BETRAYAL and SHOCK
After weeks of him being blamed, shamed, yelled at, and asked the same questions over and over about who initiated contact between him and his lover, your cheating husband says to you: “I just want things to go back the way they were.”
Really? What does he mean by that? Was it really that great between the two of you before all this happened? How on earth can you go back to a time when you thought he was loyal, loving and good? Will you ever be able to trust him again? You wonder if you still love him. Who is he? So many questions without answers.
NOTHING IS THE SAME
After weeks of shock, pain and confusion the numbness is fading and anger is emerging. It seems like you’ve been on a nonstop roller coaster. You’re both exhausted: emotionally, mentally and physically. Whatever your reaction to the affair, it will be unique to you alone.
If you’re the cheater and got caught or if you’re the victim whose world is upside down, either way you are suffering on multiple levels. Remember, the only two people who really understand what the pain feels like is the two of you and it hurts so bad. You both have hurt each other and you wonder how it will ever get right again.
The biggest mistake would be to not talk honestly about what exactly happened. Honest questions require honest answers. If you can’t do that, or you’ve never had that kind of conversation with each other, then now is the time. So, stop the blaming and make an appointment to talk with each other without the kids, or the dogs, or the phone.
HOW TO BEGIN TALKING
- Make an appointment to talk, just the two of you. Choose a time when you’re rested and not late at night.
- Show respect for him and expect the same from him.
- Maintain calm and begin talking about what happened.
- Express your perspective –use “I” statements. “I wonder…I think…I feel.
- Listen to him. Make it a dialogue.
Having a calm conversation goes both ways. If you ask him a question, then be prepared for his answer even if it’s not what you expected or not what you wanted to hear. Likewise, If he tells you he’s ready for any question and you ask him but he explodes, gets defensive or deflects, then neither of you are ready to talk calmly. You might have to wait until things are calmer or seek professional counseling.
WHAT IF HE’S STILL LYING?
When you first found out about the affair, he denied it, you both argued, you cried and screamed and he just kept denying it. Up to now, you don’t feel like he’s really owned it or even truthfully apologized. He doesn’t say much because you do all the talking and crying and he rolls his eyes and gets irritated when you bring it up. He keeps saying you ask the same questions over and over. He’s right you do, but at some deeper level it’s because you sense there’s more to the story.
FIVE SIMPLE WAYS THE CHEATER CAN DEMONSTRATE HIS COMMITMENT TO YOU!
- Be transparent in everything you do and say.
Cut off ALL communication with your lover immediately (phone, texts, emails, etc.). Do it together with your spouse by your side.
- Be patient with your partner.
Expect a lot of questions from your spouse.
Communicate if you are 20 minutes late getting home on the freeway. Call her at your 3pm break and tell her that you wanted to hear the sound of her voice.
- Have weekly “check ins”.
Talk on the couch to see how each of you are doing; get a sitter and go to Starbucks; sit inside your car in the driveway and talk!
- Let sex happen naturally.
Don’t force sex too soon until a lot of conversation and forgiveness has happened between the two of you.
Transparency is the absolute key to trust building! Otherwise, it leaves everything up to the imagination! It’s human nature when you sense or know that there’s something more left unsaid, and it’s easy to jump to catastrophic conclusions! By talking to your partner, listening attentively, and acknowledging what you heard, you affirm each other!
Acknowledging means: “Hey Babes, so what you’re basically saying is you find it easier to tell me what you’re thinking if I don’t interrupt you until you finish your thought. Is that right?” It doesn’t necessarily mean you agree with him, it means you’re listening and you let him know that you’re listening. This validation is very powerful because you can feel that connection to each other as it’s happening. This dynamic strengthens your communications resulting in more sustainable long-term positivity between each of you. Every time the two of you speak openly about difficult topics and complete the discussion without a blow up, then you increase your love connection. It’ s the building block to healthy communication, intimacy and trust!