Surviving Infidelity: Meeting his/her Needs Doesn’t Always Work
What is THE Question? Part III
What is THE question, just beneath the surface, I run into most often with someone coping with infidelity and an extramarital affair?
I’ve observed thousands of people suffering from infidelity and, from my point of view, there is one underlying question that almost all ask. After a time of reflection and work at healing the pain, they “get it” and the question is answered.
In my first two articles on “THE Question” I did not explicitly divulge the question. Remember? In Part II I wanted you to reflect and observe as your inner life formulated and asked the question. I requested that you respond on the blog. (If you need a refresher, go to the blog for Parts I and II.)
I WILL, in this article, at the end, give you some thoughts on what I think is THE Question. But, first here are some of your comments. I thank you immensely for your comments and sincerely hope your reflection was productive and helped you “get it” to a higher level. Here are your comments:
- Who am I going to let own my day?
- Why should the way I feel about myself depend on the actions of others – especially if these actions are wrong? Translation: “I feel bad about myself because he does something wrong” – clearly madness.
- WHAT WILL I CHOOSE TO DO WITH THE POWER I HAVE? (After all it is my power and my choice.) I choose. I choose to dwell in my pain or to grow. I choose to hate or to forgive. I choose to hide or to understand. I choose.
- I think the question is “how long will you let yourself feel this threatened?”
- As a husband who has been badly cheated by his two-timing wife, I had been thinking about Dr. Huizenga’s question for a while. Then I forgot about it and suddenly saw the ANSWER staring me in the face on the T-shirt of a girl walking down the street: I’M THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THE WORLD!
- Does he love me ? Can I truly forgive him and move on? Do I love him after all of this or do I just love the fantasy I created of what I wanted him to be?
- How will I ever recover? I feel so completely helpless….
- The question I have asked myself over and over again sometimes unknowingly is: Am I okay? Do I measure up? Am I lovable?
- The Key Question is: If you are a Christian, then why have you placed so much TRUST in a fallible, mortal man?
- Where do i fit in?
- What part did I play in this? So eventually I have to ask myself what is it my spouse needed that I didn’t supply? What is it about me that my spouse didn’t respect? What is it I need to change? and finally what is it that I really truly can control?
- Who is responsible for making things better? Answer: “I can only keep my side of the street clean, my partner will have to deal with his side, I’m not going to do it (cannot do it) for him”. That takes a big load off of me!
- I think the question is “what do I want in my life?” All the other questions follow from there. How will I deal with this? What will I do? Where will I go from here? Once I know the answer to the first question I can answer the others.
- the question? how long will I let someone else decide for me? what I want? how I feel? what I can and can’t do? It’s all about free agency and the power of choice.
- Maybe the question is…So, what now?
- The answer to the question is that you will know when the time is right to let go and you will just know it when it happens.
I’m writing this Monday afternoon. I just checked USA Today on the net and the headline was about the Virginia Tech shooting. I heard, and maybe it’s just rumor, that the killer was set off by finding his girlfriend in bed with another man. If true, we unfortunately have another testament to the power of the pain of betrayal.
So, what is THE Question?
Experiencing infidelity in a relationship of powerful and long investment shakes us to the core of our being. It strikes at that which is most sacred. It violates our feeling and sense of well-being. It calls into question that which we experienced and that which we came to trust. It violated what we thought were safe boundaries and left us standing emotionally naked before the world – exposed, shaking and fearful.
Infidelity is so powerfully painful because it calls into question everything we valued and thought was right and appropriate. It calls into question our sexual desires, tastes and preferences. It calls into question the shape of our body, the idiosyncrasies which make us unique. It calls into the question the way we say “I love you,” the needs that propel our actions and how we act socially with men and/or women.
Fortunate is the person who maintains a positive belief in self when the cold water of infidelity soaks the soul.
Yes, underneath it all, I find most people desperately ask the question, “Am I OK?” Or, something very close to that.
The implications of responding to this question are profound. Once it is profoundly answered in the affirmative you are set free and you set your spouse free – to each assume responsibility for your own lives and decisions. And once YOU do this – your partner cannot not respond. S/he will notice, the shifts in the relationship will begin and the fun begins.
Maybe this sounds a little theoretical, but that’s ok. I want you to continue thinking about this question. Where in YOUR life do you want to experience more the power of profoundly knowing that you truly are OK?
How “meeting his needs” backfired and Becky’s first attempts to problemize and target the truth – her last gasp
Becky’s life is turned upside down.
She feels the deep pain and the heaviness of the possibility of losing her family, her beautiful house, her financial security and a peaceful life for her daughter.
Her husband admits to the affair that started over the internet and is laced with in-your-face sexuality.
Becky has worked hard to meet his needs, avoid conflict and placate him with the hope she could win him back. Confronting him with the “truth” elicited strong anger and criticism of her.
Becky believed she was facing the “I fell out of love and just love being in love” type of affair.
Coaching shifted the focus to the “I Don’t Want to Say No” type. This was predicated on situational factors and not long term personality patterns. Becky considered problemizing as a strategy while charging neutral.
How in the world will my partner and I restore the trust back into our relationship?
I recommend another resource to help you cope with infidelity. One of my online colleagues, Dr. Frank Gunzburg, offers a wealth of information that compliments Break Free From the Affair.
Dr. Gunzburg has done an amazing job of breaking down all
the steps that both the injured, the cheater and then the
couple need to go through if they want to heal their relationship.
He’s got 3 specific phases that he encourages his readers to go through and you can start the program even if your spouse isn’t willing.
You can read about Frank’s great material by using this link:
Please click for Frank’s great material