Can a wives prevent husbands from having affairs?


#1 – 
Can wives prevent husbands from having affairs?

#2 – How can you heal if your spouse (or you) have to have ongoing contact with their affair partner?

QUESTION: How can you heal if your spouse (or you) have to have ongoing contact with their affair partner? When rule #1 of healing from affairs is no contact with the third party? And we know that any contact at all with the 3rd party seems to keep the affair alive, if only in their minds?

ANSWER:

First of all, I want you to really challenge the assumption that there has to be ongoing contact. Are you sure? No other option? You live in America, the land of the free, but you are not free to make your own choice about this? (or you live in another free country?) But they work together? In all of America, all of 50 states there is not a single other business or community that could benefit from your talents?

Be aware that more than likely you are making a choice that the financial position you are in with the business or company you are in now is more important to you then healing your marriage. I’m not saying you have to leave or move, but I am saying many couples make this choice, at significant financial risk, and more often than not find themselves in a better position down the road.

Whatever you and your spouse choose to do about whether to stay in a position that puts you in contact with the 3rd party or not, it’s important that it is actually YOUR DECISION. If you choose to stay in this situation, knowing it is your choice to do so (and that you aren’t forced – you do actually have a choice) will be your number one coping mechanism to handle this.

Ongoing contact with the third party is not ideal. When an affair has taken place, the betrayed spouse has a deep emotional wound. Seeing this third party will reopen the wound every time and make the healing of the marriage much slower and more painful, just like if you constantly keep reinjuring a physical wound.

In addition the one who has had the affair generally has had some very real feelings for the third party. It takes at least three months of no contact to grieve the loss of whatever good feelings they were getting out of the affair. Even just passing this person in a hallway and making eye contact can serve to keep the affair fantasy alive.

Couples who take drastic measures to move jobs and communities and sometimes even states to prioritize their marriages and families are rewarded with healing their families much quicker.

Sometimes the reason for ongoing contact is on behalf of the children, you don’t want the children to suffer any loss because of the affair, so you expose yourself to this ongoing contact on behalf of the children. As noble as this is, I want to ask you, why are your children more important than your marriage? Why do they deserve to be happy but you don’t? Is it really in your children’s best interest if you aren’t able to heal your marriage because the ongoing contact just hurts too much?

It’s not impossible to heal a marriage if ongoing contact continues, but it is more difficult. If you make this choice, it is imperative that the betrayed spouse is making this choice, and not that you are feeling coheresed by your unfaithful spouse. Then reminding yourself that it is your choice will go along way in helping you handle the ongoing contact.

If you choose to stay in a position where ongoing contact with the 3rd party is inevitable, it is imperative that you and your spouse sit down and create guidelines you both agree on about how contact will be handled. Will your spouse phone you when he sees him or her? Will a boss or manager in your workplace be made aware of the situation, so as to be more sensitive to not having you work on projects together? If travel together is necessary, can you accompany your spouse on that business travel so they are not alone? What guidelines will work for you?

Regarding your own contact with the third party, make up your mind to act with dignity. Do not let them get one up on you, because you “lost it.” Be self controlled.

What can your spouse do for you now to make you feel assured, loved and special? Let them know what these things are.

In summary, how do you cope with ongoing contact?

1. Recognize and own the fact that it is your choice to do so. You are not being forced. Remind yourself of this choice whenever you or your spouse sees the third party.

2. Agree together on guidelines for how contact will be handled

3. Handle yourself with dignity.

4. The person who had the affair should reassure you of how special you are to them as much as you need it to get past this – and you should consider what they can do to reassure you and let them know directly. Don’t make them guess. Everyone is different.

5. As husband and wife know that this can actually serve to strengthen your marriage if you become an unstoppable team, you and your spouse against the 3rd party (and the world). Always stand your ground in defending each other, especially in public, even when you disagree. Don’t let others witness contention between you. Back each other up in public, then work it out privately at home.

6. Follow Shirley Glass’s advice (“Not Just Friends”). The betrayed spouse needs a window into the affair. The affair partner needs a wall into the marriage. Do not tell them anything about how your marriage and healing are going. They do not deserve to know. A wall, make it a wall.

 Can wives prevent their husbands from having affairs?

Brian’s Comments:

My wife could not have prevented me from having an affair because what kept me involved was how I was feeling around the other woman not how bad I felt about my marriage. Affairs are fantasies that cloud our thinking, the fantasy needs to end before we can begin to see/think properly, and clarity begins after the emotions of the fantasy subside – 2-4 months – after ending the affair.

It is a man’s personal vulnerabilities that cloud his thinking. As his thinking slowly becomes distorted he gradually gives himself permission to get closer and closer to moral boundaries he has set for himself. Eventually he finds himself across a boundary he once thought he never could. His feelings have lured him in. Black has become white and white has become black.

Having dealt with hundreds of unfaithful men who took the time to heal their marriages, has proven to us that though many initially blame their wives’ lack of meeting one or more of their needs, the underlying issues had to do with their own inability to deal with personal junk.

A man needs to take responsibility for his actions, physically and emotionally, otherwise he becomes a puppet on a string to any new woman around him. What allowed me to be drawn into an affair was my unawareness of how easily this could happen because of the numerous personal vulnerabilities I was facing, most of which I denied at the time. This did not mean that we had the perfect marriage, but my emotional needs, sexual needs and appreciation from my wife was extremely fulfilling. – Brian Bercht

Anne’s Comments:

No, I do not take responsibility for my husband’s affair. How can I be held responsible for something when I did not get the opportunity to participate in the choice of whether or not it was going to happen? On judgment day when I stand before God, one of the questions I will not be asked is “Why did you cause your husband to have an affair?”

Problems in a marriage do not CAUSE affairs. For every marriage with problems where an affair has occurred, I can point to another marriage with equal problems where an affair has not occurred. We all make choices, and must be held responsible for our own actions, not for the actions of others.

There are no perfect people, and there are no perfect marriages, so when we go looking for the problems in the marriage that allegedly caused the affair we can always find something, but have we found the root cause for the affair or merely a surface issue to blame?

There is a general assumption in our society that affairs are a symptom of problems in the marriage. This assumption is wrong. While problems in a marriage certainly cause those marriages to be more vulnerable to affairs, they are not the only reason.

