In this video, I tackle a difficult topic, but it is essential to recovery. We’ll be discussing the anatomy of an affair and how to wrap your mind around the concept of who is the other man or woman? It’s vital that we understand who the other party is as well as how to interpret them and frame them in recovery. I hope you’ll be brave today and read more about this necessary step in recovery.
I’d like to introduce you to ‘Sarah.’ I’ll be sharing some of her story and how she, a betrayed spouse, was completely shell-shocked by her unfaithful husband’s grieving for his affair partner, yet he still wanted to save his marriage. It’s one of the most difficult discussions I have had with couples who are trying to heal. I’ll also share with you a pivotal exercise for any couple who is trying to find new life and momentum after discovery.
Over the last few decades of caring for those in crisis due to infidelity and addiction, I’ve found that many spouses eventually ask themselves a gut-wrenching question: have I married the wrong person? The answer can be paralyzing to some and liberating to others. I do believe we have to wrestle with this question if we’re going to find freedom and healing for the long term.
I continue to hear some very important questions from those who are trying to heal and wrap their minds around infidelity. Why did they do it? Did they love me to begin with? Why would they risk it all for someone so unattractive? These questions (and many more) plague the betrayed spouse. Without help comprehending the self-deception of the unfaithful, life after betrayal can be excruciating.
When discussing the future of the marriage, the idea of recommitting eventually takes center stage. I'm reminded of a folk tale about a chicken and a pig trying to decide what each should bring to a big party they're throwing. The chicken says he'd be happy to bring some eggs for the party and he suggests the pig bring some bacon...
Learning how to recover from an affair isn’t just a matter of how badly someone wants to heal, it’s also a matter of time and intentional work. I've been asked so many times, “How long does it take?” My answer is always, “It depends”. One thing is for sure: Recovering from an affair will take longer than both of you expected, and it’s not necessarily based on how much you want to recover.
In this video I discuss the intrusive thoughts, triggers, and what experts call emotional ‘flooding.’ Did you know flooding happens to both spouses? Most couples feel helpless when this happens. But I want to assure you there is a way to handle these flooding episodes, and there are ways to minimize the collateral damage.
If you’re pondering divorce as either an unfaithful or a betrayal, I implore you to read some of these stories and personal experiences first. Often times my clients just don’t know what awaits them after the divorce, and today, I’d like to help prepare you for what divorce may look and feel like for everyone involved.
Forgiveness is hard enough without extra barriers to overcome. I’m asked probably every day, “what does it really mean to forgive?” Today, I am going to share practical do’s and don’ts for forgiving your spouse, whether you want to reconcile or not. It’s hard enough to forgive someone of the trauma they’ve inflicted upon you….you don’t need extra work by going about it the wrong way.
Allow yourself (betrayed spouse) the time and space to experience the pain of the loss. Inﬁdelity involves many losses, and it may take a while before you realize just how many losses you've undergone. The challenge of this task is to experience the feelings that accompany the losses. As tempting as it may be to circumvent your emotions, it is important to let yourself fully feel them.
Have you ever felt like your spouse was living in fantasyland? It’s like they’re unreasonable, totally deceived, and locked in what feels like irrational opinions. Please keep in mind, today I’m speaking to *both spouses* who can feel like they are losing their minds. Many ask, “Is there a way out? Is there any way back to us?” Absolutely, there is a way back.
What does love now mean to the couple who is dealing with the effects of infidelity or addiction? Does true love mean you automatically forgive and stay? Does love mean you should overlook obvious signs of destructive behavior? Better yet, does love mean you should be willing to suffer for your mate’s choices? I address all of these tough questions in this video. Link in my bio.
I’ll be sharing with you some compelling truth about why men and women cheat. I need to warn you and put a bit of a disclaimer on this one: the ideas and insight shared in this week’s article are hard-hitting and get to the core of why affairs happen and why they can be so addicting. I hope and pray it provides clarity, insight into the mind of the unfaithful spouse, and wisdom for how to move forward.
It’s a common question I hear from the betrayed spouse every day, “Why on earth did my spouse choose them to have an affair with? It just makes no sense!” Sometimes it just doesn’t. The person our spouse chooses to have an affair with can be mind-boggling. It can leave you at a significant loss of understanding as to why they chose who they chose. Rest assured though, there are reasons and helpful tools to understand their choice in an affair partner. While these answers may not solve all your problems in recovery, they can certainly provide the necessary insight and explanation to what feels like a sea of confusion.
Typically, in affair recovery, one party speaks from the perspective of how they’ve been hurt, while the other party speaks about their intentions. Both spouses feel like they are a country mile apart from one another in the recovery process. Remember this: the betrayed spouse is evaluating trust by their spouse’s behavior (the infidelity) while the unfaithful spouse is evaluating trust based on their intentions (recovery). While the fight for trust can seem like a losing battle, here’s how you make it work.
Discovery of your spouse’s affair or sexual addiction usually triggers a tidal wave of intense emotions, and trying to heal from the trauma is no easy task. Where you choose to go from here is vital! If you don’t understand how trauma changes the body and the brain, things can get worse. In this article, I discuss what trauma looks like, how it affects you as a couple and an individual, and how you can actually heal from what feels like insurmountable pain.
One of the biggest challenges for the betrayed spouse is how they deal with reminders. They can come out of nowhere and they usually arrive at the speed of light. But, is it realistic to expect that they betrayed can get a handle on them, and if so, how? Better yet, what does the unfaithful do when the betrayed seems paralyzed by reminders?
