A cheater can begin to accept them self — and their betrayed spouse — more as a person, complete with flaws, and not as an icon or who they thought they were. Look at your spouse with open eyes and love them for who they are, flaws and all. Finally, you get a little of your own self-esteem and self-worth back. As a former wayward spouse, focus on your initial commitment to the betrayed spouse. Then let God and fate take their course. Know too, that even if the relationship fails, you did everything you could and then some to atone for your mistakes and help the one you love heal from infidelity.
Excellent post. The only thing I would add is that, while the betrayed spouse has the right to their feelings and to express them, they too should ask if the way they are doing it is helpful to the repair of the relationship. Being nasty and hurtful is rarely productive.
Anon, Since my EA was basically based on fantasy, most everything about it was not what I thought it was. Needless to say, if the affair would have continued and progressed, I would have been in for a very rude awakening. As far as how the affair hurt me…I live with the regret and the guilt and the shame of what I did to Linda and what I could have done to our family. I am disappointed in myself at the lack of boundaries I had at the time, and for allowing such a thing to happen. It certainly exposed some personal flaws that I had at the time.
None of that can come close to the hurt that I caused Linda though. Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. Lesli Doares June 20, His book helps you identify the stress factors and behaviors that may make you vulnerable to an affair, as well as positive steps a couple can take to protect their marriage. A worthwhile read for any engaged or married couple, "Anatomy of an Affair" addresses emotional affairs as well as close call relationships that start innocently but can go too far very quickly.
Written by a couple that experienced the pain of adultery and ultimately healed and saved their marriage, this book offers their heartfelt, honest perspectives, as well as practical strategies. A straightforward and practical guide, "How to Help Your Spouse Heal from Your Affair" offers solid advice on how unfaithful partners can repair their marriage and rebuild their integrity.
Infidelity expert Linda J. MacDonald explains the positive behaviors and attitudes that can help mend marriages and restore trust. Short, simple, and easy to read, this book also offers advice on how to undo the damage from lies, accept responsibility, and show true remorse. A quick but helpful read, this book also provides advice on how to address infidelity with your kids and explores how others may react if you confide in them. Our writers spent 7 hours researching the most books about infidelity on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 15 different books about infidelity overall, and read over user reviews both positive and negative.
All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust. Learn the best ways to manage stress and negativity in your life. More in Relationships. Defensiveness is the number one thing to avoid when talking with your hurt spouse. If you become defensive, then your mate will only assume you don't understand and he or she will begin to turn up the volume. During this period in our lives, one of my wife's favorite questions was, "How loud am I going to have to get before you hear me? It is extremely painful for the unfaithful spouse to examine what has happened, but minimizing, blaming one's mate, or even blaming another party, is not a solution.
Since the revelation of a betrayal is so traumatic, there is no room for defensiveness. You're better off using two phrases: 1 "You're right" when they are right and 2 "I deserve that" when they are wrong. Answering the "why" questions is tricky at best. Any explanation you give will be perceived as an excuse. The best answer for the why questions is to tell your mate you will do everything possible to search for the answer, but admit you don't want to sound defensive while trying to answer a question you don't necessarily know the answer to.
Whatever you do, don't be defensive. At this point, you might be saying, "I don't want to take all the blame; my wife or husband made her or his own contributions to what has happened. We had issues in this relationship long before I had an affair. Give your mate time to recover, and then begin to address the other issues in the marriage.
One of your first steps will be avoiding defensiveness when talking with your mate. When people are emotional and hurt they may say things they don't mean. If your mate says "I want a divorce," don't assume that you are going to be divorced. If your mate resorts to name calling or trying to hurt you by threatening to take your kids, don't overreact. After all is said and done, there will always be a lot more said than done.
If your mate asks you to get out, then accommodate, but don't assume it's for the long run. A new day will most likely bring different feelings. If anything, you can be assured that feelings will shift over time.
Married, With Infidelities
Warning: While you are taking your mate's words with a grain of salt do not minimize what your mate is telling you. Listen empathetically, and let your mate know you heard what was said. Just don't structure the remainder of your life on what a hurt spouse says, especially in the first three months after the revelation of the affair. Balance your thoughts about your mate's word between sincerely hearing and understanding that every word may not stick. You can't go on living life as normal if you want to bring healing to your marriage after a betrayal. Normal is what got you into this.
20 Most Common Mistakes of the Unfaithful Spouse
Changes need to be made to give your mate assurance that you're taking responsibility for your problem and being proactive to prevent it from happening again. We have had clients who continue to go to the bar or stay out late without informing their spouses where they are or who they are with. To some, it may seem elementary to make sure and build safety in a concrete way, but it cannot be stressed enough. Taking responsibility for your betrayal by avoiding high risk situations and getting the necessary help to get your life as well as that of your mate back into safety is part of taking responsibility for your infidelity.