Personal vulnerabilities (such as depression, insecurity, and work related stress) on behalf of the one having the affair also weigh in, as well as environmental influences, such as associating closely with people who are having affairs.

Worst of all, society seems to be ignoring the elephant in the room when it comes to reasons for infidelity; it’s enticing when a new person pays attention to you, no matter how great things are in your marriage.

The only one who can prevent YOU from having an affair is YOU, not your spouse. The only one who can prevent your spouse from having an affair is your spouse, not you. Your spouse is not a puppet on a string whom you can control by becoming “super need-meeter” spouse.

Of course women should work towards being good wives, as should men work towards being good husbands, but not under the assumption that by doing so you can prevent each other from cheating. We are all responsible for ourselves.

Is Gary Neuman’s research accurate and reliable? The Truth About Cheating – Why Men Stray and What You Can Do To Prevent It

Neuman’s study is based on answers given by one hundred cheating men, most of them going through divorce, and still involved in their affairs. After having worked with hundreds of couples who have experienced infidelity, I have yet to talk with a cheating spouse caught up in the “temporary high” of an affair, whose judgment is not impaired. The smartest, most intelligent, most successful men, CEO’s of large corporations, literally do the craziest things, tell the craziest lies, and often throw away their families, reputations, careers, health, cash, and futures while caught up in the affair la la land. Should these people now be considered the source of “cutting edge” research?!!

Of course cheating men blame their wives! If they didn’t they would have to take a look at their own issues.

The other half of Neuman’s study included responses from men who had never had affairs. While these men certainly need to be commended for their faithfulness, they are still not authorities on why others cheat. One could’ve asked Brian his views on what kept him faithful seventeen years into our marriage and he certainly would’ve thought he had the answers. He was sure he would never have an affair. Affairs were against his moral code. We had measures in place to protect our marriage from affairs (stemming from the limited knowledge we had at the time), and we had a good marriage, so clearly this could not happen to us. Right?

We thought we had the answers, but we didn’t. Men who haven’t experienced affairs are not authorities on why men have affairs. A reliable study would ask men who had affairs, but had ended them and had healed or were working towards healing their marriages. To ensure accuracy these men would need to have had at least eighteen months of no contact with their affair partners. In the beginning all unfaithful spouses have a tendency to blame their spouses for their affairs. It is not until they have made things right and distanced themselves from their actions that they are able to think clearly, look back and make accurate assessments about why they cheated.

If you are recovering from an affair, the best thing that you can do is attend the Healing from Affairs 3 day program for couples – whether disclosure was recent or years ago, you’ll find the tools and a roadmap to recovery – really recover!

Cheating spouse loves the other woman or other man?

What happens if the cheating spouse loves the other woman?

“Dear Anne – My husband says he loves the other woman. He’s says he is willing to stay in the marriage for the children and cares about me. His affair was long-distance with someone for 4 years – someone he’s known for ½ of his life, and their hearts were brought back together when they saw each other one fateful day. Is it hopeless to move forward in the relationship together?”

Anne’s Answer:

When I read questions like this, I realize so many of us are looking for that one simple magic answer. Unfortunately healing from an affair is not quite that simple. There are no one size fits all solutions especially when the cheating spouse loves the other woman.

Every person, relationship, and affair is unique. That said, the emotions people go through are sadly similar, and there are PRINCIPLES we can apply to every situation.

When surviving an affair, most people feel confused and lost, and rightly so! After all, how does one deal with something so difficult and complex as the situation described above?

Most affair survivors wish they had an ultimate wise being sitting on their shoulder that could just tell them the right thing to do with each little scenario that comes up, as you muddle your way through this journey. Well it doesn’t quite work that way.

What is needed is not a one size fits all solution, but rather WISDOM.

If you think your cheating spouse loves the other woman …

I HAVE SOME PRINCIPLES you can apply.

1. First of all, THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A HOPELESS SITUATION.

There is always hope, however, the trick is having the wisdom to see where the hope lies for you. Don’t tell yourself your life is hopeless, because when you’ve lost hope, you’ve lost your will to do what it takes to find an answer for your situation.

2. YOUR CHEATING SPOUSE LOVES THE OTHER WOMAN/OTHER MAN – NOT!!!

They just think they do. After all, if the man above knew his affair partner for half his life, and if she is indeed the one for him, why didn’t he marry her in the first place? Instead HE CHOSE YOU as his wife.

Affairs are a fantasy

When people are having affairs, they aren’t doing real life with their affair partners. Affair partners aren’t dealing with kids, dirty laundry, hectic parent driving schedules, finances, in-laws, etc.

It’s easy to get those tingling sensations that we mistake for real love, when we meet someone new. We had these feelings for our spouse when we met them; the world stands still and all you can do is think about this person 24/7, because you are IN LOVE, or so you think.

Relationship science has proven that the tingles wear off in any relationship within 2 years. At that point we have an opportunity to develop a true love with that person.

Don’t think this means you have to settle for a lack of passion or tingles in your marriage. Smart couples learn the skills to keep their tingles for each other going.

“Cheating Spouse Loves the Other Woman” is a Counterfeit

You can learn to keep the spark in a lasting relationship. In any relationship, that lasts beyond this 2 year mark, you are going to be experiencing life together, and at times you’ll feel discouraged by the pressures of life, and become vulnerable to the fantasy of the affair, if you lack the self-awareness and knowledge to understand what’s really going on.

People who have affairs often mistakenly believe they are in love. If, however, they leave their marriage and marry their affair partner, it’s not long before the same problems or feelings they had in their first marriage pop up in the second one. Marriages that begin as affairs have a very low success rate.

3. NO ONE CAN TELL YOU WHAT TO DO.

No one else is living your life, nor lives with the outcome of the decisions you make right now (although they may be more than eager to tell you what to do). The key is to get as much perspective as you can by reading books, joining teleseminars, and talking to others who understand (by perhaps joining a BAN support group.) Then in the end, you decide what’s right for you. Even if this husband maintains feelings for this other woman, no one can tell you that you have to leave. YOU DECIDE WHAT YOUR BOUNDARIES ARE. What is and isn’t okay with you.

4. IF YOU ARE NOT PREPARED TO LIVE WITH A MAN (OR WOMAN) WHO HAS FEELINGS FOR SOMEONE ELSE, YOU NEED TO HAVE FIRM BOUNDARIES (TOUGH LOVE).

