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A Message from Michele
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Michele's Advice on Healing from Infidelity #2238651
04/17/12 07:15 PM
04/17/12 07:15 PM
Joined: Aug 1999
Posts: 823
Divorce Busting Center USA
Virginia Offline OP
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Virginia  Offline OP
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Joined: Aug 1999
Posts: 823
Divorce Busting Center USA
Healing from Infidelity
by Michele Weiner-Davis

Life certainly has its challenges, but little compares to the monumental task of healing from infidelity. As a marriage therapist for two decades, I've heard countless clients confess that the discovery of an affair was the lowest, darkest moment of their entire lives. And because affairs shatter trust, many seriously contemplate ending their marriages in divorce after infidelity occurs.

However, it's important to know that, no matter how bleak things might seem, it's possible to revitalize a marriage wounded by infidelity. It's not easy- there are no quick-fix, one-size-fits-all solutions to save a marriage from divorce- but years of experience has taught me that there are definite patterns to what people in loving relationships do to bring their marriages back from the brink of disaster.

Let the healing begin...

Healing from infidelity involves teamwork; both spouses must be fully committed to the hard work of getting their marriages back on track. The unfaithful partner must be willing to end the affair and do whatever it takes to win back the trust of his or her spouse. The betrayed spouse must be willing to find ways to manage overwhelming emotions so, as a couple, they can begin to sort out how the affair happened, and more importantly, what needs to change so that it never happens again. Although no two people, marriages or paths to recovery are identical, it's helpful to know that surviving infidelity typically happens in stages.

If you recently discovered that your spouse has been unfaithful, you will undoubtedly feel a whole range of emotions- shock, rage, hurt, devastation, disillusionment, and intense sadness. You may have difficulty sleeping or eating, or feel completely obsessed with the affair. If you are an emotional person, you may cry a lot. You may want to be alone, or conversely, feel at your worst when you are. While unpleasant, these reactions are perfectly normal.

Although you might be telling yourself that your marriage will never improve, it will, but not immediately. Healing from infidelity takes a long time. Just when you think things are looking up, something reminds you of the affair and you go downhill rapidly. It's easy to feel discouraged unless you both keep in mind that intense ups and downs are the norm. Eventually, the setbacks will be fewer and far between.

Although some people are more curious than others, it's very common to have lots of questions about the marital affair, especially initially. If you have little interest in the facts, so be it. However, if you need to know what happened, ask. Although the details may be uncomfortable to hear, just knowing your spouse is willing to "come clean" helps people recover. As the unfaithful spouse, you might feel tremendous remorse and guilt, and prefer avoiding the details entirely, but experience shows that this is a formula for disaster. Sweeping negative feelings and lingering questions under the carpet makes genuine healing unlikely.

Once there is closure on what actually happened, there is typically a need to know why it happened. Betrayed spouses often believe that unless they get to the bottom of things, it could happen again. Unfortunately, since the reasons people stray can be quite complex, the "whys" aren't always crystal clear.

No one "forces" anyone to be unfaithful. Infidelity is a decision, even if doesn't feel that way. If you were unfaithful, it's important to examine why you allowed yourself to do something that could threaten your marriage. Were you satisfying a need to feel attractive? Are you having a mid-life crisis? Did you grow up in a family where infidelity was a way of life? Do you have a sexual addiction?

It's equally important to explore whether your marriage is significantly lacking. Although no marriage is perfect, sometimes people feel so unhappy, they look to others for a stronger emotional or physical connection. They complain of feeling taken for granted, unloved, resentful, or ignored. Sometimes there is a lack of intimacy or sexuality in the marriage.

If unhappiness with your spouse contributed to your decision to have an affair, you need to address your feelings openly and honestly so that together you can make some changes. If open communication is a problem, consider seeking help from a qualified marital therapist or taking a communication skill-building class. There are many available through religious organizations, community colleges and mental health settings.

Another necessary ingredient for rebuilding a marriage involves the willingness of unfaithful spouses to demonstrate sincere regret and remorse. You can't apologize often enough. You need to tell your spouse that you will never commit adultery again. Although, since you are working diligently to repair your relationship, you might think your intentions to be monogamous are obvious, they aren't. Tell your spouse of your plans to take your commitment to your marriage to heart. This will be particularly important during the early stages of recovery when mistrust is rampant.

