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A long overdue update


Yesterday I posted a new bog entry, and it was my first in a long time.  For a while, I was writing weekly.  Some weeks, I was writing daily.  Because writing is a great outlet for me, the degree to which I wrote was a clear indication of how much I was actively ‘processing’.

In the wake of the affair discovery, I was consumed with thoughts, fears, worries, self-deprecating beliefs, and struggling to make sense of my new reality.   In the coming months, as I found greater healing, I was able to turn the blog from a place of pain to a place of encouragement and hope for betrayed spouses.   While the comments section of any given post will often find its share of negative comments from OW’s or supporters of OW’s, the feedback has always been generally positive, so I continue to want to post, both to help others through, but also to keep an ongoing diary for myself.  I am also aware that some day, my children are going to be aware of what happened, and may view the contents of this blog.  I am also aware that as a means to understand affairs that produce OC’s (Other Chlidren), that the OW’s daughter may stumble upon this blog (and won’t she get an eyeful of much of the details of her mother’s behavior that has been creatively edited from the story she will have been told about her father,  and the woman who is responsible for depriving her of a father – me.

I haven’t had any cause to update the blog in a while because things have become strangely quiet.   It has been months since we’ve hurt anything major from the OW.  By months, I may very well mean a year or more.  The fact that I don’t actually remember, and can’t accurately tell you when the last time was I consider a credit to how healed I am.  I don’t feel I need to keep copious notes of her troublesome behavior, and I no longer ruminate on her actions to the point where I simply don’t remember.   It’s nice to not remember.  Not remembering, however, doesn’t mean that I forget.  I am reminded constantly of the infidelity of my husband.  It is just a new reality for me that I am now used to.   It has woven itself into the fabric of my life, but I can honestly say that it no longer causes me pain.

For those reading this, whether a new reader or someone who has read the story cover to cover so far, knowing that I am healed and still reminded of the affair may seem disheartening.  If you are in the active chaos of discovery, or in the midst of the pain and sadness, the hurt, the grief or the hopelessness, this comment likely doesn’t bring feelings of hope.  It is unrealistic to think that you will ever be in a time where you just don’t remember or when you aren’t reminded.  The key in the healing, however, is that the reminders and the sudden back-to-conscious-awareness of your spouse’s infidelity don’t need to continue to cause the same hurt and suffering, the same put in your stomach, the same paralysis that they do now.

So how am I reminded still?

As part of my healing, I attended several workshops hosted by my friends Anne and Brian Bercht.   Our friendship grew slowly out of a place of reliance on them to heal me and navigate the journey with me to a place where I am now actively involved on their coaching team, and as a leader for a local support group for betrayed spouses.  Each time I fly across the country to attend a weekend “Take Your Life Back” seminar. I read the stories submitted by the women who are attending (we coaches like to acquaint ourselves with everyone’s story before the weekend starts), and I am given a view back into the place of pain from which they are coming.  I hear the despair in their words, I read the rocky self-esteem, the self-blame, the desperate desire to want a magic bullet, and the desire to know whether they should stay or go.   Each month at our monthly support group meetings in my city, I discuss infidelity, I listen to the stories of the men and women who attend, and I search for encouraging words to help them navigate the journey that I know so well.  As a Pinterest pinner, I have an entire pin board related to inspirational quotes that deal with pain, betrayal and loss.  Each time a new one pops up, I add it to the collection, and am reminded of the club to which I now and forever belong.

But, simply because I am reminded doesn’t mean that I am sad.  It doesn’t mean that I actively hurt.  It just means that I honor the memories of where we have been, and can speak of those events now without the pain attached to them.   It is wonderfully freeing.