Usually a person wrapped up in an affair, who wants to maintain the affair (or even hold onto feelings for this other person), is getting some needs met in the affair, and other needs met in the marriage. If no one forces their hand, they will maintain relationships with you and the affair partner for the rest of their lives. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS WEANING YOURSELF OFF AN AFFAIR. You have to go cold turkey or it won’t work.

My own husband told me that when he broke off his affair he felt like he was cutting his right hand off. It was that difficult. And for about 3 months he went through a difficult period of grieving the loss of the affair. During which time he was pretty mean to me. This is a normal pattern – not fair, but par for the course of affair recovery.

There is nothing fair, once there has been an affair!

If you are not prepared to live with a man (or woman), who is claiming to be in love with someone else, you’re going to have to give him or her an ultimatum.

The vast majority of people fail with their ultimatums, because they don’t deliver them correctly. Timing, and how you do it is essential.

Never deliver your ultimatum by just your words. It needs to be in writing.

Don’t deliver your ultimatum unless you are prepared to follow through with your plans of what to do if they don’t meet your requirement. (And you certainly need a plan of what that will be.) An un-carried out ultimatum is not an ultimatum. It is a threat. Threats weaken a relationship.

Because giving an ultimatum correctly may be one of the most important things you ever do in your life, I strongly recommend getting the help of a trained therapist, counselor or coach. It’s just much too important and difficult of a situation to try to do it all alone. If ever there was a time for a little outside support, now is the time. It’s hard to be objective when you are going through such an emotionally draining (and unfair) situation.

Sincerely,

Anne Bercht

©Copyright 2009 & 2019 Anne and Brian Bercht. All rights reserved.

For information about confidential coaching with Brian or Anne click here.

Can my marriage survive an affair?


People ask: Can my marriage survive an affair?

Yes, it can. But will it? And is it worth it to try to save yours?

The truth is some marriages are salvageable, and some are not. Yes, marriages can, not only survive affairs, they can become stronger on the other side of the devastation, pain and chaos that comes first.

How do you know if your marriage can survive an affair?

My husband, Brian Bercht, and I have dedicated our lives to helping marriages survive and thrive after affairs. Over the past fifteen years, we have personally helped more than 2,500 couples restore their marriages. So is there hope? Yes, lots of hope. We ourselves have experienced 19 years of monogamy post affair. We feel we have the best of all worlds – a shared history, excitement and passion, security and deep friendship, and we got to keep all our money too! You can have that also, if you are both willing. That said, the largest number of recovery stories begin with only one spouse in the right head space. Something about affairs and betrayal can make both spouses “crazy” after disclosure.

Obviously, we do not have a 100% success rate. Although when BOTH spouses attend our programs and actually DO the things we lay out in our roadmap to recovery, there is actually a 100% success rate for those couples who both do the work.

The journey is not easy. Even so, Brian always says he is jealous of our clients because it can be so much easier for you than it was for us, because we are able to provide you with a roadmap and all the tools you need, through our Healing from Affairs Program. Your path can be much smoother, and you can avoid the painful, but common post-disclosure mistakes.

It’s important not to write off your marriage too quickly. Don’t make knee-jerk reactions while you are in the emotion of the moment. Chaos, more lies, trickle truth, intense emotions, misunderstandings, setbacks, and just plain stupidity are common in the early weeks after disclosure. So much so, that one could easily draw the false conclusion that “this marriage is hopeless,” when in fact it is not.

Five days after disclosure in our own marriage, I had my husband backed into a corner while I shouted, “Her or me? Make up your mind! I am not sharing my husband!” To which he responded by shouting back, “Her then!” And he packed a duffle bag of clothing and left. Any onlooker might have assumed that was the end for us. But it wasn’t. I was in a state of trauma. My husband was in affair fog. We were a mess. Since then, we’ve experienced 19 years of monogamy. We are very much in love, and we never think about the affair that occurred in our own marriage anymore, even though supporting others on the journey has become our specialty, our life mission, our passion and our work.

A situation that has happened not infrequently in our office, is to receive a phone call from a couple we have begun working with that sounds something like this, “Anne & Brian. Thank you so much for your help. It has been above our expectations. That said, we had a huge fight this weekend and have decided to divorce. It’s over. Thank you anyway.” We’ve learned to sort of ignore these phone calls in the context that two days later they call us back, having gotten beyond that horrific argument and they are back on the mend. And they make it.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are those couples who sometimes attend our intensives, or work with us personally, who don’t make it. So how do you know?

Can my marriage survive an affair?

While none of the criteria below are a definitive diagnosis, we have found that positive answers to the questions below usually lead to successful reconciliation. As you read, “can my marriage survive an affair?” is more a matter of character traits – than practical, outwardly measurable things.

1. Are you willing & open? The number one trait, we notice among couples who make it is WILLINGNESS & OPENNESS. Are you willing to try?

2. Do you have good life skills? Social skills? Emotional intelligence? Then there is a high probability of your success. Skills are something that can be developed. If you honestly evaluate yourself and realize maybe you do have poor life skills – that you struggle in general with jobs, relationships and finances, then you can do something about that. Stop blaming others for your life not working out the way you want it and decide that you will develop these skills. When the student is ready, the teacher appears.

3. Can you accept responsibility for your shortcomings without casting blame elsewhere? This overlaps with good self-esteem, which can be developed. When a person has good self-esteem, they demonstrate an ease in talking about both their accomplishments and their shortcomings with directness and honesty, because they have a healthy relationship to the facts. They are open to criticism and comfortable acknowledging mistakes because one’s self-esteem is not tied to an image of perfection. If you are not at this place, don’t worry. You can get there. Both our Take Your Life Back and Healing from Affairs programs have components that help husbands and wives build their self-esteem.

4. Can you accept instruction? Are looking for answers and asking for outside help? The couples who make it have awakened to the fact that perhaps they don’t have all the answers.

5. Are you prepared to work hard? Couples who make it are not afraid of hard work. In this life we are rewarded according to the effort we are willing to put in. It’s going to take effort. If you and your partner are both willing to put in an honest effort, your chances of success are great. In life we repeatedly find ourselves at a fork in the road. The fork always looks the same. There is the road that appears easy, which becomes the hard road, and there is the road that appears difficult which becomes the easy road. Do the right thing.

