Archives for November 2007

Infidelity’s Wrath and Craziness: “My Marriage Made Me Do It”

Where does this come from? – a common reaction to someone facing a “My Marriage Made Me Do It” affair. Please read Brenda’s comments as she reflects on her struggle with this kind of affair:

I do NOT read for pleasure – I am NOT a reader (only for requirements professionally and academically).

HOWEVER I did get through “Break Free From the Affair” in a day – wish I had it 2 years ago (or more).

Even the details of the timing and the ‘activity’ or ‘behaviour’ of me was bang on.

My ex left at Christmas in 2005 – I started seeing my psychologist within about 1-2 months.

He heard a very detailed story like Affair #1 – My marriage made me do it – and he mentioned at the time that he never had a patient so clearly describe the downward spiral of a marriage, the emotional and verbal abuse, etc. (and the magical thinking that occured – especially after he left)

Your book, in combination of another one (can’t remember the specific name – I think … “not just friends’), whereby it specifically talks about the spouse feeling like they are betraying their ’emotional affair person or OP” when they are intimate with their spouse – BUT did NOT feel that their emotional affair was betraying the spouse was amazing!!

With fewer than 1/2 dozen instances of physical intimacy per year over the last 3-4 years of the marriage (while their emotional affair built up – because he fostered her through her divorce for 2 years), the vile hatred and contempt that my ex expressed/directed at me was unbelievable and always within an hour of that encounter – that knowledge years ago might have been nice! :-) and you are right REGARDLESS of what I did, offered to do, and complied with his requests to make changes in my behaviours or actions, he became worse.

I was finally glad to read the statistics from (ahh, can’t remember the female docs name) regarding the 4,100 male executives and only 3% of them having affairs married their affaired partner / mistress (and the work / details of Dr. Pittman’s work revealing / detailing the 5 factors that caused those couples that marry, when it started in an affair – WHY their relationship ultimately ends) BUT your book seemed a bit ‘more promising for them’ ….. (meaning well more than a 3% chance that they will marry)

That while the OP is the SAVIOUR, that ‘perfect world and perfect relationship’ actually does deteriorate.

Just wish I had all these details, facts (I love statistics) and the reasoning as to WHY (just like you knew the marraige was 8-9 likely to end), when people do this it doesn’t work so well (and the life they thought would be so much better IF it just weren’t because their life was ruined by their spouse – and had they only met their saviour earlier in life – their life would have been perfect because of this perfect soul mate).

I have a hard time believing that it breaks down the same way – when this person starts out as a ‘perfect saviour’ – it must have a somewhat different course (especially because the affair starts in a lie, while the marriage was NOT based upon ‘secretive and or forbidden meetings’ like theirs).

I would very much appreciate getting the more specific details of the ‘course of the affaired relationship’ HOW and in what timeframe does that relationship start to fray ????

Most sincerely, and THANK YOU


Infidelity Fears: The Fear of Being Alone

Overcoming and recovering from infidelity often means facing our personal ghosts.

And, believe it, facing those personal ghosts is usually THE best, most powerful, subtle, yet to-the-point strategy to stop the affair dead in its tracks.

Guaranteed? No, much depends on the kind of affair facing you and a few other factors.

But, believe me, it’s your best shot.

And here’s the kicker. YOU become the HUGE winner, regardless of what s/he does or the road the two of them take.

You CANNOT lose when you grab yourself by the shoulders, look into your eyes and declare to yourself and the world: “We’re gonna face this! Look out! Here we come! I will NEVER be the same!”

So, what do you face? What fear do you face?

Here’s one: the fear of the unknown.

Infidelity trashes your dreams and hopes for your future, the future of your family and relationship. You are left with a possibility – strong possibility – of being alone.

And you are not absolutely sure what that will look like.

Your future, perhaps alone, is unknown and it scares the bejeebies out of you.

I can’t state this more powerfully.

But, listen to one of my subscribers. Please.

What she says may change the flow of your life, the affair and your marriage.

Here’s her fear and how she stared it down:

I’ve wondered why I couldn’t handle the thought of my husband leaving me for “the other woman”. After all, why was I still in love with him after such a betrayal? I only knew that I couldn’t stand the thought of throwing away 22 years of marriage over something that started in a bar with one too many drinks in both of them.

Here’s what I know to be true of me. I don’t like change. I’m loyal to a fault and will fight to the bitter end if it’s something or someone I believe in.

I guess I believed in my husband. It took a year and eight months for him to come around, even though he ended it with the other woman after two and a half months. My fear of losing him made me bend over backwards to make him happy. My fears kept me from making him move out.

I blamed myself for not being “enough” for him. I finally woke up one day after him telling me for the hundredth time that he didn’t think he loved me and I left with our youngest child and the family dog.

Finally the fear of the unknown was less scary to me than living the rest of my life with someone who said he didn’t love me. I could no longer bear it and the stress of that roller coaster (it would be good for two months and then he’d say he didn’t love me again) was going to kill me!

