Recorded on July 21, 2010 – Dealing with multiple affairs
Below is the beginning of the transcription to the above tele seminar, as spoken by Brian Bercht.
Multiple affairs and serial cheating affects so many people. There is a huge amount of pain, because of how many affairs, and how long the unfaithful behavior has been hidden and going on, and because you think your marriage is healed, and then sometime later, the unfaithful behavior resumes.
In addition the unfaithful person usually ends up doing other unhealthy behaviors because of the emptiness and guilt; like being critical, controlling, controlling money, running from things, changing jobs etc.
The betrayed spouse has often attempted to be supportive for years, and because of the inability to breakthrough, they experience substantial emotional damage, especially if they already suffer from poor self-esteem.
For the betrayed it is very painful. Yet the healing process still follows the same steps as healing from one affair.
The duration of unfaithful behavior makes it harder.
I am going to address two key areas:
- Repeated affairs. For those that really have some level, of wanting to stop but couldn’t seem to do it. They have a high level of conviction that what they are doing is wrong.
- What factors allow a person to continue on in multiple affairs whether one night stands, or multiple affair relationships over the years.
How can someone have an affair, then be found out or discovered, and yet the behavior seems to keep showing up, even though there is genuine remorse?
It seems couples are at a loss for tools for dealing with multiple affairs, and repeated affair behavior.
Repeated affairs are a result of never really dealing with the root causes of the affair behavior in the first place. If the person who has been unfaithful, has not really discovered the root causes for their behavior, they are often misdirected and not likely to change.
Once there is disclosure or discovery, the affair behavior will often stop for a period of time. During this time the unfaithful partner can be doing a number of things right, like no contact with their affair partner.
Forgiveness can be granted because people love each other and are willing to forgive.
Many times because of the pain it caused the spouse, the unfaithful behavior may stop for a period of time, and it appears that the offending spouse has repented. Things can appear to go relatively well in the marriage for a number of years. Then the affair behavior can creep back in.
Engaging in affair behavior can be cyclical. That cycle can even be long 4-5 years of good behavior between relapses into bad behavior, because the root – why they did what they did was never really discovered.
Only the unfaithful person can really engage the recovery behavior, because it is a heart issue. The faithful can work on getting healthy themselves, and learn to have good boundaries – not engaging the dysfunction, but at the end of the day, no matter how great the faithful person is, if the unfaithful person doesn’t choose of their own accord to address their emptiness, their issues, in time the unfaithful behavior will return because it is a negative coping mechanism.
So if there are repeat affairs after people have been discovered, and there appears to have been genuine remorse and repentance, the real root cause has not been discovered.
Another factor that plays into dealing with multiple affairs – there’s a real sense of blaming the betrayed spouse. “You didn’t do this. You didn’t do that.” That’s a huge factor, and usually ends up having minimal truth.
So whether its verbally to their spouse or just in their heads, the unfaithful person usually struggles with negative self-talk, both negative thoughts about their spouse (mostly untrue), but also both negative thoughts about themselves
A third factor is that the unfaithful spouse lacks a good self-evaluation. They are unable to see the true person they are. They tend to see surface reasons as the reasons for their unfaithful behavior. These are justifications. Sure, they are lies, but most significantly they are lies they tell themselves.
In my own story if you’ve read our book, you know that I initially told my spouse I was having an affair because my wife didn’t like sports. That’s laughable. But at the time I convinced myself it was true.
A person who is engaging in multiple affairs or cyclical affair behavior can be outwardly very respected in their professions, but inwardly they struggle. They are usually unable to look internally at who they really are as individuals. The lack of honest self-evaluation in turn results in the lack of ability to talk openly with others, especially with their spouse.
This lack of ability to talk openly leads to more secrecy.
… to get the rest of this message, click on the audio link above and listen to the audio seminar by Brian Bercht.