6. Are you compassionate? When husbands and wives are willing to listen and see the world through their spouses’ eyes and show compassion, they have a high probability of success. Couples who end in divorce have in common a failure of compassion.

7. Are you focusing on how YOU need to change? (not on how your spouse needs to change) When you focus on your spouse, you make yourself powerless, because you do not have the power to change them. Only they can do that. When you focus on yourself, you take back your power, and maximize the chances of restoring your marriage. In most situations, when one spouse makes positive changes, the other spouse responds by making positive changes too. Take away your spouses’ ability to point a finger of blame at you. Saying, I won’t do this or that unless he/she does this or that first, is a sure way to stay stuck in a lose/lose stalemate. Are you doing the things from your side that lead to restoration?

8. Does your spouse have a good heart? And are they willing to grow, learn and change? Are they well-intentioned? Do they have a track record before the affair of caring? Is your spouse reading books? Talking with you? Going for counseling? Willing to attend seminars? Anything? All the issues that got you here in the first place don’t go away by themselves. Time does not heal all wounds. It’s time plus doing the right things. You will learn the “right” things at the Healing from Affairs intensive for couples. You’ll leave with a roadmap for recovery, and the right tools.

9. Did your marriage have a strong bond to begin with? Have you got a track record of love in your relationship? If your relationship was in trouble even during your dating time, the road to recovery is bigger and more difficult. That said, there are always exceptions to the rule. No person needs to remain a write-off. The help is out there if someone decides to grow and change and become a better person. But they have to do it for themselves. You cannot do it for them.

10. Does your spouse have a track record of monogamy? In other words, betrayal is completely out of their character. They are a person of integrity, who somehow completely lost their way. Before they got caught up in an affair, they judged others who had affairs, and if you would’ve asked them before they did this, if they ever might have an affair, they would’ve said, absolutely not, and meant it. If your spouse actually embraces the value of faithfulness your marriage stands a much greater chance of recovering.

11. Is this a one-time event or a pattern? If it is a one-time event, the hope for recovery is greatly increased. If it is a pattern, there is still lots of hope. It just needs to be acknowledged that patterns are hard to break. The will to break bad patterns must come from the one who is doing the bad behavior, in the same way that an alcoholics’ loved ones are unable to keep him or her sober. They can support the addict on the journey, by being encouraging, holding them accountable, and learn to avoid enabling, but the will to change and break the pattern permanently must come from the person who is giving up the bad behavior themselves.

12. Do you believe in God? People with faith, statistically have a higher recovery rate than those without, and when they recover their recovery tends to be more complete. Perhaps betrayal of this kind is so big that every healed marriage is actually a miracle. There is something about true restoration after infidelity that cannot be explained through natural means. Healing is spiritual – supernatural. Faith is not a deal-breaker. There are couples who do not believe in God who also recover, but if God is on your side and you know it, you’ve got an asset that makes a difference. If you’ve been on the cusp; God has been out there somewhere in your life, but not something you’ve given much thought to, well, this might just be a good time to investigate that further.

The more yes’s you have to the questions above, the greater your hope. You ask, “Can my marriage survive an affair?” The answer is yes if you are both willing to do the work.

PS – We’ve noticed greater success rates and less agony, pain and mistakes for couples when the betrayed spouse takes the Take Your Life Back seminar first. While it may seem unfair: “He had an affair. He needs the work. Why should I attend a program first? I am not the one who did the bad thing.” I get it, and you are right. The problem is you’re the one who is hurt and broken and angry and unable to trust etc., and it’s hard to engage in healing work from this broken place. By giving the betrayed a chance to process some of all that pain and regain clarity, the couples work becomes much more productive.

Once a cheater always a cheater

Is Once a Cheater Always a Cheater True?

Dear Anne, I was looking around your site, and I wonder what you have to say about the old adage: Once a Cheater Always a Cheater???

ANNE’S ANSWER:
Once a cheater always a cheater is NOT true. That said, statistically it has largely been true. This is due to the many myths and misconceptions about affairs.

Generally embraced ideology still emphasizes that affairs are caused by problems in the marriage and that both husband and wife should take responsibility for their parts in the affair that occurred in the marriage.

Who is responsible for an affair?

At Beyond Affairs, we agree that an affair takes two people; the unfaithful spouse and the affair partner! Should it be true that one day we all get to stand in front of God and give an accounting of our lives, one question God will not be asking the faithful spouse is “why did you make your spouse have an affair?” The ones involved in the affair will stand alone to give an account for their behavior.

The betrayed spouse is responsible for ways they may have failed their spouse in the marriage, but this is an entirely separate issue. It is not cause and effect. For every marriage with problems where there has been an affair, I can show you another marriage with bigger problems where there has not been an affair.

If you are unhappy in your marriage, there are healthy and right ways to address the marital issues. No one is “making” anyone have an affair.

Affairs happen in good marriages too!

The truth is affairs happen in good marriages too. We agree that marriages with problems are more likely to have affairs. However, the fact remains that all marriages are vulnerable. Reasons for the choice to have an affair lie with the persons having them, not with the innocent spouse who would give anything for the affair not to have happened.

When affairs are a pattern …

One clients’ situation strongly emphasizes this point. Her husband was in the military. She had been married for thirty years when I first saw her. Every five years of their marriage the husband had an affair, and each time they sought the help of a therapist to recover, and each time the therapist helped them to discover what she (the innocent spouse) did wrong to cause her husband to have an affair (the belief that it was her fault for not meeting his needs).

Five years into the marriage apparently he cheated because she was too busy with babies, and not giving him enough attention, so she gave him more attention. Ten years into the marriage it turned out he had an affair because they weren’t having enough recreational companionship together. She took up golf with him.

Fifteen years into the marriage he had an affair because she wasn’t adventurous enough in bed. They got some lingerie, books and sex toys and she became a sex goddess. Twenty years into the marriage apparently he cheated because she didn’t keep the house clean enough. She added that to her list of burdens to carry with her growing heartache. I could go on. When the affair happened thirty years into the marriage, she admitted herself into the psych ward at the hospital!

The more I support people, the more I feel like shaking the globe and shouting, “Why are we looking for reasons for the affair with the one who isn’t having them? Why are we missing the obvious? A person choosing to have an affair is responsible for the affair, and it is this person that has some changing to do.

