Tag Archives: affair

Affair Repair: Where to Start

Affair Repair: Where to Start

One of the most devastating moments in any relationship is when there has been an affair. I don’t think I can overstate enough how profoundly traumatic it is to have that kind of betrayal in a close, intimate relationship.

There are feelings of hopelessness and despair.

I don’t know what to do. I’m damned if I stay, I’m damned if I go.

How can I possibly fix this? I can’t possibly save my marriage after this massive breach of trust.

There’s emotional exhaustion.

Every day is an emotional storm. Sometimes I feel like we’ve never been closer, and other times I feel like I’m sleeping with the enemy.

There’s doubt.

Will I ever be able to stop visualizing my partner with someone else? Can I ever feel special again? How will I ever forgive them?

You’re going to have all kinds of feelings and emotions. It is a roller coaster every day. For a long time.

So the first step in recovering from an affair is giving you permission to be where you are at this moment.

It is okay that you’re not sure if you want to work on the marriage. It is okay that you’re not sure if you’ll ever trust again. Let it be okay that you don’t know what you are thinking and feeling.

Early Decisions are Not Set in Stone

Feeling these strong emotions after an affair is normal. You’re just not going to act on them.

You need time to grieve for the loss of the marriage you thought you had, assess the damage, figure out how you feel about it. Then you need some time to heal and pull yourself together.

Only after all that can you decide if your marriage is something worth fixing. You don’t want to make permanent, life-altering decisions in an emotional state. You’re going to get in trouble almost every time when you do that.

So declare a moratorium on decision-making for at least six to twelve weeks after you discover the affair. This provides a period of safety where you can fully explore your thoughts and feelings.

How long you wait depends on your situation and how you respond.

I recently had a client whose wife was having multiple affairs for 15 years and practically prostituting herself out. Recovering from that probably will take more time.

But I had another client who went on a business trip and slept with someone while he was out of town. One time.

While both are traumatic, the recovery period could be completely different.

The key is waiting until you have your emotional state under control every day. However long that takes.

Ambivalence is Normal and Healthy

Another mistake I often see is clients who move through ambivalence too fast and give up.

Ambivalence is a part of the process when you’re depressed, and I can’t imagine a situation where there’s been an affair and you’re not depressed. Infidelity is tough stuff.

Let yourself be ambivalent and tune out while you process the emotions.

We call this “responsible distance taking.” Tell your partner you need some time away. You need some time to think about it and be ambivalent.

Just don’t ignore your partner and withdraw completely from the relationship. Your partner’s bad behavior is not a green light for yours. You can’t make them pay by staying in the marriage but not talking with them for six months, even if they hurt you.

That’s emotional abuse. That’s retribution. You don’t get that right.

Staying is Just Time to Heal

Tell yourself that staying doesn’t mean you condone your partner’s behavior. It doesn’t mean you are trapped forever in a bad relationship.

Staying just means you’re committed to the process of grieving and healing. You are committed to forging a new partnership.

Divorce Your Marriage—Not Your Spouse

We often tell people not to divorce your spouse, divorce your marriage and build a new one.

Is this relationship worth salvaging? And if not, is it worth trying to create one that is worth keeping?

Most affairs don’t end in divorce. Most affairs actually make it through and survive. The difference between a marriage that survives and one that doesn’t is the desire to save the relationship.

That’s the difference.

Is that something you’re interested in?

It may be hard to believe, but we find that if a couple is ready to partner together and change the dynamic of their marriage, they actually can have a better marriage after infidelity. An affair can be an opening for dealing with problems that have been festering in the marriage for a long time.

Get Ready for a Long Journey

Research shows that it takes between two and three years to recover from an affair.

This is not two or three sessions. This is two or three years.

That doesn’t mean you will be miserable all the time. But it does mean you will need to learn how to navigate the ebbs and flows that come as you grieve and rebuild. You will need to hold yourself responsible and accountable. You will need to learn how to forgive, how to partner again. You will need patience.

A partner having an affair is like a fox that got into the hen house. You have to clean up the mess, and then you have to find out where the fence needs fortifying.

Not every marriage with an affair is a bad marriage. An affair just means there is a gap somewhere.

Somebody let down their guard.

Somebody blinked

Something happened.

Repairing after an affair isn’t easy. But it is possible. And we can help.

We’re going to help you recover emotionally. Then we’re going to find out what happened, the dynamic that made the marriage vulnerable. And we’re going to help you fix it.

So if you find that you’re stuck in the grieving process, or the forgiving process or you just can’t close the gap, call or go online to schedule an appointment with us.

Most people need help to get through something like an affair…we, at The Marriage Place, are trained and equipped to help you recover and rebuild!

Affairs are tough stuff.

Learn More

What Not Having Sex Does to Your Marriage

Not Having SexNot Having Sex

A lot of couples I see in my office eventually end up sharing that they’re not having sex. Lately, I’m seeing a lot of angry, shut down men. That’s a good clue for what is really going on.

