did I not do it?  What was my dealbreaker???

In the wake of my husband’s affair, the deal breaker became whether he was going to support me or not.  Would he blame me?  Dealbreaker.  Would he find ways that I led him to, and threw him into an affair through my actions, our marriage, or my lack of je-ne-sais-quoi?  Dealbreaker.  Would he refuse to listen to me when I cried, or deny me the compassionate ear, the receptive shoulder?  Dealbreaker.  Would he tell me that I raise the affair too often?  Fail to look inside himself at what he was lacking and how his own issues led him down that path?  Restrict me from seeking support, prevent me from telling those I needed to, deny me the right to be angry, pick on him when I needed to, or just cry spontaneously in every-day moments becoming embarrassed by my reaction?  All dealbreakers.   I came to realize, as I drove home from the support group, that I have no ONE dealbreaker.  They were ALL dealbreakers.  For me, the dealbreaker was in preventing me the opportunity to be a victim, and to play that out in whatever way I needed to at the time.  I needed my husband to give me complete permission to say, do, seek anything that I needed at any time in the name of supporting me as a victim of his crime (an affair is not a mistake, after all, it is a CRIME against the marriage – thank you Anne Bercht).  If my husband had not allowed me to complete immerse myself in whatever I needed at whatever time, in order to allow me to wallow in my victim role, it would have been a dealbreaker for me.   I needed to be a victim, and I needed  him to honour that need, and to allow me to play that role.  It played out differently from day to day, but I needed it, and he gave me that.

The truth is, my husband completely owned what he did, and never made an issue of me seeking what I needed.  The only “restriction” he ever placed on me was the decision to talk together about who I was going to tell, and to be mutually comfortable with the idea of doing so.  I came to realize that by announcing my husband’s infidelity to anyone who would listen, I was bringing embarrassment to him, and I needed to be careful of who I told.  I had told a few friends, but I haven’t told all of my friends.  There are some couples that we hang out with who have no idea, and would likely be shocked.  I didn’t want to cause my husband pain and suffering, and so I chose to respect his privacy, and we would decide together who “needed to know”.  His parents don’t know.  Our neighbours don’t know.  Many of his colleagues who are close friends don’t know. The good news is that I no longer NEED to tell them, the way I once thought I did.  I don’t need the support anymore.  I do feel, sometimes as though I am living an unauthentic relationship with them, with them not knowing this significant story in our lives, but there are many things we don’t know about one another’s pasts, and we can still be friends.  Maybe some day we will feel the need to tell them, and we will decide that together.

Going forward in my healing, I had to make the choice to continue wallowing in my victim role, feeling sad, helpless, pathetic, sorrowful and pitied, or whether I wanted to stand up, shake off the past, and learn from it with my eyes on the future.  Was I going to be defined by this?  Would this become the headline of my life?  I didn’t want this to be the most defining thing that had ever happened to me.  I didn’t want it to be the most significant (albeit in a bad way) thing that had ever crossed my path.  I wanted to be a victor in my life, not a victim.  I have influence over how my life will turn out, and although I can’t, and could not at the time, control my husband’s behaviour and choices, I do control mine.  I chose to be a victor in my life, and to no longer be defined by this horrible trauma that had been dumped in my lap.

Screen Shot 2013-01-05 at 5.24.05 PM

 

Was does being a victor look like?  Well, for some of us, it will mean having the courage to leave a spouse who isn’t supportive, and who isn’t remorseful, and who refuses to face his actions.  It will mean harnessing the courage to be on our own for the first time in a long time.  It will mean standing up and starting over. For others, it will mean facing the task of rebuilding our marriage, despite the obstacles that lie ahead, living with the constant reminder in your face, and choosing to fight for something we feel has value left.  For all of us, regardless of whether we keep our marriage or let it go, it will mean finding a new “us”.  Many of us get so caught up in who we are as a spouse, that we forget who we were as a person before we became a couple.  It will mean having two feet solidly on ground, and no longer being lulled into the false sense of security that comes with the belief that “this will never happen to me”.  We now know that that is a lie, and it does not serve us.  Perhaps being a victor is choosing to live our lives to the best we can, with or without the one we married, in the hopes of finding true happiness within ourselves, through activities we enjoy, friendships we cherish, and new skills we want to learn.  Perhaps being a victor just means standing up, after being kicked down by this trauma, or waking up every morning with a willingness to give this day our best shot.  Sometimes we will win at the day, and other days we won’t, but we will have tried.  Maybe that is being a victor.

And so the question:  What is YOUR dealbreaker?

Affair proofing your marriage: Reinforcing the marital fortress


It sounds like “too little, too late” to say how to affair proof your marriage. After all, if you are reading this blog, and are interested in infidelity issues, chances are that it is because you have already suffered it. No one reads about, learns about, or cares much about the issues of infidelity until it smacks them in the face. Then, you start reading about all the things you COULD have, and SHOULD have done to affair proof your marriage. Annoying isn’t it? Why don’t marriages come with a manual? Is this what those “marriage preparation” courses teach young couples before marriage? Somehow, I don’t think so, but it would be nice.

OK, so many of us can’t affair proof our marriage in retrospect and alter time to put us back where we were, so that we could use those lessons to prevent our spouse’s affair, but we can put those lessons into place as we go forward. There will ALWAYS be vulnerabilities that make us more prone to an affair in our marriage, and there will always be opportunities that present themselves to us.  As I have mentioned before, an affair happens when the two collide – when vulnerability meets opportunity.  So how does one affair proof a marriage?

