7 KILLER Mistakes that Prolong the Affair and Misery
and…they are not what you think
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by Dr. Robert Huizenga – The Infidelity Coach
Here are some examples of people I’ve worked with and how we tackled their situation.
•Kim (fictitious name, of course) 46, discovered her husband was having an affair with a 22 year old college student. He actually wanted to invite her along to some of their family events. Kim wanted to keep the marriage but knew she could not tolerate this arrangement. Her husband did not want a divorce, but was not going to give up the other person either. Kim would approach him, but their “discussions” would end with him walking out.
For the most part, Kim was in control of her feelings. She was not easily rattled. However, he continued to see the other person and Kim. Kim and I worked on developing strategies that would force the issue. Instead of continued “discussions” I suggested she take action. She stopped talking about his relationship with the other person. She mentioned that she always liked dancing, but hadn’t danced in years. She signed up in a local dance club. He was befuddled by her behavior and eventually began initiating conversations with Kim and moved back toward her.
•Bill was an ex Navy Seal who discovered his wife was e-mailing a man she met on a business trip and the two of them eventually met for a weekend tryst.
Bill, although deeply hurt, exuded extreme compassion and patience. He worked hard at maintaining that attitude and demeanor. He told her he would be there for her, that he wanted to keep the marriage and he loved her. Mary, his wife, withdrew and refused to respond. Bill maintained his “presence.” Eventually, bit-by-bit, she began to talk about her guilt and shame.
Bill just e-mailed me to let me know that they are planning a “second honeymoon” in the Florida Keys and their marriage is better than ever! (You might expect an ex Navy Seal to “lay down the law.” With Mary’s kind of affair, that would have been a disaster. Bill would be in the Keys by himself!)
•When Jill called me for her first coaching appointment, she spent most of the half hour crying. The tears would not stop. She had difficulty talking. I didn’t learn many details of her affair, but I did know that she was hurting! I listened.
After a few sessions the tears flowed less frequently and with less intensity and she began talking about her feelings of helplessness, sadness and fear. As she talked (and I intentionally validated her and listened intently) she said she began to feel stronger – much stronger. She moved through the feelings and is now able to confront her husband with more confidence and without flowing tears.
•Stephanie talked to me about her husband who moved out and was living with another woman. He would come “home” frequently to see the children, talk with Stephanie and sometimes have sex. Stephanie was angry yet continued to want him back. Having sex was being “one-up” on the other woman, but left Stephanie frantic with ambivalence.
In conversation with Stephanie it became obvious that this was a long time pattern with her husband. She deserved better. Stephanie and I worked on setting firm boundaries, filing for divorce, preparing some resumes and developing self-sufficiency.
•In our first call, I listened to Jack rage. He was angry!! He found out his wife was having an affair with an older man at her work and he was enraged. He talked about his fantasies of what he was going to do with him. He would rage at his wife. Every thought was focused on expressing his rage.
His wife was frightened by his rage but she continued seeing the other man. She said she was “in love” and wanted to marry him.
Jack eventually saw his rage as an expression of his own helplessness. The rage also would emerge with the “inferiority” he felt when he compared himself to the older, wealthy “successful” other person his wife “loved.”
After his wife and the other person came back from a weekend together, Jack said to her in a calm voice, “You know, I’ve been thinking. This has been hell for me and I don’t like trying to persuade you to remain with me. I was only doing that out of my own weakness and I’m not going to do that any longer. I want you to know that I’ve filed for divorce. I think that’s the best thing.” (He truly meant this!)
The next week she called up a therapist and the two of them are trying to save the marriage.
For more information about how you can have your own coach as you navigate the turbulent waters of infidelity click on infidelity coaching.