I found out it’s what I should have done from the start. I was too afraid if I kicked him out, it would drive him right into her arms.(They also worked out of town together and stayed at the same Motel which I felt made it very easy to keep it going)

In the end, leaving took away the confusion for him and he realized he didn’t want to lose me or our family as a solid unit. Before I always sensed he had one foot out the door, but now I can tell he’s one hundred percent recommitted to me and our family.

He still works with the other woman, but I no longer fear that. I know it’s me he truly loves. So in closing, my fear of the unknown and my insecurity almost lost me my marriage.

When I developed a backbone, my husband realized he could no longer take me for granted and he finally came to see that he also had to bend over backwards for me!

Our marriage has been transformed and we have both learned that in order to have a great relationship, you have to put your partner first, even ahead of your children.

One thing I would suggest to couples dealing with infidelity is to read as many books on the subject as you can as well as books about how to have a better relationship, even if they don’t discuss infidelity. They are all a great help and you can learn something new in every book.

Infidelity Recovery: Healing the Marital Crisis

It’s often good to hear from others who have been there…done that. I asked some who have been on my mialing list for 3-4 years these questions:

What was the turning point(s) in your recovery? What part, if any, did my material (e-book, articles, site) play?

Here is the response of one person:

I found your e-book after months of searching for someone to turn to, someplace to give me even a tiny bit of insight into what was going on in my life. I had been on a merry-go-round, discovering that this wonderful man I was married to was involved in a very complicated emotional affair with someone 22 years his junior. The turning point came when I wrote you an email and you actually replied to me. I wanted to know why my H continued to say “I don’t know how this happened.” Your answer included a statement (I paraphrase here) – That perhaps my H was being entirely sincere about not knowing how it had happened. I thought about that (along with so many other things, of course) and I decided that instead of rejecting my H (who seemed genuinely distressed) I would give him the gift of TIME. I am over-simplifying here . . . as during months of questioning both myself and my H, I also accepted another insight you gave me – that this was not about me, this was about my H. I had done what other people typically do – I was on this hamster run, going round and round, questioning “what had I done wrong?” Even my H agreed that I had been nothing less than an enthusiastic partner, supportive wife, exceptional mother, etc. So I kept thinking – if I did nothing wrong (and H said – I had NOT doing anything wrong)- how could this have possibly happened? I decided that even tho I was doing everything I knew to meet my H’s needs, b/c of his age and his own doubts about himself as an aging male, his abandonment issues from his childhood (dad died at 12 – H went off to boarding school immediately after) coupled with the circumstances of our marriage (H had to accept a career move out of state for 12 months during wh/ time I had to stay behind while he lived in an apartment) – H had been very vulnerable and susceptible to this woman’s attention. He was so attached to this gal that he could not even see what was occurring. He even told me at one point: “I am her knight in shining armor.” I thought – well now we see. I am the competent wife and mother holding everything together . . . and here is Miss Helpless looking up at H w/ doe-eyes. I intercepted an email b/n the two of them where she told my H how in awe she was of some accomplishment and she finished it with “You are THE MAN!!!” At some point, I let go of “how could this happen” and “what else could I have done to meet his needs?” to “what is he doing to meet my needs?” This is only the beginning of a disentangling process that took nearly two years, and included a job change. During this time, I came back to your materials many times, re-read, re-considered what it was going to take to make me feel whole and centered while my H went through his own struggle. We have new rules in our marriage. H had always been a very outrageous “flirt” in group situations, wh/ we had discussed many times as I found it quite disrespectful. He agreed to monitor himself closely. He has engaged in this behavior twice in three years, both times while drinking. Both times, I made it clear that I was withdrawing my support and his behavior would determine if I wanted to continue a relationship with him. These have not been easy periods. I decided if we are to stay married, I would have to trust him and he would have to be responsible for showing me his commitment to our marriage. I truly enjoy his companionship. When I feel there is something to question, I immediately question it. We are three years past “the end of the affair” and most days I do not think about it. I feel it did change me perhaps more than it changed my H. I had my H on a pedestal, absolutely adored the man and felt we had such a strong union – nothing could interfere with that solidarity. I was blessed that one of my closest friends is a therapist. Although she specializes in adolescent behavioral health, without her continued support, I do not think I could have moved forward and switched my focus to MY life, my pursuits, my future. I had to remove myself from the “drama” of my H’s situation. This was key to my staying sane. I have teetered on depression for five years now. I genuinely LIKE my H. If I had not liked him, as well as loved him, I do not think I would have continued this marriage. I worked at staying focused on all the things I liked about him throughout the craziness. I am a professional writer/editor, and writing to my friend helped me sort out my feelings, face my insecurities, deal with my anger. I would highly recommend that anyone going through a similar situation keep a journal . . . as writing does help sort through things. The most valuable thing I have learned through all this is – essentially – no matter how much you love another person – you are responsible for yourself and you do not have control over everything that is going to happen in your life. There is no room for martyrdom or victimization. You have to decide what it means to be a survivor – and that may mean ending a relationship or it may mean stepping back and allowing the other person the time to decide what he/she wants in his/her life – and then you act on that information. Either you stay or you leave. Either way, you must have the conviction that this was a decision you made for yourself, based on the life you want for yourself. It cannot be a “default” position or you will forever be stuck in a victim role.