A key to diminishing the pain of infidelity and agony is to see your cheating spouse as having the problem.
And, the reality is: It IS his/her problem.
The affair or infidelity is his/her problem – his/her attempt to somehow fill a “hole,” fill a void, meet some intense long-suffering personal need or undo some theme or pattern in his/her life that has been haunting him/her long before s/he met you.
And you can say…”Sure, how do I know that? Or, “That’s easy for you to say!”
It does take some understanding of the complexity of the affair or infidelity to come to the conclusion that it IS his/her problem. After all you have been so invested in him/her, your lives entangled with one another, with the children, with your work, with your activities that it’s difficult to believe that you had nothing to do with his/her choice to pursue an affair which has caused this horrific pain of infidelity.
As well, the affair triggers in you, your points of vulnerability, your unresolved patterns that go way back, your doubts and fears about your adequacy, sexually and in other ways.
So, it is difficult to disentangle and see an affair with clarity and for what it truly is.
I’ve been thinking long and hard recently about the impact of my materials and why people contact me frequently thanking me for the relief from the pain of infidelity they experience with my information.
I think I present a practical, in-depth look at the complexity, patterns and nuances of infidelity that is not found elsewhere.
Let me give you an example of how I address the pain of infidelity:
I list 7 types of affairs, each unique, each with underlying patterns.
And for each affair I attempt to present the motives one might have for engaging in that type of affair.
To get at the motives, I list the personal characteristics of a person who most likely would pursue that type of affair.
Let’s look at the “My Marriage Made Me Do It” type of affair.
My research and clinical experience allowed me to come to the conclusion that such a person typically expresses these characteristics:
• At one time was clingy and fairly passive in the marriage
• Does not want to take responsibility for his/her behavior
• Attaches self to others. Others become the guiding star
• May have bouts of sadness and dejection
• Deep down thinks of self as inadequate, weak, reluctant and seemingly incapable of expressing own desires wants, needs, ideas (doesn’t know what they are)
• Can be very generous and has difficulty saying no
• May be naive or Polly Anna like
• More passive, does not like competition
• May be closely attached to parents
• May be overprotected by parents
• May typically express put-downs about self
• Complains. Whines. Things are never right or good enough
• Those who know him/her well will usually be exasperated and frustrated
Now there are solid psychological reasons for coming to these conclusions. I won’t bore you with those details.
Suffice it to say that many when coming across this list (and I have a list for all 7 types of affairs) breath a sigh of relief and say… “That’s him/her!”
And, they are off… feeling better, breaking free from the pain of infidelity and beginning to chart a very specific well designed plan that will alter the course of the affair.