This past month, as the ladies who just attended the Phoenix “Take Your Life Back” weekend have been processing their grief and adding their experiences on our private chat room, I’ve come to see how different each person’s journey is, and how individual.  Not everyone experiences hysterical bonding the way I did.   It makes me wonder why some do, and some don’t.   Some people, upon hearing the news of the affair, immediately position themselves for divorce, and the thought of reconciliation doesn’t cross their minds.  For others, their first thought is how to fight for the marriage and get past the pain.  Same crisis, different approaches.  Some people get the truth given to them, others have to find it.  Some have all of the details given when asked, others have to wait for the trickle-truth which is traumatic over and over again each time new details are revealed.  We all have such different journeys, but they all carry the same burden – it hurts like hell…until it no longer does.

None of that to say that I don’t wish it had turned out differently.  I wish my husband hadn’t made the choices he made.  I wish he had found a more constructive outlet for dealing with the pressures he was under, and for filling the void that came as a result of multiple vulnerabilities.

What I wouldn’t change, however, is what I have learned about myself, my husband, and marriage in general.  I just wish I had the ability to receive the gains without the pains.

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Where there’s a will, there’s a way


It seems infidelity is everywhere you look, when you are willing to look for it.  I will admit, I was much happier in my blissful place of ignorace….or was I?  Some days I think I was, but I think I know better.  I much prefer being enlightened by the knowledge of tragedy than to be in the dark and clueless.

I was clueless for a long time about affairs.  I knew they happened, but they were rare, and they happened to other people.   Now, it seems, I know as many people who have been unfaithful as those who haven’t. And, since most don’t talk about it, I am sure there are many, who I think haven’t, who HAVE or who ARE engaging in extramarital relationships.  My father was one of them.  My father in law was one of them.  My husband.  My husband’s best friend.  My husband’s work colleague.  It’s everywhere. and it is disgusting.

What’s worse than the natural tendency nowadays to throw away our marriages, and the vows we committed to, is the fact that society seems to make it so easy to cheat.  There are agencies designed specifically to arrange hookups between married individuals (Ashley Madison, for example).   There are television shows that glorify the existence of mistresses and their conquests (Mistresses), songs that talk about competing for another woman’s partner (Girlfriend, by Avril Lavigne, You make me wanna, by Usher,  I like it, by Enrique Iglesias (video).   There are countless others, and I’ve blogged about them previously.

Throw into the mix, now, apps that allow you to hide secret images on your phone, a hidden black book, etc. all disguised as the calculator that comes standard on the iPhone.   So now, if you have any reasons to be suspicious that something is going on,  and you happen to check your partner’s phone, you may wish to look for apps that look like this:

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 10.13.19 AM

On the outside at quick glance, these look like your standard calculator, but clicking on them reveals things underneath that open an entire secret stash of goodies you were never meant to see.

How do you know if it’s the real thing?  Try deleting the app.  Hold it down and if that little white jiggling x appears, you’ve found gold.   iPhone doesn’t allow the standard apps that come with the phone to be deleted; things like stocks, ibooks, calendar, calculator, etc).  If it doesn’t jiggle, and can’t be deleted, it’s the real thing.

Here are some to look at:

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/fake-calculator-secret-photo/id693143389?mt=8

http://techpp.com/2012/06/05/apps-to-lock-and-hide-files-on-iphone-selection-of-5/

http://appshopper.com/utilities/secret-calculator

Don’t want to rely on the OW or the OM to get rid of the evidence, or worried that they may one day tell your spouse?   Get rid of the evidence:  http://www.tigertext.com/features/

These apps won’t always be disguised as a calculator.  They can also be disguised as a Stocks app.

Technology makes life easier in so many ways, and is our friend in so many ways.  It is also our foe and contributes to tremendous damage, when we let it.

Now, some may slam me for even pointing these out, suggesting that by posting them, I’ve given some reader the tools to commit infidelity, and by posting these, I’ve somehow contributed to their actions.  To that I say “where there is a will, there is a way”, and if they are looking online for ways to cheat and hide their tracks, this blog has far fewer resources than a simple google search for “apps for infidelity” bring up.  If anyone is looking to cheat badly enough, they will come to those resources all on their own.   I post this to help share the knowledge of whats out there, for those who blindly trust, or for those who suspect something is amiss, but have no proof.

