What is your turning point if you face the “I Don’t Want to Say No” or “I Can’t Say No” types of affairs characterized by emotional abuse?
Often the offended spouse believes the marriage, or more accurately, her cheating husband can be saved or will reform his/her behavior.
That may happen. However, if the patterns related to these two types of affairs are pervasive and deeply ingrained, the chances of constructive change are minimal.
The turning point for many is “letting go” of attempts to reform or save the other.
The reader below expresses her story of moving gradually away from the abusive relationship as she struggles to forgive and forge ahead:
Hi Dr Huizenga Thank you for keeping me on your mailing list all this time. It has been 3 and a half years since I went through the experience and I valued your material very much at the time.
My experience was a tough one as my partner was having many affairs. The toughest part was finding out that one of his affairs was with a women who had be-friended me after their affair had began. To realize that he did not question her reasons for getting close to me and the lack of respect he must have had for me to allow her to do so was extremely saddening.
He had also put me a risk of STD’s due to many of his sexual partners being bar girls in south east Asia. Your material helped me at a time of much weakness – not only caused by what I had discovered but my treatment for 10 years.
I had no self esteem and little thought or respect for myself as the years of ‘indifference’ had progressed. Remaining ‘neutral’ was great advice, although difficult in such a time of mixed emotion.
The ‘affair categories’ helped me make the decision to leave. This was a man who would never change his cheating behavior. It may sound crazy to many. Why would you need to refer to material to make such a decision after such terrible treatment? Sometimes you are so involved and weakened by the past and the harsh reality of the present to have the strength to trust your own judgments.
You believe what you want to believe. There are many couples who I am sure have been able to repair the damage and remain together; learning a great deal from the experience and about each other. By learning more about the reasons people have affairs, it gave me a great insight into whether there was a way to remedy the relationship or cut my loses, learning from the experience and moving on.
To cut my ‘loses’ was the biggest ‘gain’ and gift I have ever given myself. The rest of my journey was a personal one. Once you have taken that step away and look back, things are even more difficult. I had to learn to forgive myself for allowing a man to have treated me so ‘indifferently’ for many years.
However, I do still share your belief that ‘nobody makes a person have an affair’. My partner would have still cheated regardless and is doing the very same to the women he has since married and fathered a child with – (the women who had be-friended and manipulated me) and the women who many know will and has been planning to make a great deal of money from him marrying her.
The category that applied to him has proved that he will continue the same behavior, the very behavior that will cost him greatly in his current relationship.
I am still learning to forgive myself, but like you say, you never forget (if only I could). Thank you again for your help. At the time, I was living abroad with this man and most people I knew had a business connection to him. I had no family there to talk to and felt very much alone in my sorrow and anger.
Connecting to your site and reading your material encouraged me to think rationally at a time when emotions were so very strong and confused. This has been education not only for the period of decision making and grief but for the future also.