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.

Speak Your Mind