Infidelity Quickie #4: From Infidelity Depression to a Future Tinged with Hope
By Dr. Robert Huizenga
Learn from this real life infidelity depression coaching scenario from a client.
In the first section the person struggling with the infidelity depression summarizes the scenario or concern and what he/she would like to say to his/her cheating spouse.
I then outline some goals that help him/her break free from the affair.
The last and important section gets at shifting the focus away from the spouse/partner to him/her self. In other words, what does all this mean for the person on the receiving end of an extramarital affair? After that mental shift (which is NOT easy for someone in the pain and turmoil of perhaps losing one’s spouse, family, and home) I, the coach, offer phrases that he/she can relay to his/her spouse in a way that speaks directly of his/her concern and has the best chance of being heard and getting positive results.
Section 1: The “offended spouse” says:
I used to focus on what mood is he in, is he going to talk to me today, is he going to look/act like he’d rather be anywhere else with anyone else other than me. This habit/pattern is hard to break, but I’m working on it. I was so hurt and rejected that sometimes in my infidelity depression that I didn’t leave the house for days. All this in an attempt to figure out how to be okay with my life and how lonely I was. This was his excuse for his affair (“if you thought it was bad being that way, you have no idea how hard it is to live with a person like that” – thoughtful words from him after I learned of his infidelity).
I’ve been figuring out “what makes me happy” as friends refer to it, but that seems selfish and that’s just not me. I’m learning how much living like that with my infidelity depression has affected the simplist of things – mood, attitude, communication and my relationship with our 13 yr old daughter.
I wrestled with deciding whether or not to stay in my marriage after his infidelity and even though we’re still living together, I was non-committal and that hasn’t helped things much. But lately, I’ve been getting more clarification. I still don’t have all the answers as for our marriage, but I do know that I’m doing what I’m called to do right now.
He has been making changes although I’ve been frustrated that they’re not the ones I think he should be doing. I realized that he’s trying and doing the best he can and I’ve not acknowledged the changes that he has made and that tears down the very thing that I said that I wanted. Regardless of where this leads, I’m ready to move forward with my life and get a hold of my infidelity depression. He has an opportunity to rise higher in his life and our relationship and if he’s unable, I can accept that, but I know with all my heart that I need more than that and I love him enough to let him go. Otherwise, it’ll continue to tear us down as individuals and as a couple. That to me would be unforgivable – to intentionally choose that.
I’ve finally forgiven him and I’m excited to be able to share that with him when I see him (he’s working 4 hrs away for a couple of weeks). I believe it’s a gift that both of us need and it’s necessary for healing after infidelity regardless of whether we stay together or not. In addition to asking him to forgive me for my infidelity depression and where I fell short in our relationship, I’ve finally forgiven myself.
The reality is that he made some wrong decision(s), but as painful as all of this has been (this was his second affair), I’m grateful for the opportunities that it’s opened in my heart. There’s great power in “pressing on” and getting through infidelity depression. I’ll even go as far as to say that I’m starting to determine my call and purpose in life. I don’t have the specifics yet, but I know that my past experiences were not given to me just to keep them inside and hide them away (survival of growing up in physical, emotional and verbal abuse, death of my child at age 7, two abusive ex husbands, battling infidelity depression, etc). I believe they can help others too. I’ve always believed that, I just lost sight of it. I’m excited to see how all of this unfolds. Well, I know you didn’t ask for a book, but I’ve never been one short on words.
Section 2: Personal goals suggested by the coach:
- Welcome your sensitivity. Learn ways to use it, especially with others.
- Examine, reflect, write down the “themes?? of your life that you are internally addressing when “depressed.??
- Congratulate your self on your tremendous growth and progress in your infidelity depression.
- Be very specific on the changes you want from him.
- List 5 factors that “hold you back?? from him.
- List 6 of your greatest personal needs. (Check out the needless program on my site)
- Continue working hard on defining your life’s purpose.
Section 3: What the affair means for the “offended spouse” and what he/she REALLY wants to say to his spouse/partner having the affair:
- I’m working hard on me, and boy, does that feel good. Also very exciting. But, I’m not sure, sometimes, where that leaves me with you.
- I want for us to have a richer relationship but it seems there has been so much pain and hurt, on both of our parts, that I wonder, what that means for our future.
- I have some very specific needs that I would like you to meet. But, I know this can be very tricky and rather scary. For example, I would like ____________. If you can do that, great. If not, help me understand what gets in the way. Maybe just give it some thought first, and we can get at it later.
What is your situation? Describe your situation. Let it flow. Don’t hold back. Then, ask yourself, “What does this marital mean for ME?” What impact does his/her extramarital affair have on my feelings, thoughts and actions? Then rehearse approaching your spouse/partner with phrases that convey the meaning and impact of the infidelity for YOU.