If you want to rebuild your marriage, this is not optional. Make them aware of the ways that you have altered your life in order to create a culture of safety. These are the things that will assure her that it's not "life as normal. It may seem to go without saying, but don't defend the other woman or man. Most likely your mate will trash the affair partner or if you've been using porn she may just try to trash you. Don't try to defend your affair partner. It's easier for your spouse to be angry with the affair partner than it is for her or him to be angry with you, and if you defend the affair partner, your mate is likely to feel that you are more loyal to the affair partner than you are to your mate and your marriage.
The way the betrayed deal with trauma caused by infidelity is by talking about their feelings. In fact, they may need to restate the same thing, or ask the same question multiple times. We the unfaithful tend to feel that our betrayed mates are bringing it up just to make us feel bad or shame us.
That's not the case; it's just how they heal. Answer your mate's questions, 20 times if need be. Deficiencies certainly exist in every marriage, but now is not the time to deal with them. First, you have to re-establish the fidelity and stability of the relationship. Then, after the breach in the relationship is repaired, you can address other issues. Early on, the unfaithful spouse must learn to embrace the spotlight being on their own life before any issues within the betrayed spouse can be discussed.
Taking your spouse to the same places you frequented with your affair partner. One of the most difficult battles the hurt spouse fights is the one of reminders. On any given day your spouse might have as many as 50 to 60 reminders. Each time, your spouse has to calm themselves down and get back in control of the emotions. Taking your mate to a place where your mate knows you were with your affair partner will cause your mate serious pain. For your spouse's sake, be sensitive to places that will serve as a reminder and bring pain.
Giving your mate good reason to feel safe is one of your goals. Telling a lie even the smallest of lies only reinforces the belief that your mate cannot trust you. As difficult as it may seem, tell the truth. In the long run, your mate will at least know that you're being real with them even if your mate doesn't like what you're telling them. The pain of the revelation of a betrayal is disorienting to both partners. Both the husband and wife will struggle with how to cope with the pain resulting from the event.
Sometimes it can be frustrating since frequently the hurt spouse takes longer to move past the initial trauma than the unfaithful spouse. In these situations, the hurt spouse wants to continue to understand what has happened and wants to continue to talk about it; the unfaithful spouse will often interpret that as an attempt at punishment.
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This may cause the unfaithful spouse to quit trying to support the other's recovery. At some point, it may be very tempting to tell your mate to "just get over it.
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In reality, you are far better off to support your mate's recovery at the time of the betrayal rather than living five years with a mate who is hurting and who will eventually blow up. After a betrayal, there is an obvious problem with trust. To re-establish trust, an unfaithful spouse has to be consistent in what he or she says and does. It may seem easy for you to think even a minor inconsistency is no big deal because you know your heart's condition and your intent, but your mate does not.
The only thing a hurt spouse can rebuild on are your behaviors. If you are consistent and do what you say, then over time your mate can begin to trust again. But if you fail to follow through with what you say, it will only serve to reinforce your mate's distrust.
It is imperative that you say what you mean and mean what you say.
The Role of the Cheating Spouse in Healing From Infidelity
You will be far better off if you're realistic, and then do what you say even if what you say and then do is not as grand as you or your mate had hoped. This is much the same as the above item. If you tell your mate you will not eat lunch with another woman, then don't go out to eat with another woman or man if that's where your temptations lie. If you tell your spouse that you'll go to counseling together, then go to counseling together. If you agree to be home at , then make sure you're home by If you agree to go to an accountability group, then go to the group. Failure to keep these types of agreements, though small in perceived impact, will cast doubt on any and all of your integrity and make it difficult for your mate to trust.
As a general rule, never tell someone to forgive you. You can ask, but don't tell. Forgiveness is a process your mate will have to work through. Failure to forgive would result in your mate remaining a victim. Also, don't beat your mate over the head with religious terminology, telling your mate that now that you've asked forgiveness, forgiveness must in fact, be granted. If you tell your mate to forgive, it will only lead to resentment and make it more difficult to forgive you. Be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem.
This is a tricky one. How much information a person needs to heal is best determined by personality type. Some individuals need little information before they come to the point where they have enough to understand what has happened and can move on. Others need massive amounts of data before they feel they understand what has happened.
For these individuals, what they don't know truly does hurt them. Usually, what they can imagine is far worse than the reality. One of the greatest gifts you can give is the gift of answered questions. Tell your mate you'll answer all of the questions, but if you feel your mate is asking questions out of anger and in an attempt to hurt you, then call a time out.