What happens to the cheater when they marry someone new?

When a cheater divorces and then remarries, they usually have affairs again. Why? What is the problem here? The innocent spouse not meeting their needs?? No, of course not. The one who is repeatedly having affairs in sequential marriages is responsible, because they have not addressed THEIR issues.

So to answer your question, when the person having the affair is willing to step up to the plate and stop blaming their spouse and everything else for THEIR behavior, and start looking inside themselves for the reasons, and when they take initiative to do THEIR personal growth work, then THEY can certainly change and become faithful ever after, and many have.

So is a person “once a cheater always a cheater?” No, absolutely not. Any person can decide to change and become a better person, but the tenacity to do so must come from within the one who cheated. You can’t do it for them. If the root causes for their affair are addressed, then certainly they don’t need to repeat their affairs.

What does not work in ensuring faithfulness are promises or willpower alone. It takes understanding, personal growth, and corresponding change. If promises worked the wedding vows would’ve been sufficient the first time.

James Vaughan was faithful to his wife Peggy Vaughan for 30+ years following several years of affairs with multiple partners, honoring their wedding vows from the time of his change forward “’til death do us part.” Peggy never bore affair heartache again.

In my own marriage, I have now experienced 19 years of monogamy & counting post affair!

But how do you address the core issues effectively?

We help those who’ve had affairs understand and address the core issues behind why they cheated. If your unfaithful spouse is serious about being faithful forever forward, they will want to register you both for the Healing From Affairs Intensive.

We also find that when the husband has had the affair, couples generally fare better at Healing from Affairs, if the wife attends Take Your Life Back first, because it’s hard to do couples work when the anger, sadness, obsessive thoughts, fear of the future and low self-esteem are at an all time high. Many betrayed spouses say, “Why should I go to a program? I am not the one who did the wrong thing.” Yes, we understand, but you are the one whose heart has been broken! It’s not fair. We know. Life isn’t fair. If ever there was a time, though, when you deserved the pampering and self-care of program just for you – now is that time!

For those where a group situation is not a consideration, due to a high profile nature of your work, Private Intensives are available.

Write to us directly and confidentially at anne@beyondaffairs.com or brian@beyondaffairs.com .

PS – You may wish to suggest the Man of Honor Weekend to your husband.

What if you might be facing divorce?

Facing a Divorce

Facing a Divorce

What if you might be facing a divorce?

Gayle shares with women who are facing a divorce, how to divorce with dignity and come out strong on the other side, with restored joy, and living life to the fullest. In the end you win! It might be “hell” in the middle, but your middle is not your end.

Gayle says, “I always appreciate being able to help others, because divorce is one of the most painful experiences. I have now been divorced for 13 years. God hates divorce, and I understand why.”

“I was married for 35 years. My husband was a minister/motivational speaker. He had an affair with a 20 year old in our church.

” As a result, I was forced to deal with some hard questions in my life. I was codependent. I was full of fear. The sign of a codependent family is when they can’t discuss issues. That’s how our family was, so many unmet needs.

“Then, a friend told me, ‘God gave me a word picture for your life. It’s like you were holding a gunny sack with a cat inside. The cat was jumping around trying to get out and you were holding it altogether, being tossed to and fro by the bag. Then one day the cat got out, and it was all over. The cat was your husband.’

“Another big wake up call came when my son said to me, ‘Mom, you’ve got to do something. Dad is killing you!’

“After counselling with some really wise people, we got together as a family and did a family intervention, but my husband didn’t receive it. He just walked out the door.”

To hear the rest of Gayle’s amazing story, the validation for anyone struggling with betrayal, and some great help and advice for anyone else facing a divorce, start listening now.

Take Your Life Back

You are loveable! You are valuable! You are worthy! I want you to know that no matter how bad things seem for you today, there is hope for you on the other side. No matter how much shame you feel, your shame can be lifted. Don’t give up. It’s time to Take Your Life Back.

You are good enough. The hard work you’ve done is enough. If you are the betrayed spouse (despite what our culture tells us), the affair is not about you. When someone mistreats us, the problem lies with the person doing the mistreating, not with the person who is being mistreated.

Yesterday, I experienced a different kind of Easter – one without family – one where I had to work. Easter, Thanksgiving & Christmas have always been for me holidays where it is important to celebrate together with family. We could’ve celebrated with family, but it didn’t work out that way this year. It felt weird – kind of like non-Easter.

At some point during the day, I had a little glance at FaceBook filled with pictures of my friends, family & acquaintances all gathered with smiles and Easter eggs, looking so happy together, and it hit me.

It hit me how hard this would be for those whose families are at this very moment crumbling, hanging in the balance, on the verge of being torn apart forever because of infidelity. I thought, too, about the masks people wear, trying to hold it altogether when their hearts are broken, and they feel they can’t tell anyone. I’ve got answers for you.

I felt compelled to encourage you today. I care about you.

Has your husband been unfaithful?
Is this the most difficult thing you’ve faced in your life?
Are you confused about what to do?
Do you feel isolated and alone, like no one really understands?

I was there once too. I am not there any longer, but I remember what it was like to be there. That is why I designed the Take Your Life Back program especially for betrayed women.

Initially when I designed Take Your Life Back, I imagined serving you Martinis on a beach, while we hugged and cried together. But Take Your Life Back does not involve Martinis or a beach. Why? Because if you have enough money, you can pay someone to serve you Martinis on a beach, and while that might temporarily placate the pain, it won’t help you to live your life one bit better when you go back to face reality.

So instead, at Take Your Life Back we work hard, and by the end of these 3 life-changing days, you will have your peace, joy and self-confidence back, along with clarity about how to move forward, and you will have tapped into strength you didn’t know you had.

Take Your Life Back is for you whether you are reconciling or divorcing. It’s not about healing a relationship. It’s about healing you. However, if it is your desire to heal your relationship, the truth is, it’s a lot more realistic to engage well in couples work after your anger and your broken heart have been addressed, and you have your strength and confidence back.

Healing from an affair/s is not an intellectual journey. It’s a heart journey. Over the 3 days, we will help you to deal with the trauma, get beyond the intense sadness and/or anger, gain perspective, rebuild your self-esteem, and make sound decisions that will help you to move forward in your healing and ultimately live your best life beyond affairs.