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!

Jumping on the betrayed-wife-bashing bandwagon


I get it…when people are from different sides of an argument, it is hard to see and accept the other side’s views.  With infidelity, like any other highly emotional and charged topic, it becomes even harder.  I struggled a great deal and did a lot of work in order to be able to see and understand my husband’s affair through the eyes of his mistress.   And, although I have made the efforts to see her point of view and appreciate her struggles in the outcome of disclosure, I still nonetheless see her as a crazy, mentally-ill individual who isn’t deserving of any of my pity or time.  Seeing the other side doesn’t mean joining the other side, and abandoning your views.  It is simply about OPENING YOUR MIND TO THE POSSIBILITY THAT ANOTHER SIDE EXISTS.

As a betrayed wife I can completely understand the anger that a betrayed wife feels in the wake of an affair discovery.  I can understand the trash-talking that happens when you find out that another woman slept with your husband, was impregnated by your husband, kissed your husband, gave free blowjobs to your husband, stroked your husbands ego and all other parts that needed stroking, flirted with your husband, made plans with your husband, etc.  While this trash-talking can get a little intense and sometimes over the top, what I don’t understand is the trash-talking that comes from the other side.   Now this blog’s readership is comprised mainly of betrayed spouses who go online looking for someone who can relate. But, there are also readers who have themselves been mistresses and who un-apologetically admit to seeking out and taking pleasure in coaxing a man into the bedroom and out of a marriage.  They have their own forums, and their own blogs like this one where they ask for and receive support for the pain they go through when an affair is revealed (especially if the husband returns to the wife, leaving her and all the promises he made behind).  I get it, there are many people hurt in an affair, but that is for another post, so I digress…

Where was I?  Oh right…I understand the trash talk from betrayed wives to mistresses, after all, they engaged willingly with a man they knew were married (and for sake of argument I am not referring to those who perhaps had no idea the man they were sleeping with was married with kids, a dog and a picket fence).  What I don’t understand is the trash talk that comes in the other direction; the mistresses who trash on the wives, and blame us for their situation.  The mistresses, upset at how things didn’t go according to “plan” and then hate us for fighting for our marriage and our family.   That makes no sense to me, and yet sites abound with women who were the “OW” in a relationship and who lash out at the wife, putting her down, telling her she wasn’t enough to keep her man, capitalizing on her low self-esteem in the aftermath of the affair and taking the cheap shots when she is down.  Who does that?  Better yet, who does that when the situation was started by them, and they are the ones in the wrong?  It’s like cutting someone off in traffic and then flipping THEM the bird…

A further "Fuck you" to the betrayed wife

A further “Fuck you” to the betrayed wife

 

While “most” mistresses expect married women to become angered when the affair is discovered, strangely they don’t allow us this reaction when it does happen. It’s like we are expected to just shutup and take it.  And, when we call other women out on their behavior, we are called “bitches” and “overly emotional” and “hysterical” (the ow in my husband’s affair called me this many a time) and “overreactive”.  The irony is that if the tables were turned, they would behave in EXACTLY the same way.  But, in order to understand and appreciate that, these women would have to put themselves in our shoes, something that exhibits EMPATHY, and is something that I feel many of these women lack, which is exactly why they participate in these things in the first place.

Last night, while perusing my CNN app on my phone before bed, I came upon an article by Peggy Drexler, writing an opinion piece about Arianna’s blog “She’s a homewrecker”, where betrayed wives post lurid details and sometimes call out and name the women who were involved in affairs with their husbands.  This journalist essentially called this retaliation “bullying”, and claimed that women tearing down other women is horrid when the husbands are getting off scot-free.  I’m sorry?  My husband got off scot-free?  I don’t think so.

