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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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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!

Using grief for good


Have you heard the concept that the act of smiling releases “happy hormones” that can actually alter the way someone feels? Researchers suggest that when feeling down, that one force oneself to smile because the act of smiling has been proven to improve mood. Interesting.

Along a similar vein, I’ve also heard that the best path to happiness is to feel gratitude. To be honestly and completely thankful and grateful for those things that one has. Now, admittedly that can be hard to do in the face of a trauma like the discovery of a spouse’s unfaithfulness. It’s easy for ones self-talk to focus entirely on the unfairness, the horror, the utter victimization. After all, how can you NOT think of those things?

I would challenge you, however, to think today about 10 things you are grateful for. Off the top of my head, here are mine as I sit in an airport waiting at the gate for my flight home.

I am grateful that…

1. My children are healthy
2. I live in the free word
3. I was able to afford breakfast this morning and eat while so many cannot.
4. I am flying home today
5. I have a family waiting for me when I get there
6. I have a husband who honors my
healing journey and who has graciously “allowed” me to leave home for 4 days to coach betrayed women on their
journeys, being a full time parent alone.
7. I have a wicked sense of humor
8 I’ve been blessed with the ability to “feel” whether good or bad.
9. I’ve been blessed with a compassionate heart for others.
10. I’m alive.

The mere act of being grateful and taking the time to actively think of the things for which we are grateful has the same function as smiling when we are sad. It causes a shift.

Take some time to be grateful, to find a reason to smile, even when it seems dark. There is ALWAYS

    something

to smile about.

On Friday afternoon, I watched 30 women walk cautiously into a room. They all had in common the pain of infidelity. For most of them, their eyes remained downward, their demeanor apprehensive. They had all arrived for the “take your life back” weekend. As coaches to them, we had prepared a weekend for them that they were likely all scared to experience but perhaps a little excited too. The physical transformation of these beautiful souls was inspiring. Women whose faces were lowered Friday were glowing on Sunday. Those broken down and beaten were inspired and hopeful, with a renewed purpose upon returning home. It was beautiful to witness, and some of those women are readers of this very blog.
It was an honor to meet you, hear your stories and to be given a window into your journey so that I may help you walk it.

I am hopeful that every one of those women return home today with a reason to smile, each with a new battle cry and a renewed sense of self. I am so proud of each and every one of them for showing such bravery and honesty this weekend.

There is such beauty in turning ones grief for good…, so I guess that’s 11 things I am grateful for today – the opportunity to be able to use my story to heal others. May each of you on this journey seek out the same opportunity when you are ready, whether as a coach or a confidante…your compassion and understanding are now a gift you can give others to give them a reason to smile and then pass it on.

Join me in tonight’s teleseminar!


If you have been betrayed and want to join a teleseminar with Anne Bercht, I will be on the call tonight!

Join us 🙂

Date: Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Time: 6 pm Pacific / 9 pm Eastern
Topic: For Betrayed Wives Only
Hosts: Brian & Anne Bercht
Dial: 1-626-677-3000
Access Code: 299301#

Date: Monday, February 11, 2013
Time: 6 pm Pacific / 9 pm Eastern
Hosts: Passionate Life Coaches Guy & Tammie
Topic: Guy & Tammie share their personal story of healing, and
what they did right to make it happen, so you can make it happen
too! There will be opportunity to ask questions.
Dial: 1-626-677-3000
Access Code: 759632#

Healing weekend for betrayed spouses: Taking your life back


Have you recently discovered your husband’s affair?

Did your husband or wife confess their affair to you?

Have you tried to recover, but see no other option but divorce?

Are you healing together as a couple, or does your wayward spouse not promote healing for you and you are doing it alone?

Did your spouse leave you for the other woman or man?

Whether you found out on your own, or whether it was confessed, whether you are working on your marriage, or have taken steps towards separation or divorce, one thing is true: You have been betrayed, and have experienced significant trauma. Whether you go it alone, or with the support of your spouse, you will need to find solid ground again, love yourself, move forward, and exist happily in a future relationship, if one is in your future.