Another great benefit is that you will end up with a group of truly great women as friends to support you on your journey. And the great thing is, with technology today, it’s not hard to stay in touch, no matter how far away they live. Better yet, they are not in your personal acquaintanceship circle, so you aren’t risking sharing with people who may gossip, judge you, or be full of unhelpful advice.

Given what you are facing now, if ever there was a time when you deserved to give yourself the gift of the support, wisdom, knowledge & encouragement you need. Now is that time!

Register Now!

Ever since coming home from Take Your Life Back I’ve been doing great! I’ve had several breakthrough moments, directly because of what I learned at the retreat and how I am changed. I am inspired. I cry when I need to, I laugh bigger than I have in months, and my anger has diminished greatly. I was living with my anger like a roommate. I’ve gained self-acceptance and my voice. I’m done being a people pleaser. Take Your Life Back helped me to process all the hurt from my divorce. I am now able to face the challenges of single life. I’m never going to let some guy shame me again and make me doubt myself. – Corrine, Texas

What’s stopping you from registering, and getting the support and answers you need now?

You might say… BUT THE PROGRAM IS TOO EXPENSIVE!

YES, BUT YOU ARE WORTH IT! The program costs what it costs, because we refuse to run anything that is substandard. We limit registrants to 30, and bring in 1 coach for every 5 participants, so that each woman gets the personalized attention she needs specific to her situation. You will not be lost in a crowd. This is not a 9 – 5 program, where you listen to lectures, and get black & white handouts in a church basement.

We meet at the Marriott hotel. Your registration includes quality materials, 2 nights hotel stay, 3 lunches and 24 hours of instruction.

In so many cases, unfaithful husbands have spent thousands on their mistresses, prostitutes, call girls, massage parlors, phone sex or pornography, often lavishing the other women with expensive gifts or giving them money for clothes, accommodations, education, paying off their loans. Therefore $1600 for their wife’s healing is comparatively small.

Other times it’s our perception of priorities. You may not think twice about spending $1600 on a new couch, a vacation, education, or sports for your children. So many times I’ve seen someone say they can’t afford Take Your Life Back, and a couple of months later they are on vacation in Mexico having a terrible time with their unfaithful spouse and their unhealed marriage. For most, we simply have a perception that we shouldn’t have to pay for this kind of healing while we accept other (less important) expenditures as normal. If we need a medical procedure done, it often costs us out of pocket much more, and we don’t think twice about it. The truth is our emotional healing is even more important, because when we are down, we struggle with everything else in our lives. It’s not worth it to remain unhappy.

… BUT I WOULD HAVE TO TRAVEL ACROSS THE COUNTRY ALONE

… YES, BUT WE HAVE WOMEN WHO ATTEND TAKE YOUR LIFE BACK FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD. You can do it. I get that for many this is out of your comfort zone and for many you’ve never travelled without your husband before. Wherever you are coming from, I’d be happy to talk you through your challenge with this over the phone. At the end you will be stronger for it.

… BUT I WANT TO HEAL MY MARRIAGE, AND I’M AFRAID AFTER TAKE YOUR LIFE BACK, I WILL WANT A DIVORCE.

THAT WILL NOT HAPPEN. Take your life back is both for those who are divorcing and for those who are reconciling. We don’t influence you one way or another in the staying or going. Instead we help you get stronger and more sure about what is right for you. If you desire to heal your marriage, and if your husband is a good man doing the right things to help restore your marriage, you are both going to be so glad you came. It will help you to reconcile.

… BUT I WOULD HAVE TO TAKE A DAY OFF WORK.

YES, BUT YOUR HEALING IS WORTH IT. If you were physically ill, you would have to take a day off work. The same applies to being emotionally “sick.” When you get your strength back you will be far more effective at your job. For me personally, after my husband’s affair, I was unable to concentrate on my work and took an 8 month leave of absence. Several weeks after I returned to work, healed, my boss called me into his office and literally doubled my salary. He said: “I have no idea what happened to you while you were away, but your worth twice as much now, and I wanted to honor that!” While your story probably won’t be as dramatic as mine, I am confident that one day off work, is going to be more than worth it.

… BUT I WOULD HAVE TO GET A BABYSITTER FOR MY CHILDREN.

DO IT FOR YOUR CHILDREN! YOU WILL BE A MUCH BETTER MOM WHEN YOU’RE HEALED. When we had young children, there were times we needed to leave our children and we never had family close. We always found good people to watch our kids. Often we did exchanges with our kids friends. They took our kids for a weekend, and then we took their kids for a different weekend. I know you are the best person to take care of your children, but (if your children’s father is not willing or able), there are other good people who will take excellent care of your kids. It will be a good experience for them. And multiplied times better when they get their happy and effective mom back.

… BUT MY HUSBAND’S AFFAIR HAPPENED YEARS AGO. IT’S TOO LATE FOR ME TO ATTEND “TAKE YOUR LIFE BACK!”

YES, BUT YOU ARE STILL STUCK. We’ve had women attend “take your life back” whose husband’s affair was 30 years ago. Back then there was no program like this. Take Your Life Back is still completely unique. There is no other program like it. Deep down all that hurt of what happened years ago is still there, still affecting your life today negatively. Time does not heal all wounds. It’s time PLUS doing the right things. No matter how long ago your spouse’s affair/s were, it’s not too late to finally address that pain properly, so you can leave it behind you forever and be truly free.

… BUT MY D-DAY IS SO FRESH. I JUST FOUND OUT. I THINK I NEED MORE TIME, BEFORE I AM READY FOR TAKE YOUR LIFE BACK.

I imagine that you feel afraid that if you attend Take Your Life Back there is going to be this expectation for you to be healed after. Take Your Life Back does not negate your healing journey. It’s time PLUS doing the right things. You cannot take time out of the equation. The great advantage of attending Take Your Life Back early is that from then on you will be able to engage your healing process more intelligently and better equipped. ATTENDING EARLY WILL DIMINISH THE TIME IT TAKES TO HEAL, AND YOU’LL BE ABLE TO AVOID MISTAKES THAT MAKE HEALING EVEN MORE DIFFICULT.

… BUT I AM A PRIVATE PERSON. I HAVEN’T TOLD ANYONE. WHY WOULD I TELL A GROUP OF STRANGERS?

