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Infidelity Guide for the Betrayed Spouse #283168
03/03/13 09:08 PM
03/03/13 09:08 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 7,583
New Zealand
Lil Offline OP

Lil  Offline OP

Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 7,583
New Zealand

If you’ve just found out your partner has had an affair, you are probably in shock and feel as if the floor has opened up under you. In some ways your emotions feel dead, yet your body is still alive and must continue to live. But how? Will 'it' ever go away? Will you ever feel happy again? It seems so impossible. Too often you hear friends and family telling you to just “get over it!” and don't seem to understand.

Even if you found out some time ago, you may still be in turmoil, and unsure of what steps to take, or what it is that you want to do from one minute to the next. It doesn't matter how long ago you found out, reading through the following will help you; by explaining some of what is going on, and assisting you to determine if there is an area you haven't thought about or a point that isn't checked off and should be.


This is not a time to make any permanent life-changing decisions.

You do not have to know right now if you are going to stay or go. It may feel like this is an emergency and you have an overwhelming need to do something, anything, just take some action right now!. You may have left the marital home, or thrown your spouse out, or, you may be on the verge of doing so. Despite the desire to do so, paradoxically, these may not bring you the relief you crave. Emotionally, physically, mentally - you are in crisis. Give yourself time to make any important decisions. Your emotions are very raw right now, it is okay to not know which direction to go yet.

The second thing I want you to read is: many who have been on the receiving end of an affair, require counselling and/or psychiatric help. There is no shame in that. Often the emotional backlash leads to severe depression or even suicidal feelings. If you are having serious thoughts about suicide or depression, that are interfering with your ability to function normally, please call a clinic or help line IMMEDIATELY. Once you are in their care, and ready, come back, we'll be here

Take a moment to look around you. Many of the people you know or see on the street have either walked in your shoes or walked in your spouses'. They have cheated or been cheated on. They survived. Some survived to divorce and some survived to recover their marriage. A few survived, but only to sit around and feel sorry for themselves for the rest of their life.

This guide is a compilation of suggestions provided by multiple sources that can help you during, and after, your spouses affair, with plans that have been shown to improve the betrayed spouses chances of helping the affair to end, help you heal from the trauma of being exposed to the fallout of the affair, and help your spouse heal should you choose to recover the marriage. These resources include information from professionals who have studied marriages and infidelity, as well as advice from posters here on Marriage Advocates who either had an affair, or those who have a spouse who had an affair, and who are recovering personally, or who have recovered their marriages after the affair.

With that in mind, note that what is necessary for rebuilding a life and a marriage is different from individual to individual. When pondering whether or not to act upon any of the recommendations here, please first consider all the information offered. While many have used this advice successfully, this is a peer counselling website. Very few of us can claim to be professionals in the field of marriage.

Not all marriages, or affairs are created equal. What you are experiencing will not exactly match what others experienced. Having said that, there are certain predictable patterns in infidelity, and knowing those enables us to help you develop your own plan for personal and marital recovery. Not all of the pattern is linear, so only very rough outlines can be given for any particular topic. Do not be concerned if you read information and find it to be not applicable to you or your situation. There is no point by point check-list, or 12 steps to take. This is just a general guide of the tools considered to be the overall best. Above all give yourself some time. As is often said around here - its a marathon, not a sprint.


Take the opportunity to decide you can believe in yourself, and that you will do so. Decide that you can and will grow from this. Decide that you are not a victim, and you will not be mired in this situation created by your spouse. Right now you may feel pathetic or helpless. Or you may feel undeserving. It doesn't matter. This is an intellectual decision. You do not have to feel a thing.

Next, make a Plan that works toward that

You might be wondering just what is all this talk about 'plans'? As you look around Marriage Advocates you will read about lots of plans. Plan A, Plan B, Plan this, Plan that. The reason why making a plan is so very important is because without a plan of your own, you are relying on other peoples plan for you. Guess what kind of plan your WS has for you? Not very much of one. it certainly doesnt have your best interests in mind. Marriage Advocates will help you to build a plan which will help you meet the challenges that the affair presents, with dignity and courage. On the flip side, without a plan, you may be tempted to act on spur of the moment decisions and feelings. However, feelings can change in a heartbeat. A plan gives you something to refer back to, even when everything around you is no longer making sense. Additionally a plan can be tweaked to fit the purpose as you journey further.