Recovery is hard.  Recovering from my husband’s affair is the hardest thing I have ever done, and I am one who has seen a lot of hardship and who has risen to meet many challenges.  I would not wish this journey on anyone (except maybe his mistress), and if I have learned anything from this, it is that support and understanding from others is crucial.  I’ve lost friends and family as a result of his affair.  Some people simply can’t relate or take the strain.  Many crack and fall away when a couple reveals difficulties like this one.  Seeking support is so important, and one of the many reasons I suggest finding support groups in your area to meet with regularly, to vent, to cry and to learn.

I can’t say enough about Anne and Brian Bercht, whose “healing from affairs weekend” catapulted me so far forward in my journey, and for which I am forever grateful.  After all of that, I am pleased that there is also an option for betrayed spouses to attend a weekend, without their spouse, for a deep look at the struggles that we, as betrayed spouses, face.  I signed up for an upcoming weekend, and I could not be more excited.  I hope to come back a new person, if it is anything close to how I felt after the weekend that my husband and I spent together with them.

I am always sad to learn of men and women who are recovering alone, either because their spouse has left them, the marriage has ended, or they are working on it, but the one who is doing the work is the betrayed spouse, without the love and comfort of the one who deceived them.  This weekend is for anyone who has been betrayed and who want to heal, either alone or as part of a couple.

From their website:

During this journey of healing from affairs …

Are you stuck in your healing journey?
Do you feel devastated beyond words?
Do you feel isolated and alone?
Are you wondering if you can ever be happy again?
Are you confused about what to do?
Do you feel like no one understands you?
Do you feel embarrassed? Ashamed? Judged? Misunderstood?
Are you afraid about your future?
Are you furiously angry?
Do you struggle with obsessive thoughts?
Are you wondering how to take your life back?

Than this may be of interest to you …

At our Take Your Life Back Retreat you will get …

  • Rest and refreshment for your wounded soul
  • A chance to talk with others who understand
  • A time to cry
  • A time to laugh again
  • Clear perspective to make sense of this unfair event
  • Motivation to go back and live your life with strength again
  • Unstuck
  • Clarity about how to proceed with your future

And you will learn …

  • How to forgive
  • How to release the pain and sadness
  • How to stop the obsessive thoughts
  • How to deal effectively with anger
  • How to rebuild your self-esteem
  • How to live as victor and not a victim
  • How to make sensible decisions for the future
  • How to get on with your life in the best possible way for you

The Take Your Life Back seminar changed my life in SO many ways. On the first day of the seminar I could hardly talk and by the end I was feeling so strong and able to come back home and live life stronger and with more love and compassion in my heart. There are still many challenges that I struggle with but now I know that I am not alone. The very reason I went to the seminar was because I felt SO alone and in such turmoil. I needed to talk to someone, anyone, who was going through the same issues that I was. The seminar was packed full of opportunities for self discovery and I wouldn’t trade a moment of that weekend! It has been a year since discovery of the affair and I am so proud of myself. My children have said to me, several times, “Mom, you are the strongest person I know and when I am feeling like I can’t go on, I look at you and you inspire me to be strong too.” Those words make me cry every time I hear them from both of my girls and I couldn’t have done it without the Take Your Life Back weekend. I am so grateful for all my experience that weekend and Anne and Brian Bercht both were invaluable in helping me find the strength to move forward each and every day. I encourage everyone to go to the weekend and learn to find courage just like I did. I came away from that weekend with so many tools that I rely on almost every day. – SP, California

 

I just wanted to let anyone who is suffering know about this wonderful resource.  If you can manage it financially, I am certain you will feel it was worthwhile.  I believe in it so much, and I know Anne and Brian do too.  That’s why they always guarantee their classes.  If you haven’t checked it out, you can do so here.

 

Complementary Teleseminars September 20th & 22nd


If you are healing from an affair, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to be a part of a teleseminar with Anne and Brian Bercht.  Author of the book “My husband’s affair became the best thing that ever happened to me” (yes, she hated the title too at first), the seminars offer insights and tools which I personally always find uplifting.  Sometimes, just being in the presence of others going through what you are feeling is healing.  You need not participate, or even speak if you don’t want to – just listen.