Step 1: Identify and be aware of your personal vulnerabilities and those of your spouse.  Know the things that make you vulnerable.  If you aren’t sure what makes you vulnerable to an affair, check out some of the items I’d posted in an earlier post that I linked to in the hyperlink in the paragraph above this one.  New job? Death of a parent? Recent move? Body image?  Raised in a family/culture where infidelity happened?, Work closely with members of opposite sex?, Travel for work?, etc.  These are just a small sampling of the things to consider.  Talk with your spouse about how many vulnerabilities you have, and be open about them.  Keep a tally on how many you have from a list you compile together, and check them over monthly to keep tabs on how you are doing.  Try to reduce the vulnerabilities where you can.

Step 2:  Work to reduce the vulnerabilities in your life that make you prone.

You might be asking, “OK so how do I reduce my vulnerabilities if they are out of my control, or past issues I can no longer correct for?”.  Good point.  You can’t change the fact that you were raised by a parent who was a serial adulterer.  My husband was too.  You can’t change the fact that you are changing jobs and experiencing stress.  You can, however, be AWARE that this change in your life presents a vulnerability that you need to be mindful of.  If you travel for work, perhaps try and cut down on the amount you travel, or arrange to bring your family/spouse when you can.  If you can’t do that, arrange date-calls while you are away to check in with one another.  If you work closely with members of the opposite sex, and frequently need to have lunch meetings with members of the opposite sex, arrange to someone of your gender also present, when possible.  If you can’t, perhaps arrange to lunch somewhere very public, not conducive to chit-chat, once the work has been completed.  The more you can reduce the vulnerablities and be AWARE that they are there, the better you will fare.

The biggest vulnerability of all?

THE BELIEF THAT YOU ARE NEVER GOING TO FALL INTO AN AFFAIR AND THAT YOUR MARRIAGE IS IMMUNE/SAFE FROM INFIDELITY

If you believe the above statement to be true, then you will not have your guard up appropriately, and be constantly patrolling for holes in your marital defence wall.  Now, you might say, “I don’t want to live my days worrying about safeguarding something that I know is strong.  It’s too much work, and focuses my thoughts on something negative that hasn’t even happened.  I’d rather use my energies for things that ARE happening, instead of constantly worrying about something that won’t”.  True….but false.  You know the saying “Marriage is work?”  This is what they meant.  It is a constant evaluation and reevaluation of where you stand together. It is the awareness that as your lives together move and sway, that you sway with them together.  It isn’t blind faith and hope that things will turn out, or that you feel you know yourself and your spouse well enough that you can guarantee an affair won’t happen.  Trust me, this was OUR biggest vulnerability, and we made the mistake of thinking that this was a strength.  It wasn’t.  Falsely believing ourselves immune, we didn’t look at or focus on things to reinforce our marital wall, and as it crumbled, we weren’t even aware, because instead of doing a 360 degree check, we chose only to look out the rosy side of the fortress we were trying to protect.

Step 3: Reassess regularly where you both score on your vulnerability list.  When you find that one of you has increased vulnerabilities, talk about ways to reduce them together.  Add in extra support for one another when one is going through a change of job, a change of life, a loss. Remember to always show care and compassion for your spouse when they are in a dark place, and remind them that you are on their team.  Work together always.

Step 4: Be the reflection your spouse needs

Over the years, and the many many many conversations I’ve had about infidelity, listening to the countless tales of others who have walked this path, I’ve noticed a trend.  Those who have fallen into affairs, did so unexpectedly, and in most cases, did so when someone of the opposite sex provided for them adoration, admiration, compliments, positive reassurance or confidence-boosting commentary.   When you take the time to ask people what pre-dated the affair starting, they will usually tell you that it was something about the way the other person made them FEEL about themselves.  Pumped up, and admired for their unique talents and gifts, someone noticed…someone took the time to let them know that they noticed…someone took the time to tell them it was a wonderful quality…someone else made them feel GOOD.  Brian Bercht of Passionate Life Seminars, said it best when he said “Men have an ego miles and miles wide…and a quarter of an inch thick”.  It needs to be reinforced for both genders.  At the end of the day, we want to know that we are admired by our spouse, that we have qualities that still light them up.  Be the source of light and positive reflectivity your spouse is looking for, and they won’t need to find it elsewhere.

I think it goes without saying, and I don’t need to add a step that you should take time to be with your spouse, and have quality time.  That is assumed, and doesn’t, in my opinion, require its own step. It’s not a step, it’s a given. 🙂

If you think that the desire to not want to cause pain and suffering to a spouse is enough of a deterrent to prevent an affair, you are wrong.  When in the affair, the cheating spouse isn’t even thinking of you, nor the consequences, and if we compare it to other situations, we see that self-fulfilling situations will trump one’s desire to not want to inflict suffering on others.  Teenagers, aware of the risks of STD’s and pregnancy will STILL engage in the behaviour of unprotected sex because:

1.  It feels good to them in the moment

2. They are thinking of the hear and now and not of the future

3. They believe it will never happen to them.

In my next post, I would like to tackle the thought: “How could my spouse do this to me knowing how much it would hurt me”, and “How can s/he claim s/he still loved me despite the affair”.

%d bloggers like this: