Healing from an Affair?
No matter how impossible things may seem right now, I want to encourage you not to give up on your marriage too soon. Divorce may seem like the simplest route. It may to you, based on things that have been said and done, be the “only” route. But a theme that runs throughout our book is “It ain’t over, until it’s over.”
If you have at all loved your spouse, at anytime during your marriage (or courtship), reading the rest of this post may be pivotal for your future happiness (and the happiness of your children if you have them).
1. DO NOT MAKE A MAJOR LIFE-ALTERING DECISION WHILE YOU ARE IN THE EMOTION OF THE MOMENT. Strong emotions impair judgment in the same way that alcohol impairs judgment. You may as well be making this decision while intoxicated. If the decision you are about to make is the right decision, it will still be the right decision three months from now.
2. YOU DON’T WANT TO FIND YOURSELF AT SOME PLACE IN THE FUTURE TORMENTED WITH “WHAT-IF’S?” (REGRETS & UNCERTAINTY) Divorce is not easy. One man who went through divorce explained that he felt as though he were dead, except he could never really die. To be clear, not every marriage can be saved after an affair, yet far too many husbands and wives give up too quick, only to find themselves in the painful place of regret in the not too distant future.
There is nothing good in an affair. That said, couples, who heal their marriage properly and fully, have the opportunity to take their lives, their love, their marriage and the quality of their life to a level of joy and purpose, passion and fulfillment that those who haven’t don’t.
Healing from an affair, and I mean doing it right, is going to cause both you and your spouse to dig down into the deeper parts of your character and to grow into a better man, and a better woman, one who is mature and whole. One who stops wearing a mask (attempting to hide, to “perform," to people-please), because deep down we are afraid the real “me” won’t be loved.
The truest fairytale is “Shrek,” because he is an ogre. Truth be told, she looks pretty good on the outside, but she is an ogre too. (She just does a better job of hiding her ogre-ness.) Then one day, they can both no longer maintain the masks (the lies), so they risk it all and take off their masks and let the real him and the real her show (transparency). He has faults, and she has faults, but in the midst of all their imperfection, their love for each other is real, and how freeing is that, to be loved for who you are and to not have to pretend, work, strive and perform, to be loved fully.
I’m not talking about an excuse to be “lazy” in love and marriage. In fact “lazy” is often (not always) a significant part of how we got in this affair mess in the first place. If husbands and wives put the same effort into their marriages as they put into their affairs, they could have the same “feelings” in their marriages. Our “feelings” actually follow our actions (our energy and our effort).
HOW DO YOU HEAL PROPERLY? WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN? HOW DO YOU GIVE YOUR MARRIAGE A REAL CHANCE?
Your marriage needs triage. We know things have likely been done and said that seem like deal-breakers. In most cases, the unfaithful partner continues to withhold truth. You cannot even begin the healing process until the truth is out on the table, and the relationship with the affair partner is fully ended. Ongoing “friendship” with the affair partner nurtures the “feelings” of the affair and hinders healing of the marriage from even beginning.
On the other side, the betrayed partner often says and does things in their hurt and pain, that can seem unforgiveable, to the spouse that had the affair – they seem like deal-breakers. It’s seems insurmountable!
We can show you how to move beyond this and begin the true healing process.
A SPECIAL NOTE FOR HUSBANDS!
There is something inside a woman that just needs to know that her man is strong enough to fight for her. Every wife needs her husband to be her hero. Heroes are not weaklings who run away, when the going gets tough. A woman needs to know that her husband loves her enough to fight for her, to give her a chance, even when she is being seemingly impossible.
If you are a husband who had an affair, you may think some of her reactions are deal-breakers. I’m not excusing her bad behavior (anymore than I will excuse yours). You want forgiveness. Are you willing to give what you yourself are wanting? Are you man enough to fight for your wife? Are you man enough to fight for your children? Or will you just be weak and walk away? Your wife wants to know, how much you love her. (And she is not consciously challenging you. She likely has no idea what she wants. She may even think she wants a divorce.)
If you are a betrayed husband, your wife still wants you to fight for her and your marriage. But she wants you to fight with your love. You’ve got to get a grip on your anger. A man’s anger stirs up visceral fear in a woman. Even if your wife has been unfaithful to you, she is still a woman, and she needs you to be gentle, nurturing, loving and safe with her. You have got to find a healthy outlet for your anger. And she needs you to give her room to choose the marriage. Stop smothering her. You cannot control someone into love.