These teleseminars are recorded for the benefit of those who can’t attend in person but who wish to hear the content.  Take a listen to some of the past teleseminars here.

The information for the upcoming teleseminar is:

TELESEMINAR #1
Phone: 1-626-677-3000
Access Code: 688685#
Date: Thursday, September 20
Time: 6 PM Pacific / 9 PM Eastern
Hosts: Brian & Anne Bercht

TELESEMINAR #2
Phone: 1-626-677-3000
Access Code: 688685#
Date: Saturday, September 22
Time: 10 AM Pacific / 1 PM Eastern
Hosts: Brian & Anne Bercht

 

Finding my happy place


I love my husband.

There is no hesitation when I write that, or when I think about that.  I’ve loved him for almost 16 years, and a day hasn’t gone by that I’ve doubted that.  Despite the love that I have for him, he cheated on me with another woman for ten months.  Lacking something in his life that he couldn’t explain, he was inexplicably driven to seek out something destructive, and he found it. He tore me apart emotionally, broke my heart unconsolably, and almost shattered our beautiful family and our happy home.  Despite all of that, I love my husband completely.

For those who are reading this for the first time, or for those who have been recently affected by an affair, my words won’t make sense.  In fact, it would be easy to write them off as “just another woman with low self esteem who is ok with letting a man treat her like shit, and she will come back for more, and claim to love him because she doesn’t think enough of herself to leave”.  Easy to say, given the circumstances, but it would also be dead wrong.

We have done an enormous amount of work, he and I.  From the moment that the affair was revealed, my husband and I got to work, mobilized our best resources, and although drowning, fought to come up for air, convinced that we were going to come out of this hell hole alive.  We joined forces against the borderline personality disorder-afflicted other woman, sought out legal counsel, obtained advice from a marital therapist, attended weekly marital therapy every week for 18 months while I attended my own personal therapy every week.  We fought, we cried, we talked, we hugged, we held each other, we hated each other, but through it all, we also loved each other.  I have never stopped loving my husband, and that has been the hardest part sometimes.  I think, with all that we have been through, that it would have been easier to hate him.  It doesn’t hurt as badly when someone you don’t love hurts you, so hating him may have relieved the incongruity that I felt loving a man who had hurt me so badly.

I feel like I have been living in a bubble, surrounded by the affair.  Living inside the affair, you have a different perspective, and it can be easy to have your perspective affected by the constant, in-your-faceness of it all.  This weekend, I stepped outside of the bubble, and had the privilege to see it from all sides, not just the inside that I was living in.  I use the word privilege on purpose, because it was just that.

My husband and I attended the Healing From Affairs Seminar this past weekend with Brian and Anne Bercht.  You may know Anne, or have heard of her book, “My husband’s affair became the best thing that ever happened to me”.  She and her husband Brian travel the continent offering support and seminars to couples devastated by an affair, and I was fortunate to have learned that it was going to be coming to my city this past weekend.  I jumped on the opportunity, told my husband, and had his full participation.  We left the kids with responsible others for the first time in the time that we have had kids, and decided to give ourselves not the gift of time away, or the gift of a romantic weekend.  We decided we were going to save our marriage.  Together.

We spent three complete days immersed in understanding the affair, ourselves, our personality types and how that plays into our recovery as well as our married lives together.  We learned about affair vulnerability, why the affair happened, how it happened, and completely dissected it.  We learned about trust, forgiveness and intimacy in marriage, and how to strengthen our bond, our communication and our marriage.  It is no small thing when I say that my husband and I emerged completely changed by this past weekend.  It was the best investment that we could have made in our marriage, and I am so glad that we went.  I learned things about my husband that I didn’t realize were contributing factors, and he learned about me.  Having a couple like Anne and Brian who have been through an affair, and completely recovered, stronger than before, was inspirational.  I felt privileged to be asked to share my story with her, and to gain her perspective.  My husband, and the other wayward spouses had the same tete-a-tete with Brian.  My husband finally had the chance to speak to another man who had not only “been there”, but who listened to him without judgement, offering only loving support, and a willingness to help us succeed.   My husband later had the chance to speak with Anne, and hear a woman’s perspective on an affair, NOT from me, the woman he had betrayed.  I had the chance to learn about the affair through the lens of a man, thanks to Brian, who helped to solidify for me the knowledge that my husband’s affair had NOTHING to do with me as a person, as a lover, or as a wife.  It’s one thing for your husband to say that to you, but it is completely different and transformational when you learn that he isn’t just saying that to make me feel better, but that this is the case for most affairs.  Men don’t cheat because they aren’t happy at home.  Marital issues do not lead to affairs.  One does not depend on the other, and perfectly happily married men have affairs.  Their wives are devoted, loving, caring, compassionate and sexually available.  They, however, find themselves in a vulnerable place due to a myriad of factors.

