By Bunmi Sofola
If someone was caught having an affair, would they make a full confession? Would they know if they wanted to stay in that relationship or leave? Would they be able to explain why they are unfaithful? If they promised to ‘fight’ for their marriage would their actions match their words? For lots of people, however, recovery is not so straightforward and takes far longer than they would have imagined on discovery day. Sometimes the person who has been unfaithful vows to do ‘anything to make it better, but the next day, sabotages everything.
“Sometimes the discoverer of the infidelity is besieged by horrible images or overcome with anxiety – even though they want to move forward”, wrote Andrew G. Marshall in his book: I Can’t Get Over My Partner’s Affair. He continued: “Sometimes the betrayal has been so great – multiple affairs, prostitutes or cheating with a friend – that recovery is much harder. If you can’t get over your partner’s affair, it is easy to think the pain is too great and you need to split up.” However, there is a message of hope. It’s not that there’s something fundamentally wrong with your marriage, but you have been so profoundly hurt that you need extra help and to learn special skills to find a way through.
One of the simple phenomenons making modem infidelity harder to deal with is this: men and women are much more likely to be friendly today. This was something that was much rarer 30 years ago. Many of my clients tell me their husband or wife thinks it’s acceptable to stay in touch with a lover when their fling is over. They’re ‘friends’ after all. In my experience, this only leads to yet more heartbreak, as the affair constantly reignites or threatens to, causing a great deal of anguish. Being betrayed is bad enough, but being betrayed twice in exactly the same way with the same person is twisting the knife in the most brutal way. One of the most painful forms of betrayal is when he cheats with your best friend.
“This is the most hurtful act of infidelity. After all, the two people you trust the most are your partner and your best friend. The sense of violation can be overwhelming. This was the case of Julia, a client who sought my help after discovering her husband had a two-year affair with her friend. To make matters worse, during this time, the couple was also trying for a baby. Julia’s friend was privy to the most private details of her marriage – for example, when she rowed with her husband or when things became tough because of the fertility treatments Julia was taking. And Julia was so close to her friend that when she later had her longed-for child, she made her best friend the godmother! Unsurprisingly, Julia was devastated when she eventually discovered this extreme betrayal.
“Another woman, Allinson, told me how she discovered her husband was cheating with a close friend of hers. Listening to a little voice inside her head, she checked his mobile whilst he was fast asleep and found that he had been in touch with her friend. Text messages to her revealed their flirtations had started two years before. Such extreme betrayal can make your husband or wife seem like a stranger. So let’s start by asking what kind of people have affairs? Well, they’re often people-pleasers, who want to be kind and make other people happy. Eventually, though, their needs and desires clash with that of their partners.
“Normally people-pleasers quash these desires, telling themselves ‘my needs don’t matter. But then they snap. “What about me?”, they ask. “Don’t I deserve this?” It’s at this point people-pleasers turn 180 degrees and become selfish. And it’s then that the temptation to have an affair creeps in. The warning sign’ for couples then is to spot when your needs and desires are diverging. When there is a clash talk. It could save heartbreak.
“It’s not always possible to spot the signs though, especially if communication is poor. Unfortunately, lots of couples imagine they ‘know’ their partner inside out. Instead, genuine interchange is reduced to giving or receiving instructions from each other. It is easy then, to dismiss someone’s feelings when all you do is give each other orders. Into this crevice comes temptation. And unfortunately, people tend to fall in love with someone with whom they have repeated exposure – often from work or a circle of friends. You’d think lovers would realise they were crossing a boundary and step back, but there are so many unhelpful myths that facilitate affairs,
For example, “love will find a way” (and no one will really be hurt) and “this is bigger than both of us.” (So we don’t have to take responsibility. So if you discover your husband or wife has cheated with your best friend, bear in mind the potency of these myths. Don’t be too self-critical. However, what you mustn’t do is descend into dramatics, either. When the infidelity involves someone you know well, the tragedy moves up a couple of notches. Instead of telling other friends or family about the infidelity, venting your emotion, why not pour your feelings into a diary? That way events are less likely to descend into a drama.
“Keep talking – and decide whether you can restore your love for each other. As for your friend, I would cut her out instantly, especially if she is a single mum. It might sound horrible to say, but nine times out of ten, single mothers just want your husband!”
Just How Long Has This Been Going On? (Humour)
After 50 years of happy marriage to Lena, Ola becomes very ill and realises that he will soon die. In bed one night, Ola turns to his wife. “Lena,” he asks. “When I am gone, do you think you will marry another man?” Lena gave it some thought. “Well, yes” she said. “Marriage has been good to me and I think that I surely will marry again”.
Ola was taken aback. “Why, Lena,” he cried. “Will you bring your new husband into our house?” “This is a fine house,” Lena said,” yes, I think we will live here.” “But Lena,” Ola gasped, “Will you bring your new husband into our bed?” Lena said, “Ola you made this bed, a good strong bed. Yes! Sure I will bring my new husband into this bed.” Ola gulped. “But Lena,” he said in a quiet voice,” … you won’t … ah … let your new husband use my golf clubs, will you?” Lena smiled at her husband. “Oh Ola,” she grinned, misty-eyed. “Of course he won’t use your golf clubs! He is left-handed.”
Miracle Cure? (Humour)
A man walks into a bar and orders a drink. He necks it, takes out his dick and pisses all over the bar. The barman is furious and tells the man to get out. He apologises profusely, saying he doesn’t know what came over him, and that he will see a psychiatrist and get help. A week later, the man goes back to the bar, orders a drink, takes out his dick and pisses all over the bar. Again, the furious barman tells him to get out, and again the man apologises, and says he will definitely get some help from a psychiatrist for his unusual condition. He then leaves.
The following week, the man comes in and the barman stops him before he can order a drink. “It’s okay,” says the man, “I’ve been in treatment with my psychiatrist. Everything is fine.” The barman decides to give the man one last chance and gives him a beer. The man drinks it, gets his dick out, and pisses all over the bar. The barman is stunned. “I thought you’d been to see a psychiatrist,” he says. “I have,” the man replies. “But you’ve just pissed all over my bar again! The barman says. “I know,” says the man. “But I don’t feel guilty about it anymore.”