Remember there are no guarantees.
For both of you, the things that will change your life and give you happiness for your future are not going to be the things that “tickle” your ears and make you feel good. What you have been doing isn’t working. The solution is going to involve CHANGING what you are doing.
Why do I get this? Because we were there once. Fourteen years ago, I nearly threw in towel on our marriage, because of the arguments, the hurt, the misunderstandings, the hurtful things spoken – all those things said and done, which were completely unacceptable, and below the belt.
As I describe in our book, when someone said there was hope for our marriage, I felt like they’d just handed me a lottery ticket and told me they were sure it was a winner. Part of me wanted to believe them, but most of me felt like “yeah, right – win, heal our marriage! – In your dreams maybe!”
OUR MARRIAGE TODAY - January 4, 2017
This past October we celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary, and I still very much in love with my husband. We have so much fun together. I love how safe I feel with Brian. We laugh together often. Most importantly I can be myself with Brian. I don’t have to pretend to be something to win his love. I don’t have to “perform." I KNOW he loves the real “Anne,” with all of my strengths and all of weaknesses too.
We have reversed the negative cycle of pain and hurt, and turned it into a positive cycle of acts of love and kindness. How fun is that? We intentionally keep our marriage fun and exciting, by continuing to grow as people. We encourage each other in our uniqueness. I call this allowing our individual lights to shine.
But we also nurture our “we-ness”. We continue to enjoy new experiences together. At the same time, we also allow that part of life where we can just be comfortable, safe, and relaxed together.
Brian is my hero. As far as I’m concerned, he is the most amazing man on the planet. He is the perfect combination of gentle and strong. I call him my man of “steel and of velvet.” I think I admire him most because of his willingness to face his own demons (instead of focusing on mine), and because he chose to grow and become a better man through all of this.
I love how we get to enjoy the relationships with our grown-up children together, and we get to grandparent together. We enjoy the financial benefits that come with not dividing our assets.
I trust Brian 100% today … based on who he became on the journey. Much of my trust also comes from the fact that I now understand how difficult the healing journey was for him too. At the time, I was too consumed with my own pain, (and how wrong Brian’s affair was), that I couldn’t even see that he was hurting too.
Now I understand, that he fought for our marriage, while he was hurting, (while I was hurting him, and often being completely unreasonable). He fought for our marriage all those months, without ever knowing whether I ever would get it, whether I would ever listen to him, and not believing I would ever change the things I needed to change. Today, I KNOW he loves me exactly because he was man enough to fight for me during the dark night of our souls.
THE GOOD NEWS FOR YOU
It does not need to be nearly as hard for you, nor take as long, because today we can give you the tools and the road map, that was not available 14 years ago.
HOW DO YOU GET THESE TOOLS?
You come to a Healing From Affairs Intensive Weekend. That’s the bottom line. There is nothing else like it. You cannot get this kind of healing online or in a book. It takes an in-person experience, where you can get all the tools at once.
WHAT DIFFERENCE CAN HEALING FROM AN AFFAIR MAKE?
A few years back, we had a couple who wanted to attend this program who had not attended Healing From Affairs® yet. They were 4 years out from disclosure of the affair and fully healed from the affair … they said (and thought). So we let them come. Meanwhile we had another couple attend the same Step 2: Love & Passion weekend, who were only 3 months out from disclosure of the affair, however, they had already been to Healing From Affairs®.
Within a short time of beginning this seminar, it became clearly evident to everyone in the room, that the couple who were 4 years out from the affair (and thought they were fully healed), were not even as healed as the couple who were only 3 months out, but had been to Healing From Affairs®.
WHAT IF DIVORCE IS THE RIGHT OPTION FOR YOU?
Healing From Affairs® will still be a tremendous benefit for you. Healing From Affairs® is not only for couples who heal their marriages, but also for those who divorce, because even when you divorce, you still need to heal. And most couples have children together and will continue to co-parent for years to come. (Even when your kids are grown-ups you still co-parent.) You’ll be at weddings, and graduations, and baptisms, and events for grandchildren together. For your own sake and the sake of everyone involved, get the healing you need, and live your best life on the other side of this mess.