Take your life back gives you the best of both worlds. There is that saying, “no woman is an island.” It’s okay to be a private person, but you are still human. And for us as humans we need others in our life, especially when we are struggling. Our independence often comes from past experiences where we have had to fend for ourselves. The truth is when we tell even a small part of our story to someone who gets it, our own pain diminishes just a little bit. TELLING OTHERS WILL GIVE YOU MORE POWER, MORE STRENGTH AND MORE HEALING. The great thing is when your sharing is exactly with this small group of strangers, who are experiencing the same thing, the human support aids in our healing, and yet, we are free to leave that program and never see any of those people again. No one in your world needs to know where you went for that weekend. So you have still maintained your privacy.

Restoring Sexual Intimacy after Infidelity

Question:

Dear Anne, I am a betrayed spouse working on restoring sexual intimacy after my spouse’s affair, and we are struggling with intimacy issues. There are things my husband and I used to do that we no longer do. I ask my husband about it and he says, “I don’t like…” kissing for example. Yet I know there was significant kissing with the other woman, so this makes me feel inadequate. Any advice on how to deal with this?

9 Keys to Restoring Sexual Intimacy after Infidelity

An affair always has a profound affect on a couple’s sex life. It tends to go towards one of two entirely opposite extremes. Either the betrayed spouse goes into what I call “super sex god” or “super sex goddess” mode. In this case the sex life of the couple often becomes great after the affair. If you’ve read my book, “My Husband’s Affair Became …” you’ll realize this is what happened to us. This is not necessarily a good thing, because the better sex is motivated out of intense pain. The betrayed spouse is busy comparing themselves with the 3rd party.

1. Don’t Compare Yourself to the Affair Partner

We are always wrong when we compare ourselves one to another. People are like colors, or flowers, all beautiful, unique, and different. To say, that one is better than another is to err. For example to say that red is better than blue is somewhat crazy. The world would be at a complete loss if either color didn’t exist. In every person one can find strengths and weaknesses, things that might be better, and things that are not as good. So trying to feel good about yourself by comparing yourself to others sets you up for failure. There is always going to be someone prettier, sexier, smarter, funnier, better with children, more talented at something … whatever.

Better sex resulting from an inward comparison with the 3rd party eventually needs to move over into being based on restored love, trust, and security in the relationship – knowing you are loved and found desirable by your partner for who you are – not because you are competing (and feel like you’re winning) against another person, which is a recipe for failing at restoring sexual intimacy after infidelity long-term. To feel good about yourself by comparison is founding your relationship on a weak foundation that will in time crumble.

The Other Extreme – “I am repulsed by you!”

More frequently, however, a couple’s sex life goes to the other extreme after an affair. The betrayed spouse is so sickened by the thought of their spouse having sex with someone else, that they feel repulsed by the idea of being sexually intimate and restoring sexual intimacy after infidelity feels impossible.

2. Get beyond feelings of guilt, shame and unworthiness

As the question above indicates, sometimes failure at restoring sexual intimacy after infidelity comes from the person who has been unfaithful. They can struggle because of feelings of guilt, shame or unworthiness. Some may be struggling because they have not ended their affairs, or they are fighting an inward struggle where they are grieving the loss of the affair partner. This is normal (although painful for the betrayed). It takes 3 – 6 months of no contact with the affair partner for the unfaithful to get beyond grieving the loss of their affair. They are not grieving the person (as we often think), but rather the feelings they had. During an affair the unfaithful spouse often thinks they are in love with their affair partner – really they are in love with the reflection of themselves in the adoring 3rd parties eyes.

Intimacy issues should never be put into cookie cutter solutions. They can be as complex as we are as people.

3. Recognize that when it comes to restoring sexual intimacy after infidelity “WE” have an issue

It’s important for any couple dealing with intimacy issues after an affair to realize, and never say, “he has an issue” (of the husband), or “she has an issue” (of the wife). When it comes to intimacy, say “we have an issue.” Because intimacy in marriage is a “we” thing.

It’s important to understand some of the purposes of sex and intimacy. They include:

– To Heal
– To Comfort
– To Reconcile after an argument
– To Build self-esteem (and a sense of masculinity in the husband)
– To Express love in a profound way, when words simply are not enough
– To Connect on a deeper level
– To Relax
– To Please one’s partner
– To Feel sexual or attractive

4. Restoring sexual intimacy after infidelity should happen as soon as possible (without either partner feeling forced or violated).

Many professionals believe it’s important for couples not to reunite sexually after an affair too soon. I disagree. I could not think of a time in a couple’s life when the above list is more crucial than after an affair. The goal, then, is to reconnect sexually as soon as the couple can do so without either party feeling forced or violated.

5. Restoring sexual intimacy after infidelity should not be considered a sign of reconciliation

It’s also important to realize that restoring sexual intimacy after infidelity should not be considered a sign of reconciliation. A lot needs to happen in order for husbands and wives to recommit to a marriage after an affair. True healing takes time, but it’s hard to heal if sexual intimacy is to be put on hold for months. If sexual intimacy = reconciliation, most betrayed spouses will not be able to engage. It’s best to let it be understood that having sex together doesn’t mean, we’re all good now.

6. Learn how to discuss sex openly and honestly with your partner

A couple needs to learn how to discuss intimacy openly and honestly in a non-judgmental way. This is one of the topics we help couples with in the Healing From Affairs Intensives. Intimacy issues should not be discussed during intimacy however. And if you have an intimacy experience that does not go well, just hold each other and take the pressure off. Never discuss what went wrong in the moment. Have that discussion some other time. In other words you separate difficult conversations about sex from times when you’re engaging in sex.

7. Focus on Lovemaking Sex while restoring sexual intimacy after infidelity

There are two different sexual styles; lovemaking sex, and wild adventurous erotica. Both are perfectly fine in a healthy marriage, however, during the affair-recovery period, it is recommended to focus on lovemaking sex, while the bond of love and trust are in the process of being restored.

8. Healing the betrayed’s broken heart will lead to restoring sexual intimacy after infidelity

Restoring sexual intimacy after infidelity requires patience, gentleness and understanding. David Schnaarch in his book, Passionate Marriage, says that generally sex therapy cannot be done, without doing marriage therapy at the same time. And marriage therapy cannot be done without doing sex therapy. Marital issues and sexual issues tend to mirror each other in a relationship. What is happening in your marriage will tend to show up in the way you are (or aren’t) engaging in intimacy, and what is going on in your intimate life with each other, will tend to be acted out in how you’re doing your marriage.