I feel closer to my husband than I have in a long time, and I dare say, closer than I may have ever felt before.   We learned such deep things about each other, and ourselves as a couple, that we truly feel privileged to be together, despite all of this.  He is my one and only, and I am his.  That won’t change.

The seminar provided us with such hope for the future, and restored a lot of trust in my husband that I was missing.  It helped us to repair and rebuild.  In some ways, it feels like we are starting over, but with better tools to build a more solid structure than we had the first time.

It’s like my husband said at the end of the seminar: I wish we’d been able to gain these insights and have access to the knowledge that we now do, without having had to make this journey.  But, I have also come to realize that the journey is important.  Our struggle, the difficult days, the painful moments, the agony and despair – it was all necessary.   We need to have gone through that to see how resilient we are, to prove to ourselves how hard we would fight for one another.  If I’d been given the knowledge for free, without the mess, I’d just have the knowledge of how to make a strong marriage going forward.  What I would be missing would be the awareness of just how much I am loved and valued, something I learned this weekend, thanks to Anne and Brian, but mostly thanks to my husband who was willing to show that to me.

If you have the chance to attend, I would strongly recommend that you do.   Whether you want to reconcile, or whether you are still on the fence, your path will become more clear after you experience the seminar.  Hopefully your husband shows remorse for his actions, and shares with you a desire to make things right, to take responsibility, and a desire to be your healer in the journey.  To listen to a teleconference with Anne and Brian about how the spouse who had the affair can become the healer, and how to start on that path, click here:

http://www.beyondaffairs.com/MP3s/TS-2009-June30.mp3

 

I am in a much better place, and I am so thankful to Wendy, for her recommendation on attending this seminar.  She was completely right.

Where I was stuck was in how to forgive?  How to stop feeling contempt?  I was making the mistake of thinking that I would just wake up one day and feel healed.  I was thinking that I would suddenly no longer feel hurt or betrayed. I was thinking that I would wake up and no longer have a need to rub his nose in the affair for sport when I was feeling badly about myself.  I now know that moving forward to a place of forgiveness is a choice.  It is a choice that involves active effort on my part.  It won’t be given to me, and it won’t appear in my lap.  It will be something that I will choose to feel, when the time is right.  Knowing that it is under MY control makes it tangible and more attainable.

And because my husband will be receiving this post in his inbox as soon as I hit “publish”, and will read it, I wanted to say publicly:

I love you with every ounce of me.  You are my heart, you are my soul, and it is a privilege to be your wife.  I will work every day to keep strong what we have, and to foster a healthy, passionate, and fulfilling life with you.  I am so appreciative of your willingness to come with me this weekend, and so touched that the weekend has impacted you in the way that it has.  Seeing how much you enjoyed it reinforces for me that we are touched in the same way, and want the same things.  I am so thankful for your willingness to take responsibility for your actions.  Disclosing your affair to me voluntarily showed me that you have great character.  I am thankful that you have never blamed me for your affair, and for being honest with me in the details when I have asked.  I appreciate your sensitivity and your compassion to my pain, and am thankful that you have been willing to put yourself into my shoes, and see the affair from my side.  I appreciate your patience while I have been healing, and your willingness to act as a healer for me.  You know my heart better than ever, and I am confident that we are closer than we have been before.  I want to remain that way.   I look forward to deepening that connection with you.  Thank you for sharing your life with me.  I love you with all of me.

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