To say that this journalist doesn’t get it is an understatement.  Where on “She’s a homewrecker” does it say that betrayed wives have absolved their husband’s of their responsibility for the affair and opted to place sole blame on the mistress?  It doesn’t, yet this is what the author has implied.  Funny, because she says “it takes two”, so if she follows her own argument, she sees fault lying on both sides, but yet fails to see that betrayed wives, while choosing to out the mistress in public, is likely lashing out at her husband as well.  The difference is that the husbands return home, while the mistresses run deep into the woods, back into obscurity, pointing fingers at the wife, returning to the rocks from under whence they came.

Once an affair is disclosed, the mistresses scurry like rats abandoning a sinking ship.    Husbands come home to face the music.  Mistresses escape down a fire escape.  How are betrayed wives to express their anger and disappointment when one of the parties recedes into the darkness?  Yes it takes two, but the husband’s payback is something most don’t see, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen.  Wives out their husbands, embarrass them, pay them back for the shame and hurt in many ways.  The difference here is that they have ACCESS.  With mistresses, many betrayed wives don’t even get a name, let alone an address, workplace or cell number.

Peggy write:

Although sleeping with a married man is of questionable morality — and that’s, of course, assuming the woman is even aware the man’s attached — the job of staying faithful belongs to the man who took the vow. And yet on “She’s a Homewrecker,” the men get off largely scot-free.

OMG if I have to hear this argument again, I will spit.  The vow argument?   Yes, he took the vow, but when a woman knowingly sleeps with a man she knows is married, why is she off the hook?  Why is Drexler so keen on letting her be?   Has she herself been the OW in an affair.  One must wonder.   So the breaking of the marital vow falls on the husband, yes, but marriages are contractual agreements, if you will, between a man and a woman.  In business, when a third party violates or interferes with an existing contract, they are said to be committing Tortious Interference.   Tortious interference, also known as intentional interference with contractual relations, in the common law of torts, occurs when a person intentionally damages the plaintiff‘s contractual or other business relationships.  An example of tortious interference  is when “false claims and accusations are made against a business or an individual’s reputation in order to…[break a contract].  Funny, I seem to remember stories of the OW telling my husband how much I must not love him because I don’t dote on him like she would.  I also recall her mentioning, after having stalked me at my car, mentioning how pathetic women are who have my hair style and drive the kind of car that I do.  She found any angle to put me down in his eyes, trying to compete with me by trashing me to him.  Based on the example above, if this were a business, she would be guilty of tortious interference.

So why is it that business contracts are better protected against trolls than marriages are, when they are the foundation of our family lives?

Drexler also writes:

Despite this, the “homewrecker” still must pay, and does, in the form of having her name, details of her life and no fewer than six photos of herself splashed all over the site.

This is payback?  Really?  It doesn’t come close, in my opinion.  OK, so her name and reputation are compromised.  So are mine.  But is her family compromised?  Is her deepest and most intimate relationship violated?  Are the lives of her most vulnerable and cherished family members (paralleled with the children of a marriage) destroyed?  Are her foundations of trust shattered?   No.  I would EASILY take the shame of having someone post about me than what I’ve been through.  Seems like a cake-walk Peggy, and to compare the two is ridiculous.  It is the LEAST of what they deserve.   And don’t say that the husbands get off scot-free because, my dear, they don’t.  My husband has paid dearly, both emotionally at almost losing his family, financially at being sued on false charges for the purposes of extorting money and the child support he is willingly paying.   On the other hand, the OW has been successful in coaxing my husband into bed,  getting pregnant on purpose, and choosing to have the baby she wouldn’t otherwise have had, and having that child MORE THAN COMPLETELY PAID FOR.  She doesn’t pay for A SINGLE THING RELATED TO THAT CHILD because her child support check is enormous.  Sounds like she is basking in it…no?  I haven’t posted to “She’s a homewrecker” but I don’t admonish those who have.  In some cases, with mistresses running for the hills and leaving the husbands to absorb the damage, they leave the betrayed wives no other choice because they simply don’t take the honorable route: apologize, express remorse and beg for forgiveness for the damages you have caused to an innocent party.  It’s what we teach our children in grade school.   I guess these women missed that class.

I will be penning a response to Ms. Drexler on this article.  I hope you will too.

