Please read through this coaching scenario where the coach responds with input and guidance. In the first section the person struggling with the marital infidelity summarizes the scenario or concern and what he/she would like to say to his/her cheating spouse. I then outline some goals that help him/her break free from the affair.
The final and higly signicant section focuses on moving the focal point away from one's partner to self. In other words, what does all this mean for the person on the receiving end of an extramarital affair? After moving one's thoughts to self rather than the spouse (which is difficult for someone who fears losing family, home and marriage), I, as a coach, suggest what s/he can relay to his/her partner in ways that target his/her concern and stands the greatest possibility of connecting and creating the reaction s/he really wants. Section 1: The "offended spouse" says: I used to focus on what mood is he in, is he going to talk to me today, is he going to look/act like he'd rather be anywhere else with anyone else other than me. The cycle is hard to change, but I'm attempting to alter it.
I was so hurt and rejected that sometimes in my depression that I didn't leave the house for days. All this in an attempt to figure out how to be okay with my life and how lonely I was. This was his excuse for his affair ("if you thought it was bad being that way, you have no idea how hard it is to live with a person like that" - thoughtful words from him after I learned of his affair). I've been thinking about what gives me joy, as an acquaintance refers to it, but thinking of me feels rather self-centered and I'm not used to that.
I'm learning how much living like that has affected the simplist of things - mood, attitude, communication and my relationship with our 13 yr old daughter. I wrestled with deciding whether or not to stay in my marriage and even though we're still living together, I was non-committal and that hasn't helped things much. But lately, I've been getting more clarification. I still don't have all the answers as for our marriage, but I do know that I'm doing what I'm called to do right now. He has been making changes although I've been frustrated that they're not the ones I think he should be doing. I believe he's doing his best, but, I've not fully stated my appreciation of that to him and I assume that only creates more of what I don't want and am working hard to counter.
I'm not sure the outcome of some of this, but I know I'm prepared to move into my future. He has an opportunity to rise higher in his life and our relationship and if he's unable, I can accept that, but I know with all my heart that I need more than that and I love him enough to let him go. If I can't or don't let him go, it will only create more and deeper problems for us individually and as a marriage. That to me would be unforgivable - to intentionally choose that.
I've finally forgiven him and I'm excited to be able to share that with him when I see him (he's working 4 hrs away for a couple of weeks). I believe it's a gift that both of us need and it's necessary for healing regardless of whether we stay together or not. I've taken responsiblity for what I could have changed in our marriage; but more importantly, I've been able to forgive myself.
The reality is that he made some wrong decision(s), but as painful as all of this has been (this was his second affair), I'm grateful for the opportunities that it's opened in my heart. There's great power in "pressing on" and getting through. I'll even go as far as to say that I'm starting to determine my call and purpose in life.
I'm in the begining stages of understanding this, but I know that my personal history was given to learn from and somehow share (coping with abuse of different kinds, the loss of my 7 year old child, abusive relationships and my struggle with depression). It would seem that others would benefit as well. I've always believed that, I just lost sight of it.
I'm excited to see how all of this unfolds. Well, I know you didn't ask for a book, but I've never been one short on words. Section 2: Personal goals suggested by the coach: >Welcome your sensitivity.
Learn ways to use it, especially with others. >Examine, reflect, write down the "themes" of your life that you are internally addressing when "depressed." >Congratulate your self on your tremendous growth and progress.
>Be very specific on the changes you want from him. Write down 5 aspects that create distance and keep you from him. >Write down 6 of your most pressing needs. (Check out the needless program on my site) >Continue working hard on defining your life's purpose. Section 3: What the affair means for the "offended spouse" and what he/she REALLY wants to say to his spouse/partner having the affair: I've shifted my focal point away from him to what I need and that feels very good. Also very exciting.
But, I'm not sure, sometimes, where that leaves me with you. >I want for us to have a richer relationship but it seems there has been so much pain and hurt, on both of our parts, that I wonder, what that means for our future. I know I have concrete personal needs I would like you to respond to. But, I know this can be very tricky and rather scary. For example, I would like ____________. If you can do that, great.
If not, help me understand what gets in the way. Maybe just give it some thought first, and we can get at it later. What is your situation? Describe your situation. Let it flow. Don't hold back. Then, ask yourself, "What does this marital mean for ME?What power does the infidelity contribute to what I do, say and think? Then rehearse approaching your spouse/partner with phrases that convey the meaning and impact of the infidelity for YOU.
Dr. Robert Huizenga, CSW, LMFT, The Infidelity Coach, is an author, and Marriage and Family Therapist. For the past two decades he has served hundreds of couples, specifically in the area of marital infidelity. He is author of "Break Free From The Affair." Information on Dr. Huizenga's book and other services is available on his web sites.