We were in counseling yesterday. Though it was a good session, I wanted to blog about something that they said. We have two counselors who are in session with us each time we meet. They are husband and wife and they do the sessions together.
At the end of yesterday’s session, the wife said to us, “you’re starting your 3rd marriage. You had your first marriage and Allie had an affair six years ago. Then you started your second marriage and Allie had an affair this year. Now you’re starting your third marriage.” She said it as a positive message and I really hear where she’s coming from.
That statement affects me and Allie differently. For Allie, it is empowering for us to stay together. Allie even quoted it this morning after giving me another heartfelt, remorseful apology.
I have come to understand something really well. I didn’t choose for her to cheat. As a matter of fact, I am a pretty darn good husband. Faithful, forgiving, caring, loving, non-abusive, not addicted to anything. But, I have become a doormat. She doesn’t respect me and had unrealistic expectations of marriage. Basically, if she wants me to make her happy and I can’t. She owns her own happiness. She owns her own choices and she owns her own dishonesty, deceit and infidelity. I don’t own any part of those.
In all cases of potential infidelity, the cheater has three choices BEFORE cheating.
- Clearly and honestly explain to their spouse that they have an attraction for someone else and have unmet needs and expectations from the marriage. Seek counseling on these and they possibly can be solved.
p.s. A person should NEVER come to their spouse with “feelings” for another person. This indicates that they’ve already gone too far and are in an affair. (may only be emotional) But you cannot have feelings for someone unless you spend some time talking to them on some level. You can have a crush, an infatuation or an attraction. But true feelings of love would be through getting to know them and if that’s the case, you’re in an affair.
- You can stop any affair BEFORE it gets physical or before you develop feelings. This is ALWAYS an option. If the conversations have gone too far, you can stop the calls, the texts and the conversations. You have the power to stop those. None of us who have been betrayed believe you when you tell us that you couldn’t stop and “it just happened.” The easy way to stop it is to hand over your phone to your spouse and when the affair partner calls or texts, have your spouse respond. Turn on any tracking activity and be an open book. This step requires honesty which seems to be lacking when someone is a cheater.
- You can get divorced. If you are that unhappy in your marriage where you just HAVE to cheat, then go ask for a divorce FIRST. There simply is NO excuse that is acceptable for cheating. None.