How does one deal with the need for affection upon discovery of a cheating husband
Marcie, in her conversation with Dr. Huizenga, the infidelity coach, describes her personal need for affection and how that can be addressed as she attempts to cope with the infidelity in her marriage. She also touches upon coping with the mixed messages and the struggle to find an internal compass.
Handling the Need for Affection and more…
You can hear the overwhelm, confusion and pain in Marcie’s voice.
She found out merely 4 months ago.
Her husband of almost 17 years is out the door, living with someone else.
Marcie bounces from question to concern to question. So many thoughts flood her mind.
• Do I move on and give up on the marriage?
• I think about him and her together and I can’t seem to shake it.
• I’m racking my brain trying to understand why he did this.
• I think of all the good memories of the two of us and of our
• Is there hope for the marriage?
• If he wanted to come back, would I take him back?
• What do I do with my powerful need for affection and touch?
• Should I date?
• I’m feeling sad, frustrated, scared and excited.
• What about the children. What will we do with them?
• How do I deal with his reactivity?
These questions and the scattered thinking coupled with a variety of intense feelings is common during the first few weeks after discovery.
It is within this time frame that most confusion and feeling of being torn predominate. Answers to specific questions are NOT there. You, at this point, just do not know, nor can you have a specific and comforting vision for the future.
Your world is shaken. There is no peace. There is no stability. And, it may seem that new, sometimes disturbing thoughts or questions emerge weekly, if not daily.
To move through this phase effectively and quickly you usually need to address:
1. The need for affirmation or affection.
Upon discovery, your personal needs become amplified. What you needed before, you NEED now. This is especially true for the need of affirmation and acknowledgement. Your soul has taken a huge hit and it looks desperately for affirmation – especially from your spouse/partner and if not him/her, perhaps someone else from the opposite sex.
Am I OK? I am desirable? I need to know that others find me attractive. I need to feel and know that my essence as a sexual person, male or female, is intact.
Is it OK for me to bounce from one concern to another? Are my feelings of frustration and fear valid?
And, what is it with these strong feelings to enter into a dating relationship and be held by another man? Is THAT OK? This was a pressing question for Marcie.
Marcie seemingly wants someone to affirm her by saying, “Yes, Marcie, nothing is wrong with you. What you are feeling and thinking is par for your situation.”
Once the intensity is normalized – yes, the power of your feelings and thoughts are normal – a huge wave of relief may envelop you, and you move through them more rapidly.
2. Finding a compass.
What should you do? What is right? What is appropriate? This was a major concern for Marcie. She was a person of integrity. She wanted to do the right thing. But, what was the right thing.
She’s in uncharted territory and needs guidance to find her ultimate destination. We aren’t taught about the dynamics of infidelity. In reality we don’t want to think about it or believe it will never happen to me.
And so, the land of infidelity is new, strange, foreboding and not well charted in most minds.
The next step for Marcie is seeking input from chat rooms, forums, experts – those who have been there and done that -to pick apart each issue, examine it and make decisions based on what is right, appropriate and best for her and her family.
That is why Marcie approached me for coaching. Infidelity is not chaos. There are reasons. There are motives. One can predict the future. One can know exactly what to say when to change the tide.
3. The mixed signals.
Ok, so Marcie’s husband walked out the door and was living with another person. “I love you, but am not in love with you” he told Marcie. (Ever heard that one!)
But, he was not gone from her life. He reacted strongly to her, which indicated an ongoing investment in her.
Typically, the partner leaving the relationship for another person has strong ambivalence and tries at some level to hold the two relationships in a balance. “I’m gone, but not really.”
Thus, the mixed messages to the remaining partner. Marcie’s head was spinning because his message was not clear. Was her REALLY gone? No, but it sure seemed that way. What was she to do?
Which message was she to believe?
4. Living with ambiguity and uncertainty.
Infidelity initially means many unknowns. Your world is torn apart. Your hopes dreams and expectations disintegrate.
What will your life be like? What will take the place of your long held but now destroyed dreams and aspirations?
Will s/he come back? Will I want him/her back? How will the children respond? What will my life look like 1 year from now?
You’ve lost your rudder and seem carried by an unknown current into the unknown.
Can you live with uncertainty? What do you need to rebuild and create a new life, with or without him?
These questions and concerns emerged out of a coaching session with Marcie. This session is included in “19 Live Infidelity Coaching Sessions.”
If you want to get a taste of this session, I’ve edited out a 3 minute segment that is on my blog. Marcie talks about her need for affection, the question of dating and understanding the phrase, “I love you, but am not in love with you.
Go to my blog where you will find this article and the 3 minute tape.
And, yes feel free to leave your comments at the bottom of the article.