 

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?

 

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.

Burden of Responsibility: Is a mother to blame for her son’s infidelity?


I received an email from a reader of the blog today.  She is devastated because she just learned that her son has been unfaithful in his relationship, and she feels that she has failed as a mother.  As a betrayed spouse, she had a horrible experience, and wanted only the best for her children.  She shared the infidelity openly with them, in the hopes that they would see the pain their father had caused, and know the impact and devastation that an affair can bring.

She emailed me today to ask if I thought that she was a failure as a mother as a result of her son having strayed.

I picked up the email as I was stepping into the car to pick up my children from school, so I didn’t have the chance to send a detailed reply.  Since I was going to reply further, and since I know she reads the blog, I thought that others could also benefit from the post, and also chime in with their thoughts and support for her.

In my opinion, she is no more responsible for her son’s adulterous ways than she was for the affairs her husband had.  These are grown men, with free will, who should know better, and who chose to commit infidelity in their relationships…JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER MAN/WOMAN WHO DOES IT.  I told her in my reply that she is not responsible, and then I wanted to go into more detail and couldn’t.  What I would have added was:

My Mother in Law (MIL) was repeatedly cheated on by my FIL.  He took several mistresses, including my son’s nanny, and my MIL’s best friend.  Repeated infidelity over a long period of time, and infidelity that she came to know about.  Surely, she sought no help, and received no support.  I know this not only because this wouldn’t have been as commonplace (the support, not affairs), but also because she is not one who would know how to solve the issue, how to communicate effectively around it, how to seek support, and  is someone who would instead internalize it, thinking herself the cause, shifting the blame onto herself.  After many years, and a divorce, he abandoned her when she started to show signs of mental illness.  She was increasingly afraid to go out on her own, paranoid from time to time, and just not her old self.  She was damaged, and he moved on…married the best friend that he had once cheated with (needless to say that relationship didn’t last either).   She was, and still is, a broken woman.  She lives with her elderly mother, a woman who puts her down, makes her feel incapable and has essentially infantalized her into being completely dependent on her.

My husband had an affair knowing FULL WELL what the consequences of affairs can be.   He watched his mother disintegrate into a shell of a woman.  Is his mother to blame for not having “raised him right?”.  Absolutely not.  Should I blame her for not being proactive enough and educating him on how to prevent an affair?  No.  I can’t blame her anymore than I can blame myself for his affair.

So, dear reader, unless your son consulted with you, and asked you whether he should seek an affair and you helped him to have one, you have no responsibility for his actions.

Last night on the news, I sat transfixed on the story of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, who were kidnapped and help captive for ten years, repeatedly raped and beaten by Ariel Castro.  I watched as they interviewed his mother, sitting in the front seat of her car, overwhelmed with grief and shame for her son’s actions.  She wept, speaking in Spanish, telling the news crew how she is so sorry for what he has done, and how she feels so badly for those girls.

I think we would all agree that this mother can’t be blamed for her son’s wicked actions, and we can all be fairly assured that she did her best in raising him, and cannot be held responsible for his decisions, many years after she has completed “raising him”.

Ted Bundy’s mother, Paul Bernardo’s mother…pick any sociopathic individual who has commited the most heinous of crimes, and we can still say with certainty that their mothers didn’t influence their actions, or play a role.

Dear reader, I know it is hard to learn that someone you love has been so hurtful to someone else, especially when you feel he should have known better, seeing what you had gone through.  It is hard to look at him, and not be triggered once more, feeling like the devil is too close.  It is hard to see him as your son, and not as a man who is capable of such deceit and causing such anguish.  Remember, that if he is remorseful, and truly wants to learn from this and grow, that he will need your support.  You are in a great position to be a support to his partner, and to help her through this.  You will help bridge the gap between them, and offer them hope and solutions.  You are, however, in no way responsible for what he has chosen to do, any more than you would be responsible if he woke up tomorrow and robbed a bank.

Stay strong.