When someone makes a fool of you, what’s your first instinct? Do you seek revenge? Or do you offer forgiveness? In our broken state, settling the score can feel like the right move. In reality, justice has no place in forgiveness; it just isn’t an eye-for-an-eye exchange. Today, I'll discusse why, even though it may feel unnatural and challenging, practicing forgiveness after an affair is freeing and feels really, really good.
When trying to understand why a spouse cheats, there are six pivotal questions a betrayed spouse needs answers to. Without a basic understanding of each of these questions, the hurt partner can feel like they are floating in a sea of confusion and hopelessness without any life preserver in sight. While the answers are not easy, today I’ll offer an explanation for each hard-hitting question in an effort to offer some sort of tangible hope, comfort, and direction.
This week I’d like to talk with you about why many unfaithful spouses minimize their affair as well as the effects of it. Minimization strips the unfaithful spouse of empathy and creates concrete barriers to healing. Minimizing the injurious effects of betrayal allows the unfaithful spouse to see the betrayed spouse as the one with the problem whereby statements like “Why can’t they just get over it and move on” arise. I think you’ll find that after reading this article you’ll have a much clearer understanding of why the unfaithful feel the need to maintain secrecy and continually minimize the impact of their actions.
Today, I'll share how to make a travel plan and why they’re critical during infidelity recovery. After a betrayal, just the idea of the wayward mate traveling again can stir up relapse fears within their partner. But traveling is a normal part of life, which is why Wayne always encourages wayward partners to create a travel plan. A travel plan helps ensure they act in safe, thoughtful, and careful ways while away from home; it also helps put their loved ones at ease.
Several times a month, I get asked about the use of a polygraph to aid in reestablishing trust in the relationship. So, today, I'll share some thoughts about the use and the misuse of taking a polygraph test. In no way am I claiming to be an expert in this matter. It is always best to do your own research.
The number one, most frequently asked question I receive in counseling couples through infidelity recovery is “How do I Ever Trust Again?” I mean, what is a betrayed spouse to do with this ‘trust’ that’s been broken to pieces, left in shambles? The truth is you can heal your relationship even if trust has been left in utter ruins. The trick of it is knowing what to do and what not to do.
This week I will identify and discuss Post Traumatic Infidelity Syndrome. After almost two decades of treating infidelity and compulsive behaviors, I can say with assurance this is one of the most significant obstacle for couples in recovery. If you want help dealing with emotional outbursts, avoidance, emotional and sexual constriction, hypervigilance, and emotional, physical, and verbal abuse, it can prove to be helpful to understand and work through this and other wounds and trauma.
Have you or your spouse ever struggled with what experts call “grooming” or “high-risk” behaviors? Today, I’m going to discuss 6 forms of high-risk, grooming behaviors and how to identify them. While I understand that “what’s done is done,” if we can’t identify high-risk behaviors, how will we be able to prevent relapse or identify why the affair happened in the first place?
This week, we'll wrestle with one of the scariest concepts of recovery: embracing intimacy. It is not an easy task. But I assure you, with the right approach and help, it is possible.
In part 2 of Embracing Intimacy after Infidelity, we discuss some of the obstacles in this stretch of the winding road of recovery, as well as ways that couples can begin to reestablish their sexual wholeness— both individually and as a couple.
The wreckage of an emotional affair is no less devastating than a physical affair, but it involves a few specific nuances that must be addressed strategically. After all, how do you actually define what an emotional affair is in the first place? How do you distinguish between an emotional affair and a mere ‘friendship’? And, what if the unfaithful doesn’t believe that their behavior is inappropriate to begin with?
With the uncertainty of the marriage and family swirling around both spouses, finding a strategic course of action after infidelity can be challenging and frustrating, but it doesn’t have to be.
I think we can all agree by now: Infidelity is a nightmare. It rips you open and offers little relief or direction on how to put yourself back together again. What is the right way to heal? How do you recover and how do you help not only your relationship but also your own self to find peace again?
How do you communicate your needs? Do you speak up? Or do you sit back? We’re conditioned to believe that if our mate loves us, they should know and anticipate our needs. But it’s an unrealistic and impossible expectation because, as much as we’d like, no one can read our minds — not even our spouse or our partner. To get them to cooperate and understand, we need to speak truth in love. Today, I'll share how to effectively ask, tell and maybe even demand what we need after infidelity.
Are they still hiding things? Will they retaliate if I fully disclose? Is our relationship over? It’s understandable to have these kinds of fears after infidelity, but living in fear is no way to live. You are brave enough and strong enough to keep going, and it’s possible for things to be good once again.
It is common for both unfaithful and betrayed spouses to feel powerless after an affair: powerless to change ourselves, powerless to change our mate, powerless to change our marriage. Today, I'll discuss how powerlessness can be the beginning of true healing.
Infidelity carries no shortage of emotional turmoil and what feels like constant mental torture. The journey of both spouses can be tumultuous at times due to triggers, reminders and emotional flooding. How many triggers do you think you encounter on any given day? How often do you or your spouse emotionally flood? Today, I share with you an exercise to help the unfaithful spouse diffuse the reminders and help ease the pain of the betrayed.
Mastering marriage, like anything else, takes patience, willingness, and dedicated practice. Paying attention to the things that get in your way is very important as well. Let’s look at three obstacles that are very common but typically receive little attention. It's quite possible you or your spouse may fit one of these three profiles, but take courage, even if you fit all three there is still a great deal of hope.
What does it really mean to be a master of relationships? Great marriages aren't born out of luck. There are steps you can take to change your relationship for the better!