Dear Anne – How can I make it through today? (Valentine’s Day) It’s supposed to be a day about love, and all I can think of is how I am not loved.
I understand. It does hurt to think of Valentines Day, when you are in the throws of affair recovery.
Some keys to surviving infidelity and Valentines Day
Find your redeeming factors … in other words, as bad as your life is, and you may be at your lowest low, thinking things could not be worse. The fact, however, is that they probably could be. And probably there is something in your life you can be grateful for. Probably there is something in somebody else’s story, that deep down you say, “thank God that’s not me.”
For example, I’ve had clients whose spouse called from a business trip overseas to announce to his wife that he was not coming home, and that he would be marrying a “friend” he met there, ON VALENTINES DAY!!! Since he was overseas, he didn’t realize what day it was. Talk about a bad valentines day!
In some cases the infidelity results in a child from an affair. In some cases the infidelity results in the innocent spouse having to contend with an STD for the rest of their lives. In some cases the infidelity is discovered after the cheating spouse dies, leaving no possibility of having your questions answered. The list goes on.
I’ll never forget when I was leading a local BAN meeting a long time ago, a woman came whose story I thought was the worst. I’ve learned there are no “worst” stories. They are all bad.
This woman suffered from a chronic illness that required her on occasion to be hospitalized. After one of these hospital episodes, before she was released to come home, her husband came to see her saying, “I know you’ll need a little extra care when you get home, and unfortunately I’m having to work extra hours, so I was thinking perhaps it would be best if you stayed at your mothers for a couple of weeks.” Sounds logical. So she did.
However, one day shortly after, unbeknownst to her husband, she decided to go to her house to get a few things. To her horror she found that none of HER belongings were left in her home. All her things had been moved out, and another woman’s things had been moved in. She opened HER closet only to discover her own clothes were nowhere to be found, and HER closet was full of another woman’s clothes!!!
Her husband, apparently, the ultimate coward of a man, was not even man enough to tell her the marriage was over. Upon hearing this I was speechless. I did not offer a single word of encouragement. That just sucked!
To my amazement she came back to BAN the following week, and told us all how BAN had helped her tremendously and she was doing a lot better this week. I was happy for her, but also perplexed. As far as I was concerned, her story was the worst.
“I’m happy for you, but I don’t understand. How is it that you’re feeling so much better?”
“Oh,” she replied, “because I realize how much better off than the rest of you, that I am.”
“Better off? Please explain.”
“Well, for example,” she went on, “many of you do not have the education, work experience, or skills needed to get a good job and take care of yourselves financially. I have a university education and can easily get a high paying job wherever I choose to live, so I am not financially dependent on my husband. Also most of you have children with your partners. My husband and I haven’t had any children yet, so I am free to divorce my husband, find someone new, and start a family, and I can easily leave this past and hurt behind me!”
“Brilliant! Instead of wallowing in “what was wrong,” this woman had found what was right. This woman teaches us all that there are always REDEEMING FACTORS. What are your redeeming factors? Write a list of things you can be thankful for in your life.
Some of you are sad today, because you feel unloved. Most of us feel deep down “unlovable” because of what our spouse has done to us. This is where we get stuck as the betrayed. We are sad, because we believe as true things that are false.
Most people, who engage in an extramarital affair, never stop loving their spouse when they do. Their action is unloving, but their heart has not stopped loving.
If you are the one who had the affair, perhaps you too now believe that because you have done this awful thing, this behavior makes you an unlovable person. It does not. Instead of focusing on who doesn’t love you, or the bad things you’ve done, focus on being a loving person. If you will act lovingly, I assure you, you need not be afraid, because you will always have lots of love in your life.
Remember that whatever you focus on expands. If you focus on what is wrong in your life, you get more wrong. If you focus on what is right with your life, you get more right. So focus on whatever is good, true, noble, excellent or praiseworthy.
Focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want. I developed a skill a long time ago that has served me well. Whenever I feel sad, wishing someone would do something loving for me (like call me, send me a card, praise me, buy me a gift, invite me out etc.), now I just do this loving thing for someone else instead of worrying that someone isn’t doing it for me.
Therefore, I no longer live with fear, because I know I will always have lots of love in my life, because I am a loveable person, who does loving things for others, without expecting anything in return.
Apply these famous words on love to yourself (not your spouse):
Love is very patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never haughty or selfish or rude. Love does not demand it’s own way. It is not irritable or touchy. It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong. It is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever truth wins out. If you love someone you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost. You will always believe in him, always expect the best of him and always stand your ground in defending him. – The Living Bible
©Copyright 2012 Anne and Brian Bercht. All rights reserved.