All in affair recovery

Here Comes that Emotion Again

The emotion that comes up as part of the affair recovery journey can at times seem completely overwhelming.  I have heard many people who have been through significant other traumatic events in their lives talk about the experience of betrayal by your partner as the worst by far.  It knocks you out in a way that most of us have never experienced before.  So it makes sense that most of us do not have experience of the kind of strategies and tools that would be helpful in managing this level of emotional turmoil.

Want the Relationship but Struggling with Accepting the Affair?

I have often said and will continue to say that no one can make the decision to stay in a relationship after one person has had an affair but the people in the relationship.  The choice to stay or go is yours and yours alone.  The kids; your mother-in-law; your best friend the manager of the grocery store can all have their opinions but they are meaningless.  You and only you - meaning the two people in the relationship need to work this through and wholeheartedly decide what is right for you.

2 Useful Tools for Healing

Last night in my Beyond Affairs Network (BAN) meeting we had a discussion about what people have found useful in helping them move forward in their healing.  Along with BAN meetings and counselling and workshops such as the Take Your Life Back or Healing From Affairs weekends, and reading and talking about it, working on self (and many others that people shared) there are two I want to highlight today because they are free and you can implement them immediately - and very quickly you will feel their impact for the better. They are Gratitude and Journaling.

Why the Trickle Truth Hurts

It is a very rare occasion when I hear from a betrayed spouse that their unfaithful partner has told them the truth about the extent of their infidelity right from the start.  Instead it is way more likely that the truth has been trickled out over a period of time – trickle truth.  This is an extremely painful way to come clean about the affair for the betrayed spouse. And it gets worse when lies are told to cover up other lies or minimise the truth.  Layer upon layer of deception that has to be unravelled.

Bring Back the Self Worth

Everyone involved in an affair takes a huge hit to their sense of self worth. I remember feeling totally worthless – I described it as chewed up and spat out – not a pretty visual but real. My husband wasn’t feeling that great either. He had violated all the standards he had for himself and his marriage and he was struggling with feeling good about himself when he had sunk to such a personal low.

Banish the Other Person for Good

This article is specifically on the obsessive thoughts about the other person (people)/affair partner(s). They are often the hardest thoughts to shift, lingering after all the others have been dealt with and you are quite well down the path on your healing journey. Really, the affair partner was around for long enough in person – you don’t want them still there in your head.

Freaking Out over Meeting the Affair Partner!

Today I am responding to an excellent question I have recently received because I know most people affected by an affair carry this fear – and it is not just the betrayed spouse. Twice lately I've had some freak out moments. Was out a couple of times over the weekend with someone who doesn’t know about the affair and saw people who looked like the Affair Partner (AP). Sent me into slight panic attacks at the thought of actually bumping into her one day and having no idea how to handle that kind of a situation (one for my own self sanity and two if it was to happen in front of someone who doesn't know what's happened).

5 Years Since D Day - no regrets

It seems like a lifetime ago that I found out about my husband’s affair. Actually it was 5 years ago this week.  5 years that started in intense pain and are now full of much joy.  And although there were many times in the early days when it all felt too hard and I wanted to give up, I do not regret a minute of the time that I spent rebuilding my marriage.

Wedding Anniversary

Today is my 18th wedding anniversary.  Since finding out about the affair I have been kind of ambivalent about the significance of the day.  Whilst I have not wanted to ditch it altogether, I haven’t really wanted to go all out in celebrations either.  So in the last few years, we have more acknowledged it rather than celebrated it.  My husband has taken his cues from me gently asking me this morning whether I wanted to do anything tonight.  As I write this I am still undecided.  It is not that I find the day in any way painful just that I haven’t thought through what it means to me in the new relationship we have now.

When you first find out about your partner’s affair it is incomprehensible to many how they could not have known it was happening. This is reinforced by the media (ever seen an article along the lines of top 10 ways to spot a cheater!!) and even helping professionals who have never been through it and can't beleive that you could be in a relationship with someone and be so blind as to what is going on for them. My husband’s affair lasted 3 years and resulted in a child and although with hindsight I can look back now and see there were signs, I can honestly say at the time it was happening, I had no idea.

Below is a link to a television news interview with Dr's John and Julie Gottman - "relationship gurus" about affairs and betrayal.  While kept short for a tv slot, they share some of their insights into the impact of betrayal in a relationship. A point that stood out for me is John Gottman talking about what they have learnt from couples who haven't had and affair - loyal couples - they cherish one another, they don't leave one another in pain, "when you hurt the world stops and I listen".  Loyal couples focus on being grateful for what they have rather than resentment for what is not there.

This post is based on the discussion at my BAN meeting last Tuesday night.  A member had asked the question: Maybe we could talk about how the betrayed partner would know when the time comes to stop trusting an untrustworthy partner, and to move on for our own safety?

Making the decision to end the relationship will always be a balance of many factors and only you can decide what is right for you.  Talk to someone you trust, seek help and remember you are not alone.

The Legacy of Peggy Vaughan

Peggy Vaughan died last week at home surrounded by her family after a long illness.  I didn't see it on the news here in Australia but thanks to social media I am not too far behind.  Hearing this news made me sad.  Peggy, although she didn't know it, was like a role model to me and I had a dream that I would get to meet her one day and thank her for how she had helped me. Peggy and her husband, James wrote a book called Beyond Affairs that was first published in 1980.  It was their personal story and was enormously brave at a time when affairs were the domain of the home - not something talked about in public.  The book is a raw and honest account from both sides - the one who was having the affairs (James had 15 over 7 years) and the one betrayed. 

One of the things about an affair though is that it refuses to be ignored.  If you ignore a few scratches or bruises they will cause some discomfort but eventually go away.  Ignoring an affair is the equivalent of ignoring a rumbling appendix - it will eventually burst and threaten your life.  I had to learn how to go through the pain.  The antidote to pain is somewhere inside the pain.  And the worst part is the more you avoid the longer it takes to heal.

What you can and can’t do to speed it up – and what are the signs that it is nearly over…

From the minute you find out that you have been betrayed by your partner – whether you find out by accident or your partner tells you – you are on a journey with the goal to move from broken to whole.  No one gets through the revelation of infidelity unscathed.  But where you go from there is entirely up to you.