A Reader Writes…
Thank you for “HCIETYA” and “Resolve Your Differences”. Both books have helped us in this agonizing reconciliation journey. However, I am having problems with regaining respect for my wayward husband.
He has done everything since discovery to heal his betrayal. We have read both books together and put your techniques into practice. I know that his efforts should go a long way toward rebuilding my respect, but I find the details of the affair undermine it repeatedly.
Do you have any suggestions for us? I’m afraid that the marriage will be destroyed if I don’t resolve this dilemma.
Sometimes, especially if a couple is in Attempted Normality, the obsessing about the affair can be positive. It keeps both parties focused on fixed the underlying causes, finding a lasting solution to marital problems and stops issues being swept under the carpet.
Assuming that you’ve been working hard – which is sounds like – and especially if six months have gone past since the discovery, I normally recommend one or a combination 0f the following:
- The Discoverer think about why he or she wants to keep talking about the affair. Often it is because he or she is having a bad day and needs reassurance. In this case, he or she tells their partner: ‘I’ve had a hard time and I’ve been feeling…… Can I have a cuddle?’
- The Discovered gets more assertive (see Resolve your differences) and talks about his or her feelings: ‘I know you are upset about the affair, I’m sorry that I’ve hurt you because I really love you. However, I think it is unfair to go over those details.’ In general, the Discovered should be prepared to talk about his or her partner’s feelings but not answer more probes about what they ate at a candlelit supper.
- To stop all couple time from being consumed with talking about the affair, they make an agreement to discuss what happened for one hour a week (at an agreed time) and anything associated with the affair can be brought up – but at all other times, the subject is off limits.
- The Discoverer asks him or herself: ‘What in this behaviour for me?’ Normally, there is an unconscious reason for harping on. For example, I counselled one woman who could not let go because if she went back to feeling normal again and her husband cheated, she would be destroyed. If she held onto her hurt, it would be just a continuation of the first pain and she could cope.
I hope this gives you some food for thought. I would also look at ‘Help your partner say yes’ and when my new book on sex comes out try that programme too (as I’ve had a lot of success with couples stuck after an affair.)