How Could I Choose Such an Outrageous Title for My Book?

Question: I appreciate your honesty and sharing, but am struggling deeply with your choice of a title. Personal growth and growth of a couple after an affair are positive outcomes of a horrible occurrence. But I don’t ever think we should say that an affair became the “BEST” thing that ever happened to us. If only couples could reach these outcomes without experiencing the pain and devastation caused by affairs for so many people. Your title gives the affair a positive perspective that it DOES NOT deserve. Maybe your choice of the title was due to marketing. But I think you may have sold more copies if you would have chosen a more sensitive title. Something like – How to survive and grow after your husband’s affair. I would appreciate your honesty/feedback with an explanation how you chose this title.

First of all I want to say that I can totally understand that you have a problem with this title, and I’m glad to have the opportunity to explain myself. If you had told me four years ago, while I was going through this horrific experience that I would one day write a book about it, and give it this shocking title, I would have been convinced that you needed to be institutionalized!

I also want to say, although this is the title on the front cover, when you flip the book over, on the back cover it says “It was also the most devastating experience of my life!’

Choosing a title which fairly depicts the content and at the same time will create enough interest that people will actually read the timely message I have to share, has certainly been a ‘not so easy’ journey. Try not to laugh, but my original title was ‘The Marriage Warrior.’ This was to depict the original stance I took to fight for my marriage. Over the past two and a half years, as I have been writing, I have learned a lot more about affairs, and have healed even more. It was one thing to go through it, quite another to write it all down on paper, accurately.

When I quoted the aforementioned title publicly, no one was interested, and everyone I asked said they would not buy a book with that title.

My heart is to help people to avoid affairs. I feel that if my husband and I had come across practical information such as we are sharing in our story, this painful event would not have needed to happen in our own lives. My heart is also to help those who do end up betrayed to get through it more easily. At the time I went through My Husband’s Affair, I was just sure I was the most hard done by person on the planet. If only I would have known more, I would not have needed to suffer nearly as much as I actually did. Third it is my heart to educate the general public, so when their friends and family are going through it, they will know how to support them, rather than hindering the process with their unhelpful advice and avoidance of the issue, the ‘let’s just sweep it under the rug and pretend it didn’t happen’ theory.

Title choice #2 was ‘Hope for the Betrayed Heart‘ Feedback I got was; this sounds like a soap opera. I don’t watch soap operas.

Title choice #3 – ‘The Infidelity Paradox’ -Feedback I got; the word “paradox” might scare some away from the book. They might not understand the word “paradox” and think that the book would be hard for them to understand.

Title choice #4 – ‘Courage to Rebuild‘ – Feedback I got; the word “infidelity” or “affair” should be in the title. If one is in the midst of sorting through an affair, those words are what one is looking for when looking through self- help books.

I have to confess in my search for a decent title, I asked a marketing guru that I met by chance through my work one day. He listened to me and suggested the present title “My Husband’s Affair Became the Best Thing That Ever happened to me!‘ I just about fell right off my chair. How could I choose such an outrageous title for my book? But the more I started to think about it the more I realized, although I hate to admit it, I can actually own that title today which is a total miracle.

I also admit that I was concerned that some people might find my title offensive, because I myself would probably have found it so just after disclosure of the affair.

At one point, I wanted to soften the title to ‘My Husband’s Affair – A Window to a Better Life.’

And yes, I could have used something like the title you suggest, but that sounds like another ‘how-to’ book. My book is not a ‘how-to’ book. It is an inspiring true story that one can learn a great deal from. It would help people going through other crises as well.

The real reason why I kept the title I now have is for my husband and for my daughter. You see, it is easy for me to go public with the story. Everyone can feel sorry for me, poor Anne. But my husband is the bad guy, the one people will think poorly of. And my daughter, a major part of the story, attempted suicide as she struggled to cope with her own emotions around her father’s infidelity. That is very personal and she is now only 21 years old. As I have been writing, I have stressed to both my husband and to my daughter that they are more important to me than writing the book. I have offered to write it as fiction, and I have offered to pretend it was some other family’s story, but ultimately, I think it will help more people the way it is. I have the deepest respect for my husband and my daughter for their desire and willingness to let this story be told publicly. They both prefer the title we now have over all the others. I feel that the least I can do is allow them to choose that. Our main goal is to help others and to share a powerful message.

Here is the truth about how I could choose such an outrageous title for my book:

In my marriage, before the affair, I was quite insecure. This had nothing to do with my husband. Brian was a great husband. It had to do with my dysfunctional childhood and the pain that I had subconsciously brought from it into my marriage. As a child, I had been neglected and abandoned. Unable to process it at the time, I had drawn the conclusion ‘subconsciously’ that I was an unlovable person. It never mattered how much love my husband lavished upon me, I still never felt loved. It didn’t matter how much all the other people in my life showed me they loved me. I couldn’t really receive that either. I enjoyed my friends, my marriage and my time with people, but I kept everyone at a distance. After all, would they not all one day abandon me also? On the outside, it seemed all was good. I was doing the best I knew how. I was raising my children, running a business and a home, I had a good job and I was making a respectable contribution to the community.

My husband was an outstanding husband, but still I always found myself asking him the question ‘Do you love me?’ No matter how many times he told me, no matter how many expressions of love, still I felt insecure. I did not realize that my insecurities were eating away at his self-esteem. He thought “I must not be a good husband, because if I was my wife would know I love her.” Because of my insecurities, I was never able to reach my full potential as a person. I was also unable to really listen to my husband and what his needs were.

Brian’s affair was my personal 9/11 wake up call. It was devastating as any one who has been there knows. Yet it forced me to grow up. I will never be the same again.

I have learned that I am a loveable person, and my security as an individual now comes from within. I no longer need my marriage to be happy. I am able to be truly honest with others and most importantly truly honest with myself. I am no longer threatened by constructive criticism and I am no longer insecure.

Since the affair, and since I made it through the difficult recovery period (two and a half years for me), I have begun to excel in amazing ways in every area of my life. After the affair, I was unable to work at all for eight months. However, when I did return to my job, my employer commented that he didn’t know what had happened to me, but I had become a far better worker. Within a couple of months my income doubled!!! And I had been doing well before. I look after my health better now. I actually look and feel better than I did 20 years ago, have more energy, more zeal and more enthusiasm for life. Since I have gotten over my insecurities, I experience far better relationships including my marriage, but with my children and others as well.

I also have fun in my life now!

As sad as the affair was, I would not want to ever go back to what I call my ‘pre-affair’ life. I have many times thought to myself, if only, I could have gotten here some other way. Why did I have to go through so much pain? But I really don’t know what else would have gotten my attention (unless of course I had read an honest book like the one I’ve just written as opposed to only placid, uncompassionate ‘how-to’ books).

Pre-affair, I was unfortunately (and I hate to admit) a know-it-all. I had all the answers already, so I’m not sure what someone could have said to get my attention. In fact last weekend, while visiting with a friend we had a good ‘roll on the floor, oh please, I can’t breathe’ laugh over the thought of a marriage book I might have written before the affair, with all the answers, but no heart. It would have just been ‘blah, blah, blah, blah, blah’ like so many of them are.

The only thing I can think of that may have helped me is if someone had asked me the question;What baggage from your childhood or your past, might you have brought into your marriage which may be affecting you in a negative way?

Email your questions or comments to Brian and/or Anne

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