Use the hour rule. Then at the end of 24 hours, if your mate still wants the answer then give it, truthfully and completely with no spinning. Giving your mate the information she or he feels is needed is important because your mate must rewrite the history of your relationship. Moving on will be difficult if not impossible until this task is complete. Don't withhold the information that your spouse will need to move on. There is more than one way to hurt your mate and being passive aggressive is certainly one of them.
It's not uncommon for the unfaithful spouse to be angry about what has happened and how the hurt spouse has responded as a result of the pain. Since it may feel inappropriate for the unfaithful spouse to be upset, and clearly they have no right to be verbally aggressive, some unfaithful spouses choose to hurt their mate by not talking.
Both aggression and passive aggression are intended to hurt your mate. Both reveal an absence of love. Give your mate the gift of communication in order to help your mate to heal. You might be hoping they will help your mate to "wake up and see reality. But that does not mean that your mate will listen.
Other friends may believe and reinforce the fact that your spouse is correct in leaving someone so controlling if you try this approach. It would be nice if there were, but each type of affair has its own set of challenges with a different set of solutions that are not linear or stepwise, and are unique to each situation and couple. Threats result in fear, guilt, and shame. While these motivators may serve in the short term to get your mate to follow your desired course of action, they will only be effective as long as these feelings continue to produce pain.
Once the fear, guilt and shame wear off, then your mate will lose motivation. You are far better off being supportive and telling your mate "I hope you choose to stay with me, but I want you to do what God is telling you to do. Frequently, this happens in an attempt to manipulate one's mate into staying.
But this will only hurt your children. If your mate is determined to leave, forcing or manipulating your mate into staying is neither good nor healthy for your relationship or family. Having read about these common mistakes, don't feel doomed if you've already committed half or even all of them. That's the point — these are common mistakes.
But if you can avoid them in the future, you'll begin to stabilize your relationship and find that you can move forward. Don't give up hope at healing your relationship. To begin the healing process, a great first step would be to complete our Free First Steps Bootcamp for Surviving Infidelity.
This 7 Day bootcamp goes through many of these mistakes in detail as you learn to navigate this process. These are great points. The problem is most unfaithful spouses don't care and won't read it, especially at the early stages of discovery. I guess it helps for us betrayed to know that these are common mistakes, so we don't feel so alone when we see them from our unfaithful. I'm sorry to hear that most unfaithful spouses won't read this or care.
On the contrary, my husband was committed to working things out. Which meant he was extremely attentive to what I needed. We read many of these articles together. Over time I was able to ask in a calmer way. I began to understand that asking questions I knew wouldn't devastate me were much better. I aske myself first "why do I need to know this? Will it be helpful in my healing? Is it a healthy question? This statement is a mantra: real but not true. The feelings I had were real but for the most part the images were not fully true.
I encourage you to kindly ask your spouse to support you by reading articles like these then allow for lots of conversation after. Not to be harsh, but my wife did just about if not all now that I think about it. It was crazy to hear and watch her actions. Then there was an outside influence in a friend as well.
I still feel as though there will be more Ddays. He's trying to be honest, but is still defensive at times. He doesn't claim to remember the time line well enough to give me a solid picture. Basically admits there are aspects he isn't sharing for fear of me knowing him too well. I have made most of them and it has created a nitemare. It has not allowed my wife to heal, sometimes I think at all. I come from a family that did not show emotion and I have no idea how to deal with her's.
The biggest issue today is trust. She constantly accuses me of things that are not true but cannot be proven, mainly what my thoughts are and feelings are. The problem I have is how to respond to the accusations.
I end up reacting and not responding mainly because I have made a lot of changes and I am defending myself. This is obviously not the right way to handle it, but I know no other way. Any pointers from someone that is where I am would be great. I have been told to take it, but if I do it seems to reinforce what she believes. But there is a minor difference in the story and you posted 29 days ago, but we blew up back in November of I was that wife. Constantly accusing. But my H did not cease all contact, as that was not possible because she is his boss.
And his willful refusal to get another job and sever all ties with her was the reason I didn't trust. She then promoted him and had him working long, late hours, very closely with her. Of course, I went off the deep end when he took the promotion. And every late night was an accusation and a fight. And there was the little hussy at work telling him that his home life was having a bad effect on him doing his job and he needed to get his head right about his home life. Then he started to push and push and push By Dec 29th,he was living in her house and the same day he claims he moved in with her, is the same day that he removed me from the bank account that his paycheck got deposit to.
He says he's done. He wants a divorce. He hates me and can't stand me. I have too much angst. That's an excuse to have an affair and leave the marriage? I dunno, I wish he'd pass me that bong he's smoking, cause that must me some good stuff in there. Finally, he told me that he thinks he took it because he knew it would end the marriage, and that the marriage was actually over for him a year before he met her It is very good that you came clean and told the hole truth to your spouse.