Look into seeing if there is counselling available in your area. Many churches offer free, or low cost counselling. Other area's you may find support are close same-gender friend, a family member, pastor, or therapist. As a betrayed spouse (BS) you may be finding it difficult to eat. This is ok for a short period of time, but we do recommend eating the best food you can now. Vegetables, fruit and protein are essential. Try not to succumb to junk food. However, do not beat yourself up if all you were able to get down today was a few chips. Any food is better than no food. Be cautious about alcohol. Many BS's lose a substantial amount of weight shortly after D-day, and find alcohol affects them more than in the past. Alcohol also has a tendency to loosen up resolve. Some very fine grapes died in the making of a bottle of wine. It would be a shame to waste them on a drunken, sobbing, midnight phone call. The morning after remorse doesn't feel so good either.

See your doctor for a general, as well as a sexual, health check up. WS's are notorious for unprotected sex and may have put you at risk of an sexually transmitted disease/infections. Consider discussing anti-depressants and/or sleeping tablets. Difficulty in sleeping is very common to BS's. Do be on the watch for side effects, and note that many medications prescribed for infidelity related disorders are highly addictive. Look at starting some form of exercise. Exercise helps battle depression, the blahs, the pity me's. At first you may not find exercise enjoyable, but it’s important to keep doing it anyway.

Finally, your personal plan should include options for both staying and leaving the marriage. It is better to have a plan and not need it, than be taken by surprise and having to play catch up with events.


Protect your children. As difficult as things are, try to not rock their worlds unless it is absolutely necessary. However, planning ahead, and then sitting down and talking about what is going on - age appropriately - will help them. A child's identity is composed of parts of Mum and parts of Dad. When drawn into a loyalty battle between parents, the child's identity, security and self-esteem are conflicted and compromised. A child's understanding of adult issues is also often limited. If not carefully told about adult 'indiscretions', or when they make such discoveries themselves, children often fail to comprehend the adult issues, instead becoming confused and feeling that their home base is no longer safe or secure. Children often feel they are to blame when parents split up and it can be a very traumatic time for them. Children are dependent on adult protection, and its is very likely their other parent is incapable of providing adequate support for them at this time. Only you can judge whether they would also benefit from counselling.

Other things to consider as you navigate the children through infidelity/abandonment:

* Some discussion about accepting the inability, or even the inappropriateness, of protecting the child from everything.
* Age-appropriate explanation for what is happening
* It's okay to have boundaries
* What to say to curious friends/other parents
* Children are not the family intermediary
* Both parents love them and will always take care of them
* This is not their fault
* Keeping household rules intact
a. Maintaining homework rules and support
b. Chores
c. Bedtime
d. Curfew
* Talking to the school guidance counsellor. Will this help the children. Is it the school's business?
* What to do if my WS wants the kids to meet the OP? What are our rights?
* Are they vulnerable to predators during a family crisis? On occasion kids feeling abandoned and look for replacements for whoever left/died


Many households are financially dependent on the WS's income or on both incomes.In many the WS may be the bill payer/book keeper and/or online banker in the family. You may not even know how to access your own money.Consider the family assets - talk to a lawyer ASAP. You do not need to file for divorce right now, just set up a legal separation order. This is also the time to set up some parameters for child visitation, removal of possessions, acquiring spousal support and/or child support, and allocates responsibilities for bill payments. Set up financial and legal barriers to prevent the affair from impacting on marital assets as soon as possible, as well as providing future financial protection for the children from the insane spending habits of the wayward. This will reduce the ability of the WS to strip the finances in order to support the affair. From experience we know that many WS's thank the BS later on for taking that step and protecting them from themselves. Do not think that ignoring the financial ramifications of the affair will help your chances of recovery, all it will do is speed you towards financial ruin. A WS will bleed through a nest egg in next to no time in order to impress the OP. This advice is for those dealing with sexual, as well as emotional infidelity. If the affair was a one night stand, they may not be necessary.

