CHEATING IS DEFEATING!
"They say love is blind, but it is not. Infatuation is blind; emotional neediness is blind.
Love sees the fault - it just sees beyond it as well."
Richard Paul Evans, The Misletoe Inn
What constitutes an affair. Here's a working definition:
Any outside relationship with a sexual or an emotional connection that is kept secret from the spouse is a threat to the marriage and can legitimately be defined as 'an affair.'
LIMERENCE is the state of being infatuated or obsessed with another person, typically experienced involuntarily and characterized by a strong desire for reciprocation of one's feelings but not primarily for a sexual relationship.
Your spouse’s affair is not your fault.
Discovering your spouse has been unfaithful turns your whole world
upside down and is probably the most difficult experience you will
ever go through.
According to author Greg Popcak, most people think infidelity happens as a result of marital conflicts. It doesn’t. It’s character formation. “The root of the problem is that the person cheating is terrible at dealing with conflict in interpersonal relationships and knowing how to get their needs met, so they don’t say things that need to be said. Over time, they become resentful of their spouse because they are not happy. They become depressed. Then they bump into somebody who makes them smile, who it feels good to be around. The adulterous relationship that then forms becomes what Popcak described as an attempt at self-medicating depression.”
There are many contributing factors; many have nothing to do with the state of the marriage. The most common reason for an affair is high opportunity.
"Oftentimes when somebody in a couple cheats, it’s not because they’re unhappy with their spouse or their partner. They’ve become unhappy with themselves." Esther Perel
It is estimated that roughly 30 to 60% of all married individuals in the United States will have an affair in their lifetime. Psychologists and sociologists attribute the development to huge changes in sheer opportunity, particularly the massive movement of women out of the home and into the workplace; with the workplace being the biggest contributor.
Why men/women cheat
Your spouse’s affair is a big deal. It’s traumatic. It violates the core assumptions about your marriage, your relationship, your spouse, and even yourself. You are in for an emotional roller coaster ride. It’s miserable. A person's affair is not as much a rejection of their spouse as a rejection of "role restrictions"...the roles, responsibilities, and structure of family life.
Your spouse is probably wrestling with difficult feelings as well – possibly confusion, fear about the future, shame, guilt, anger, aloneness, etc. You have to wonder, which side of the affair would you choose to be on?
But things can get better. You won’t always feel so awful. According to the studies, most couples want to stay together after an affair, despite the trauma to the betrayed spouse. 70 percent of couples choose to rebuild the relationship after infidelity, although they may not know how.
A couple dealing with infidelity need to understand that this is a process and can take a long time to work through. There is no formula or “one size fits all” remedy. I believe that zooming in too quickly to examine the root cause of infidelity without addressing the emotional impact of the betrayal on both parties usually leads to incomplete healing. Although I believe each spouse is 50 percent responsible for what's not working in the marriage, choosing to have an affair is 100 percent the responsibility of the unfaithful spouse. Most of the time, couples need a way of healing the fundamental breach of trust before being able to fully repair the relationship.
Three primary phases of recovery after an affair:
- The Crisis - Dealing with the shock to your system
- The Insight - Making sense of what happened
- The Vision - What it looks like to turn crisis into an opportunity
The fastest route to rebuilding trust depends on a betrayer’s willingness to engage with the partner’s questions and learn to see them as a plea to reestablish safety.
I work with individuals, couples and families to help guide, build and restore their relationship foundation. There is hope. But it requires hard work and a commitment to the process. If you both believe the relationship is worth fighting for, counseling is the first and most important step you can take towards the healing process. Just know that:
1. You can heal.
2. You can trust again.
3. You can love again.
4. You can have a healthier, happier relationship with a new level of honest and trust that you both will cherish for a lifetime.
"The crisis that an affair, like other many life crisis, propels us into the essence of things. It’s often the first time that couples broach conversations they’ve avoided for years. Conversations about unmet needs, longings, frustrations, and loneliness that in hindsight, people wish they had engaged in much earlier in their relationships." ESTHER PEREL
I urge you to engage in these important conversations, regardless of where you are in the journey of your relationship.
"Dark times lie ahead of us and there will be a time when we must face the choice between what is right and what is easy." Professor Dumbledore in Harry Potter.
Allow me the opportunity to help you create a new relationship with better communication, fuller intimacy, and realistic hope for a better future together.
Most of us today will have two or three marriages or committed relationships in our lifetime. For those daring enough to try, they may find themselves having all of them with the same person. An affair may spell the end of a first marriage, as well as the beginning of an new one.
How To Prevent Affairs
Questions? Please contact me for further information.
“Love comes to those who still hope although they've been disappointed, to those who still believe although they've been betrayed, to those who still love although they've been hurt.”