 

Sermons from Facebook


This came across my Facebook feed today.

I sometimes get flack on this blog for not being supportive of my husbands OC, as if I have responsibility for her, and how she came into this world.

Now, I know better than to believe anything these commenters say, because I know that I had nothing to do with her creation, or her existence. I didn’t suggest to my husband that he take a mistress and have meaningless, unprotected sex with her. I didn’t force her to consider abortion and I knew that the decision about whether this child would be born would entirely rest on her shoulders while she held its life in the balance, depending on whether my husband and I stayed together, and how well we played her game.

So today this came through my feed and it resonated. I’ve never blamed the child. We feel deep sadness for the life her mother has brought her into, but just like the decision whether or not she would be born, we also don’t have any decisions there either. The best my husband can do, given the mental fragility of this woman, is to ensure the child is taken care of, and he does that through lawfully paid child support payments that are far in excess of what it costs to raise her.

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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.

Getting through Valentine’s day


Remember that Valentines day when you were the only one without a girlfriend/boyfriend, and it seemed everyone else was happy in a relationship? Yeah…this feels worse doesn’t it? Trying to get through a holiday hell bent on celebrating the saccharin syrupy sweetness of love, when you’ve just been stabbed in the heart. It hardly seems fair. It isn’t.

For many people who have experienced the pain of infidelity, Valentine’s Day represents a significant trigger. For some, even, it represents a major setback, causing them to lose ground on what they felt was a forward momentum in their healing journey. Hallmark cards lining the aisles, beckoning you to read stories of love, compassion, and caring, all the while knowing that the person to purported to love you decided to break your heart instead of buying you a chocolate one.

I’ve grown to dislike valentines day. I used to like it. That was also when I was naive and thought that my wedding vows meant something and that my husband was committed to me. For me, I am not sad because of what i went through. I am sad thinking of all the people who experience love shallowly, albeit blissfully unaware. Now, I watch as naive couples get wooed into the magical and love struck world of valentines day, as men rush out to buy roses, as couples scurry off to their dinner date…and I wonder if they are aware of the dangers that lurk. Gosh, they look so happy…I wouldn’t want to burst their bubble, but c’mon people…get a grip on reality. Love isn’t about one day of showing someone you care. It’s an ongoing commitment to doing the right thing. It can’t be encapsulated in one day, and a box of chocolates won’t right the wrong.

Instead of allowing Valentine’s Day to bring you down in the dumps, and giving you permission to dwell on how horrible your situation is, perhaps take this time to be your own Valentine, to show yourself some self-care. Treat yourself to something luxurious tomorrow, whether it’s a manicure, a massage, a walk in the woods, a coffee with a friend…a trip to the bookstore. Whatever your guilty pleasure is, gift it to yourself.

Then, as much as I hate to compare stories of infidelity and to consider any one person’s situation as more “traumatic” than another’s, I think there a value in adding perspective. There is always a way that your situation could have been worse. There is always one part of your story where you can say: “well at least ___________ didn’t happen. For me, that something is an STD or the my husband didn’t leave me to be with his affair partner. If he had, my story would feel so much worse, at least I think it would. Valentine’s day is approximately the day my husband would have found out that the OW was pregnant. He screwed her on her birthday, Feb 1, and ta-da she would have tested and found out….about now.

For some, you might read my story and say “oh my goodness, at least my husband didn’t father a child”, or if a man, “at least my wife didn’t get pregnant”. For some, my story is their ultimate blow. For others, their story went far beyond.

There is always one step beyond how bad your situation is to a place that you would have felt worse. Perhaps taking some time to be thankful that it wasn’t as bad as ____________ can be your gift to yourself.

These sappy romantic holidays make me feel sad now. Not for me, but for all of these love struck girls who are tickled to have a date this valentines day, who just don’t know the signs. She doesn’t know what to look for. She doesn’t know how to affair proof her relationship. The problem is, she doesn’t yet know that she has to. Therein lies the irony….no one ever takes the time to do this work, until it has happened to them.

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