Conversely, talking about the affair can't be the only thing you do. Couples who successfully rebuild their marriages recognize the importance of both talking about their difficulties and spending time together without discussing painful topics. They intentionally create opportunities to reconnect and nurture their friendship. They take walks, go out to eat or to a movie, develop new mutual interests and so on. Betrayed spouses will be more interested in spending discussion-free time after the initial shock of the affair has dissipated.

Ultimately, the key to healing from infidelity involves forgiveness, which is frequently the last step in the healing process. The unfaithful spouse can do everything right- be forthcoming, express remorse, listen lovingly and act trustworthy, and still, the marriage won't mend unless the betrayed person forgives his or her spouse and the unfaithful spouse forgives him or herself. Forgiveness opens the door to real intimacy and connection.

But forgiveness doesn't just happen. It is a conscious decision to stop blaming, make peace, and start tomorrow with a clean slate. If the past has had you in its clutches, why not take the next step to having more love in your life? Decide to forgive today.


Virginia Peeples
Assistant to Michele Weiner-Davis
The Divorce Busting Center

Transform your marriage with a private session with Michele Weiner-Davis.
Email virginia@divorcebusting.com or 303-444-7004.
Re: Michele's Advice on Healing from Infidelity [Re: Virginia] #2238652
04/17/12 07:16 PM
04/17/12 07:16 PM
Joined: Aug 1999
Posts: 823
Divorce Busting Center USA
Virginia Offline OP
Member
Virginia  Offline OP
Member
Joined: Aug 1999
Posts: 823
Divorce Busting Center USA
A message from Michele Weiner-Davis

Hi Divorce Busters,

It has come to my attention that some people on this message board are strongly suggesting advice that runs counter to my Divorce Busting philosophy and practice- the notion of exposing a spouse's affair to family members. While this plan may be helpful to one couple, it would completely backfire in other marriages. I have worked with many couples where the betrayed spouse revealed all the information to friends and family with extremely detrimental outcomes. First, when the unfaithful spouse discovered this had happened, he or she decided to file for divorce and it became a final decision. Secondly, there are those situations where the couple began to heal from the infidelity and get their marriage back on track, but the family members undermined the couples' efforts and even "disowned" the betrayed spouse. This made life-long commitments after infidelity a very challenging outcome because few people like giving up their family and friends. So, while I do believe that betrayed spouses need support from loved ones when dealing with such a distressing situation, it is ESSENTIAL that the information about the affair be shared CAREFULLY and with full recognition about the possible risks. I always recommend that, if information is shared, the person with whom it is shared is marriage-friendly, even in the face of infidelity. Nonetheless, it's still important to recognize potential risks.

Additionally, several people have contacted my office feeling that they had been personally attacked for not following this sort of advice. This community was started many years ago and we rarely get such complaints. Confronting others by calling names or pressuring them will not be tolerated. These tactics are not reflective of the Divorce Busting spirit.

Have a great day,

Michele

Re: Michele's Advice on Healing from Infidelity [Re: tpc1977] #2278394
09/06/12 07:03 PM
09/06/12 07:03 PM
Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 2,257
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Originally Posted By: tpc1977
My wife is with the OM and the relationship is pretty serious. I've stepped back to get my life in order, living with a good friend and going out, enjoying life as best as I can. I try to cut off as much contact as possible with my wife. She contacts me and I try to be real cheerful and positive.

Now I have messed up on occasion. We kissed. Ooops.

But I don't fret about their relationship. I don't even address it much. I tell my kids to never complain about it either - or about the OM. I do tell them to love their mother unconditionally. Warm her heart and show her nothing but goodness.

I told them if it isn't upsetting me don't let it upset you. Just go with it and see what happens. And even though I'm not much of a believer in God, I told them to pray. Prayer seems to help strengthen them. Pray and believe, I say.

Let this relationship run its course. If it's meant to be then it'll last. If not then so be it. Either way I'm getting my life in order to be a better me. I've contacted a lawyer and we've talked about what to do to get a legal separation. I've given her a time-frame to get her things in order financially because of it too. It kind of woke her up. Stuff got real.

She tells me that she misses me. She says that the house misses me - meaning things just aren't right there without me. I listen and understand, but hardly ever tell her what I'm thinking. It doesn't matter what I think. Well, not at the moment.


As long as you hold her up, she has no reason to ever quit the affair. If this one fails, she may just find another.

