Archives for April 2009

A Plan to Confront the Other Woman

It is important in confronting the other man or confronting the other woman to have a well thought through plan.

Read this example:

1. What was your purpose for confronting the OP and what did you say/do?

My husband (separated) at the time, planned to take our son (age 10) there for the weekend. This affair had been going on for over a year (with my knowledge just a few months). I felt there were some things I needed to say to her, prior to that happening. She lived in another town and I had never met her. I mainly wanted to make her real in my mind and heart. Prior to this meeting – she was just a figment of HIS imagination.

2. What happened? What was the outcome?

I (along with my sister) drove to her home 1 1/2 hours away from mine. My husband was there for the weekend – I knew he was there – and I asked him to leave while we spoke. I had tried to meet her several other times; but she backed out each time. I asked to meet her somewhere – but she said (through my husband), that if I wanted to meet her then come to her house – so I did. She invited me in – I refused. My sister stayed in the car – but was within eye sight. I told her that I had some things to say and I felt she needed to face me. She started out by saying she was sorry for my pain. I shared that she & my husband had control over the pain that myself & our children were experiencing. I would not allow my son to spend any overnite visit with them – as we were still married & I felt that was morally wrong. She tried to tell me how moral she was (worked in a bank), but I stuck to my beliefs. I told her that my husband & I would always have a connection through our children – and I would not go through her to get to him. We would always need to talk about the children & make decisions. She said she wanted to be their friend – but never their mother. I told her I still felt their was hope for our marriage, but she needed to step out of the picture. She said she would walk away – if my husband told her to. She said you can’t help who you fall in love with – I disagreed – don’t date a married man was my solution to that. She said she would move to our town for MY sake – so that I would be closer to my son during my husband’s visitation times. But if I didn’t want them to live there – they would move somewhere else. We parted in a civil manner – I then met my husband and wanted to hit him where it hurt – but refrained.

3. If you were to do it again, would you do it differently? What did you learn?

I needed to meet her just to start to process that this was real, and she was a real person. I would still go to her home – I did it for my son. I insisted they not have him there until after the divorce – which they did. He was confused enough without explaining that. She then moved to our town (without my knowledge) a few months later. I read about the real estate transfer in the paper – they didn’t want me to know about the move, because we had not finalized what I wanted from the divorce. To end this story – we have been divorced over a year and a half. They married 1 year after the divorce; and he says that she accuses him of cheating with me. Funny huh.

Healing the Marriage After Infidelty

This case study brings up a contrast in strategies in how to deal with the aftermath of infidelity or an extramarital affair.

Here’s the problem: the wounded spouse has a need to talk about the affair. Her ex-cheating husband wants to “move on.”

The wounded spouse says, “OK, I guess I’m being selfish.”

However, the wounded spouse does set very clear boundaries, which spell out her expectations.

He begins responding more positively to her.

Her need to talk about the affair is more than a need to talk about the affair and have him squirm. She needs to feel empathy, concern and acknowledgment of her pain. Stating her need in that way, as her issue, her “problem,” he might have been more receptive to “listening” if he indeed has that capacity.

Give her credit: She did the next best thing: set those boundaries.

Here’s the case study:

1. What goals have you set for yourself and what got the best results to help you feel better and charge more neutral?

I’m not much of a goal-setter but I am happy to share what worked for me. I wanted my husband to “own” what he did and take responsibility for it. His response was, “the affair is over, in the past and I want it to stay there. I don’t want it to be part of my life anymore and I want to move forward.” I started thinking of why it was so important to me that he acknowledge the hurt he had caused and felt some pain himself; I fiinally came to the conclusion that my reasons were selfish and petty ( I wanted him to feel, in some tiny way, some of the immense agony I had gone through. He never can, since he didn’t experience what I did.) so I abandoned the idea of trying to make him do a “mea culpa.” You can’t force someone to feel something they don’t, and you can’t make them be resonsible adults if they never take blame for their own actions. They have to resolve that themselves, you can’t do it for them. Instead, I told him he must make a commitment to me and our marriage, and he must demonstrate that commitment on a daily basis. He has been doing so, in ways small and large over the last six months we have been back together. For my part, I don’t constantly remind him of he affair and I support his plans for our future together instead of saying, “well, we’ll see if we are still together then.”

2. Jot down a turning point between you and your partner that helped the two of you move in a positive direction. Tell the story, if you would.

My husband is a typical Virgo, very critical and not always the most diplomatic person and sometimes acts like a “jerk.” When his affair began, he got even worse with me, nothing I could do was ok, I don’t think I even breathed correctly. I realize now he had to put me down in order to make the OW look good in contrast. So I don’t take that anymore from him. Whenever he makes what I consider to be an unjustified criticism or negative remark, I call him on it, in a neutral way of course. I ask him to explain why he feels that negative way towards me and so far he has not been able to subsantiate his criticisms. I think it’s just a habit also to a degree, and it may be so for this woman. I stand up for myself and don’t accept behavior that is not taking our relationship in a positive direction. And I have noticed my husband has been giving me much more respect and affection when I do so.

Healing Marriage After the Affair

Awareness of the other person is the beginning point for a healthy relationship. Sometimes an affair is a wakeup call for those who drifted apart.

Read what this person says:

We let everything out, we talked…yelled…cried…but finally we were able to let each other know how we felt, and we found out that we were both so involved in ourselves that we didn’t even know what was going on with the other person. I had no idea that my husband was so unhappy, he got fired, started a job he hated and felt like I had pulled away, and that he was a failure. That’s when he started looking to have an affair, it started as just chat online and progressed from there. he started to blame me for everything that was wrong in his life, but keep his feelings to himself, I had no idea he felt that way. I on the other hand was so wrapped up in my job, which brought in most of our money, so I thought it was the more important than anything. And also with my friends from work, who made me feel great, I was always busy doing and going that I had no idea he thought anything was wrong, we both got wrapped up in ourselves. When I found out about the affair nearly killed us, it totally destroyed the relationship I thought we had, and for awhile we kept trying to go back, but finally we realized that we couldn’t go back, nor did I want to, now we are trying to moving forward, by building a new relationship, where we spend time together, and enjoy each other and our jobs come second, it is slow process. It still hurts, just not everyday..all the time.. now it’s once or twice a week, and with time hopefully it will become less. But the pain is harsh, it is almost physical pain and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy, but I don’t ingore the pain, we talk about it sometimes or sometimes I just need to cry, because an affair is almost like someone died, to me it felt like it, the person I thought my husband was died, and so now I am with a new person and I haven’t decided if I will continue with him or not, I haven’t made a forever decision I did that once and it didn’t work, now I make a daily decision, so far it has worked for me. One day at a time, is all I can handle, we make plans but only a few months out, I can’t think any further than that. It’s been 2 years now and I have finally gotten to the point where I don’t always wonder if he’s being truthful or if he’s doing what he says he’s doing, the worst part of an affair isn’t the affair, it’s what your mind does to you after you find out.