9. Be willing to do with your spouse things you did in your affair, if the betrayed spouse desires to try it

In restoring a marriage after an affair, it’s important for the one who had the affair to be sensitive to the needs of the injured partner in restoring reassurance of their sexual attractiveness. When people engage in certain acts of intimacy in their affairs, it is most conducive to healing for the unfaithful partner to be willing to do those same things in the marriage, if their injured spouse desires it.

For example, a typical scenario might include something like during the affair the unfaithful person had sex in a car. Now the injured spouse wants to have sex in the car too (which the couple may never have done – or not since they were teenagers). Often times the “affair-high” leads one to do things they might not normally find desirable (like having sex in a small car). Let’s face it. A bed is much more comfortable, than having to fight to avoid the steering wheel, gear shift, and wondering who might see you. But if the betrayed spouse now wants to experience this, if you love them, if you really care about healing your marriage, just do it. Otherwise things like this easily become sticking points that hinder restoring sexual intimacy after infidelity.

Remember, to love someone is an action. It’s not only about you.

So in the case above where the one who had the affair engaged in kissing with the affair partner, but does not want to engage in kissing in the marriage, definitely this is a problem that needs to be explored. It’s not okay. What is the reason behind this? Is it guilt? Shame? Ongoing promises or attachment to the 3rd party? Hygiene issues? Something about the way the kissing is done? Open, honest discussion needs to take place.

One thing is for sure a marriage void of sexuality and intimacy is a marriage doomed to fail. So if you’re having intimacy struggles, find the help you need to get beyond it.

Sincerely,

Anne Bercht

©Copyright 2019 Anne and Brian Bercht. All rights reserved.

How to rebuild your self-esteem after an affair?

Do you want to know how to rebuild self-esteem after an affair? Listen now to this candid podcast by Anne Bercht.

How to rebuild self-esteem after an affair? – January 30, 2019

We have a tendency to base our self-esteem on the value we perceive that others place on us. But this is a false foundation for self-esteem. When my husband had an affair, I felt like I had once been a coveted, priceless, one-of-a-kind designer dress that was esteemed above all others and now I was an old well-worn garment in a garbage bag, being dropped off as used goods at the salvation army thrift store to be sold for pennies (if someone would still have me). My husband’s affair left me feeling worthless.

Worthless, that is, until I got a grip on myself and realized, my value as a woman did not diminish when my husband chose to have an affair. (And a husband’s value as a man does not diminish when his wife decides to have an affair.)

Self-esteem is largely formed in childhood.

If you’ve had a more difficult childhood, you are more likely to struggle with low self-esteem than someone with a good childhood. And that can make affair-recovery more difficult for you, than for someone who comes into affair-recovery with high self-esteem. But even so, when betrayed, even the smartest, most beautiful, lovely people often find themselves feeling worthless.

I came into my marriage with very low self-esteem because of abandonment and neglect I had experienced at times as a child. I struggled with self-talk that said, “I am not enough,” and “I will never be enough.” I asked my husband often, “do you love me?” Little did I know, all this asking was tearing down his self-esteem, because he began to think, “I must be a failure as a man. Why doesn’t my wife know I love her?” It’s a vicious cycle when your self-esteem is based on false foundations.

When I think of it today, I realize how ridiculous it was. I was and am a valuable person, and so are you!

Unfaithful Spouse’s Suffer with Low Self-Esteem Too!

When affairs happen it’s not only the betrayed spouse whose self-esteem ends up in the toilet, but also the unfaithful spouse. After all they are the ones who not only failed their spouse, children and others, but they have failed themselves. They failed their own moral code. And now every day they look into the eyes of the person they love more than anyone else and can see the pain that they are responsible for. Frankly, I would not want to trade places.

Forgiveness and Acceptance after an affair

In this podcast, Anne Bercht shares the pathway to forgiveness and acceptance after an affair or any kind of betrayal or infidelity.

Forgiveness and Acceptance after an Affair – January 29, 2019

Forgiveness is the very last step in affair recovery, not the first. A healing process needs to be honoured. It can take two years or longer to get to this place. We have seen some couples heal in as little as one year. The common denominator with these couples is that they are the ones that found and attended one of our programs early in the healing process.

Acceptance is for some a preferred word over forgiveness. Everyone attaches different meanings to words themselves. The bottom line is this horrible, unwanted event has taken place, and no one can turn back the hands of time and make it unhappen, so we enter into a grieving process. We grieve the death of our marriage as we have known it. We go through stages of anger, sadness, denial, bargaining, and hopefully, when the healing process has been honored enough, we come to a place of acceptance – that is not to say it is okay that it happened. It’s not okay, but accepting that this is now part of our life story, that can’t be changed, but we can find happiness on the other side. Infidelity does not need to rob us of all joy in the future, unless we let it.

Forgiveness and acceptance after an affair does not necessarily mean we reconcile with our spouse.

It’s not the affair itself that does the greatest amount of damage to a marriage, but rather the mistakes the that husbands and wives make after disclosure.

One of the biggest mistakes the unfaithful spouse usually makes is minimizing, in other words continuing to lie, while claiming to tell the truth. Inevitably the full truth is discovered, and then it is almost impossible to restore trust, because the betrayed says, “how can I ever trust you again, when you lied to me, while claiming to tell the truth?

Want to know more about forgiveness and acceptance after an affair?

Click on the link above and start listening now!

Getting Past the Anger

Learn the secrets of getting unstuck, and getting past the anger after infidelity. Learn what doesn’t work, and what does work. Anne interviews Ronda who shares her story of intense anger, and how she moved past it.

“The angry beast doesn’t live inside of me any longer (or right now), thank you so much for helping me beyond the pain.” – Ronda

January 28, 2019 – Getting past the anger after infidelity

Recommended Reading for Getting Past Anger After Infidelity

 

 NOT “Just Friends” : Rebuilding Trust and Recovering Your Sanity After Infidelity
This is definitely one of the best books ever written on the topic. After years of research and personal work helping others recover, Shirley Glass remains one of the most highly esteemed experts on affairs.