Re: Michele's Advice on Healing from Infidelity [Re: DaddyLongShanks] #2297204
11/07/12 02:15 PM
11/07/12 02:15 PM
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 15
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lavica Offline
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lavica  Offline
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Posts: 15
I've been married for 13 yrs, we are toghether since highschool. I was proud on our relationship.
Few months ago he had one night stand . He was driving home from work ,he had a drink with collegues and they were making jokes about sex, and a woman who he knows from work (they had very little contacts with one another) called him on the phone and said that she is driving behind him and asked him something about previous jokes(like guys are not intrested for actions..) and told him to stop his car to show him something .He said that he didnt plan anything,he didnt thought that she planed something but she did.She jumped into his car with a condome in her hand and began to undress him.They had sex for 3 minutes.He was in shock after that he felt sick,he puked,he cried,he cant sleep... etc...I found out the next day ,she texted him I saw it. I was mad,I cant understand why he did it,how he could do this to us .Now he hates himself , he doesnt want to think about it because it makes him sick, he said it was an awful experience although his penis didn think that way frown
He is depressed he doesnt know why he did it, why he hasnt stopped her ,he wants to find an answer beacuse of me,us so that we could move on,but he doesnt want to lie me, He told me everything,showed me a place where it happend(i wanted to know), he deleted all contacts,he didnt want to go on his work .....Sometimes He looks to me Like he was raped :-p . I dont know how he doesn know why he did it,why he didnt stop her game,it looks like he has lost/blocked his memory.He always condemned those who had affairs.
I dont know what to think....
We have good days and bad days when I want to kill him because he hurt me.
We are trying to save our relationship but i cant understand why..???? Is it posiible that he doesnt know why ???

Re: Michele's Advice on Healing from Infidelity [Re: too trusting] #2318067
01/27/13 05:55 AM
01/27/13 05:55 AM
Joined: Jan 2013
Posts: 1,364
Qld, Australia
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hotwheelsaust Offline
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I have my own thread about my sitch, but what about the W who is most likely having an emotional affair with another woman? The other woman is probably a lesbian (previous rumours from the workforce about another relationship that went sour), and is possibly grooming my W towards a physical affair. IE, taking advantage of my W emotional state and depression according to the marriage counselor I managed to get her to once only, leading up to the separation
Please note I am not against lesbians or any other group of people.


ME:51 W:46
M:25
S:22, S:20
Divorced 16/9/15
BD 10/12
W left 12/12 with OW, affair confirmed Nov/12.
Dark since 6/13
I"m in a new relationship since Feb 14.
Re: Michele's Advice on Healing from Infidelity [Re: hotwheelsaust] #2318509
01/29/13 10:21 AM
01/29/13 10:21 AM
Joined: Jan 2013
Posts: 1,364
Qld, Australia
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hotwheelsaust Offline
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To add to my above comment: the wife also moved out of our house and has moved in with this woman.


ME:51 W:46
M:25
S:22, S:20
Divorced 16/9/15
BD 10/12
W left 12/12 with OW, affair confirmed Nov/12.
Dark since 6/13
I"m in a new relationship since Feb 14.
Re: Michele's Advice on Healing from Infidelity [Re: Virginia] #2336923
04/08/13 02:00 PM
04/08/13 02:00 PM
Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 59
Guernsey
Rockwallaby Offline
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Happy Birthday Rockwallaby  Offline
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What if you have already exposed it to friends and family, and the WAW refuses to cease contact with the OM?


Me 44
WAS 41
T 11
S 8
D 5
DB November 2012
EA and PA discovered December 2012
WAS moved out 4 May 2013
Share residence of S and D 50/50
WAS moves in with OM 1 September 2013.

Re: Michele's Advice on Healing from Infidelity [Re: hotwheelsaust] #2361434
06/25/13 04:13 PM
06/25/13 04:13 PM
Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 2
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Al 11 Offline
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I found out my W was having an affair with a co-worker, it's been going on since February. OM is 17yrs younger than she is. When I confronted her about it she told me that she doesn't want to work on our marriage and still wants to see him. She has left and is currently living with him in South Central LA. We have twins daughters that are 15. She has always told the girls to honest and never keep anything form us. The girls don't understand what's going on, they have always seen us being affectionate with each other and we never had big knock down fights. they know she's not being honest. I started with a coach and I do love my wife. I know that I've been lacking in the relationship, because of my work schedule. I don't know if she's having a MLC, but I just can't get her off my mind. I'll have to see what happens but I don't know how long I can wait. This is killing me.