When a couple isn’t having sex, it is usually the wives who initiate therapy. They feel they are losing their husbands or they are worried because their husband is often angry and irritable. Sometimes they are in my office because the husband had an affair, or because he said he wanted a divorce.

I start the therapy process and eventually it comes out there has been very little sex for months or years. I say eventually because the wife doesn’t mention it – she doesn’t think it is that big a deal.

She knows they don’t have sex often but they get along in every other way and he doesn’t complain about it much. The husband doesn’t mention it right away because he is embarrassed or even humiliated. What man wants someone to know his own wife doesn’t want him?

If you aren’t having sex in your marriage, it is a big deal.

It means something is off. The longer you ignore this the harder the punch will be when you are forced to deal.

Every. Single. Time. Every single time, the wife is surprised….shocked at how angry and hurt and rejected her husband feels because they aren’t having sex. Sure. She admits knowing they weren’t having sex. She admits knowing it was a problem for him. But she didn’t realize just how much of a problem.

Let me tell you what happens to the guy you sleep with every night when you reject his advances: he feels inadequate.

He questions whether or not you love him at all.

He fears he is disappointing you sexually and that is the reason you turn him down. He feels completely helpless and then starts to resent the hell out of you for putting him in a powerless position.

He may act out in ways to alleviate both his sexual frustration and his building resentment toward you by using porn or having an affair.  He often avoids coming home and works longer hours.

He will justify this by believing you forced him to do it.

Then he may get even angrier with you.

Because he really just wants to be loved by YOU.

At least he does until he is so angry and so shut down he starts to despise you. When it gets that bad, he tries to stay civil but the contempt leaks out at times and this confuses you. But it also helps justify to you that it is ok not to have sex. After all, who wants to have sex with a jerk?

All of these intense feelings are going on under the surface and you are oblivious to how much pain he is in. Partly because he has not been direct enough in telling you. But partly because you don’t want to see his pain.

When he has tried to talk about it, you have responded by telling him “all you want is sex.” This infuriates him and widens the chasm between you. It makes him feel hopeless and he thinks if all he wanted was sex, he sure wouldn’t be here with you.

Then he notices that you have also started pulling away from non-sexual physical affection. You stiffen when he hugs you. You give him “push off” kisses that let him know you don’t have the time or desire to linger. At some point, to protect himself, he comes to accept this is his “normal.”

He is trapped in a sexless marriage.

And he starts to detach.

This is the point most men leave the marriage.

Men Not Having Sex: Here’s How to Talk With Your Wife

If this is happening in your marriage, wake up now! Guys, if this sounds like your situation, be direct with your wife about your feelings.

Let her know that something has to change. Tell her how much pain you feel and how much it hurts to feel so rejected time and time again. Don’t hide behind your embarrassment or humiliation.  You aren’t the only man who feels trapped in a sexless marriage.  I see it all the time.  Your only way out of this is to speak up or leave.  Leaving may seem easier but it rips the family apart.  

Stay respectful, but tell her! If she doesn’t get it, force the issue by making an appointment for the two of you to talk with a marriage expert. If she doesn’t want to join you, go alone.  Don’t make the excuse that you have tried to tell her.  Every couple I’ve seen in this situation has a wife who tells me she didn’t know things were this bad.  You haven’t told her directly enough until you put the marriage on hold in other ways to get her attention.  Don’t be afraid to find out exactly why you aren’t having sex.  Whatever the reason, there is very likely a solution but you may never resolve this without some answers. 

Women Not Having Sex: Here’s How to Respond

Ladies, there are a lot of reasons why you may not desire sex or desire sex with your husband. Ignoring the problem and avoiding sex is the coward’s way out. If you don’t like the quality of sex, talk about it, go to therapy, read some books together. Fix it.

If there are emotional issues that dampen the mood, deal with those also. It is natural for you to not desire sex if your husband is inattentive, controlling, critical or abusive.  If this is happening in your marriage, you have some big problems to address.  Use this opportunity to make things better.  If you love your husband, find a way to deal with this because one day you may get an ugly surprise.  You may think all those “not tonight” moments aren’t that big a deal, but I promise you, they come with a price.  Your husband needs to know you love him.  He views his sexual needs as a huge part of the marriage deal.  

Call us or contact us online, and let us help you figure out what you need to start enjoying sex with your husband again. But if you keep avoiding the issue, you may find yourself discussing these things with a divorce attorney instead.

Not Having Sex is a big deal!

It’s time we start talking about it and learning how to enjoy each other more. It is heartbreaking to see the pain that not having sex is causing couples.

Stop the misery and get some help. At The Marriage Place, we can work with you to help you figure out why you aren’t having sex–and even better–help you enjoy it!

Learn More