Re: Michele's Advice on Healing from Infidelity [Re: Virginia] #2393161
10/11/13 04:29 PM
10/11/13 04:29 PM
Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 1
Virginia
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Virginia
Originally Posted By: Virginia
A message from Michele Weiner-Davis

It has come to my attention that some people on this message board are strongly suggesting advice that runs counter to my Divorce Busting philosophy and practice- the notion of exposing a spouse's affair to family members. While this plan may be helpful to one couple, it would completely backfire in other marriages. I have worked with many couples where the betrayed spouse revealed all the information to friends and family with extremely detrimental outcomes. First, when the unfaithful spouse discovered this had happened, he or she decided to file for divorce and it became a final decision. Secondly, there are those situations where the couple began to heal from the infidelity and get their marriage back on track, but the family members undermined the couples' efforts and even "disowned" the betrayed spouse. This made life-long commitments after infidelity a very challenging outcome because few people like giving up their family and friends. So, while I do believe that betrayed spouses need support from loved ones when dealing with such a distressing situation, it is ESSENTIAL that the information about the affair be shared CAREFULLY and with full recognition about the possible risks. I always recommend that, if information is shared, the person with whom it is shared is marriage-friendly, even in the face of infidelity. Nonetheless, it's still important to recognize potential risks.

Additionally, several people have contacted my office feeling that they had been personally attacked for not following this sort of advice. This community was started many years ago and we rarely get such complaints. Confronting others by calling names or pressuring them will not be tolerated. These tactics are not reflective of the Divorce Busting spirit.

Have a great day,

Michele


Dear Ms. Weiner-Davis (and/or forum moderator),

I have a question regarding one of your points above, and as I'm a newcomer, I'm not sure to whom the question should be directed, or whether it's appropriate for posting as a "response" on this thread -- if you'd prefer to address via message to me, I'm fine with that.

The question concerns the DivorceBuster approach to exposure.

In reading around briefly, I have seen it characterized (perhaps mischaracterized?) as though you would recommend against exposure as a blanket principle. I am acquainted with other views on exposure, which are sometimes mischaracterized as being in favor of exposure to all parties & in all circumstances.

Based on my own (admittedly single-anecdotal) experience, I come down somewhere on a continuum between those two extremes, and I also think that these situations need to be considered on a discriminating, case-by-case basis. I think that there are certain instances in which, given a likelihood that exposure will disrupt & make untenable an ongoing affair, selective exposure to people (whether reliable friends, family members or sometimes even work associates) who, in the judgment of a betrayed spouse, are likely to be supportive of a reconciliation of the marriage, can be enormously beneficial. I can also accept that there are circumstances where exposure to certain others (whether friends, family members, work colleauges) could also increase, rather than alleviate, the strain to which a couple already committed to recovery is already subject, in a way that'd be detrimental to saving & reviving the marriage.

Can you post or send me a link to materials that might provide more elaboration on the DB view on exposure?

BTW, in my own instance (which I assume was pretty atypical), my wife & I did a selective exposure of my affair after it was discovered, mainly to a handful of close friends with whom we'd long been friends as a couple and whom we considered likely to support our marriage. Part of it was protection for my wife, and part of it was to establish accountability for me. My wife also exposed the affair to a couple of good friends of hers without my prior knowledge, and while I admittedly wasn't pleased about this at the time, in retrospect I appreciate why she did it & believe that it was beneficial not only for her but for us.

This is no longer a "current" topic in our marriage, which has been on a very good path for the past 4 years & 9 months, but as I sometimes am, and in the future may be, in position to render thoughts on the topic to people referred to me by others who're aware of my experience, as well as to comment online, I am interested in learning more about the milieu of various professional advice that is available in different places.


Me:46
W:47
Affair Oct'08-Jan'09
Grateful for a restored marriage.
M 21 yrs & counting.
"I wear the chain I forged in life...I made it link by link, and yard by yard" ~A Christmas Carol
Re: Michele's Advice on Healing from Infidelity [Re: hotwheelsaust] #2408157
11/24/13 10:59 PM
11/24/13 10:59 PM
Joined: Jan 2013
Posts: 1,364
Qld, Australia
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hotwheelsaust Offline
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Qld, Australia
Wow, I didn't realise how long ago I wrote this. An update: found out last week that the W is in a relationship with this OW, she confirmed it to her Mum. I don't know which other family members are aware or not, no one talks to me.


ME:51 W:46
M:25
S:22, S:20
Divorced 16/9/15
BD 10/12
W left 12/12 with OW, affair confirmed Nov/12.
Dark since 6/13
I"m in a new relationship since Feb 14.
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Moderated by  Virginia 

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