Suggested steps to take include: cancel credit cards, cancel fuel cards, ring the banks and freeze term deposits and accounts and discuss opening a personal account under your own name, contact accountant to discuss tax implications, ring utility companies to have the WS's name and access removed, remove the WS cell phone and internet access from the family account account. While it sounds like it would be difficult, it often is surprisingly easy. "Hi, my name is BS, I have just discovered my H is having an affair and I would like......"
The banks particularly love BS's doing it as they hate getting involved in $$$ disputes between couples.
Pro's - it removes concerns each other will abscond with money, and for the BS that the WS will tick up bills for OW that they become liable for
Con's - can be a bother paying off CC within 30 days, and reapplying for a new one. Can be a little embarrassing.

Recommended Reading:
Vibrissa - I just wish someone had thought to actually TELL me
Not2Fun - Just Found Out
RightHereWaiting - Just Found Out
LadyGrey - Protecting Marital Assets
Documentation 101

Last edited by right here waiting; 06/20/21 06:21 PM. Reason: Clean up punctuation marks

AKA Lildoggie

Just found out about your spouses affair?
Infidelity Guide For The Betrayed Spouse

Re: Infidelity Guide for the Betrayed Spouse [Re: Lil] #283169
03/03/13 09:09 PM
03/03/13 09:09 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 7,583
New Zealand
Lil Offline OP

Lil  Offline OP

Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 7,583
New Zealand
Now What About A Plan For The Marriage?

You may be wondering why its take some time to start addressing the actual marriage. The reason for this is only after you have taken care of you, and the important stuff, only then can address the marriage. Dr. Frank Gunzburg points out that there are 3 separate phases to healthily heal a broken relationship:

#1. Healing of the Self
#2. Healing of the Relationship
#3. Healing of the Marriage

In order to assist you in understanding this guide, and others you will read on Marriage Advocates, here are some common abbreviations used that you may find scattered throughout. A more detailed list can be found here

* M = marriage
* A = affair
* R = relationship
* WS = wayward spouse (the person who had the affair)
* FWS = former wayward spouse (had an affair and is now repentant and working to heal from it)
* BS = betrayed spouse (the spouse of the person who had the affair)
* OP = other person
* OPBS = other persons betrayed spouse
* AP = another person
* O&H = openness and honesty
* NC = no contact
* EPs = Extraordinary Precautions
* UA = Undivided Attention
* MC = marriage counselling
* MA = Marriage Advocates

Have I messed up? - for the BS who comes here several weeks/months after D-day; or 'how to put things right'?

Its an amazing person indeed who didn't negatively react even a little bit on D-day. You may have swung from either crying uncontrollably or wanting to physically hurt your spouse. You aren't crazy, you are whirling at trying to make sense of something that makes no sense within your value system. It could be you spent this time love busting/acting crazy/being a doormat. The good news is often at this stage of the affair, the WS is so engrossed in the affair, much of what you have done probably has not registered. Even if the WS attempts use this 'shock response' as rationale for their own behaviour or a reason not to return, there are steps and measures that can be taken to minimise the long term fall out. From this point on, your goal is to project the best you, you can. Not entirely for potentially attracting back the WS, but also to reduce the accusations and impressions of being 'just a crazy betrayed spouse'. Additionally, many of these changes will help you regain control of your life, work towards making you a better person, and will help you make a better life for yourself - with, or without your WS.

So, how to get from messed up to in control of yourself again?

1. Learn. The more you know about affairs, how they start and why they happen, and the more you know about the one that entered through the door of your life uninvited, the more knowledge you have, and the better decisions you can make. The less you know, the worse your decision process will be and the more flawed and self destructive your life is likely to become.

2. Change Your Attitude. Stop crying in front of your WS. The fog means they no longer have any real emotional connection to you, and they will not care. In fact they only see it as a sign of weakness. If a tiny part of them still has some concern for your well being, sheer guilt will ensure they squash it well down. You can still cry, and will often feel the urge for a few weeks. However take a walk, go for a drive, lock yourself in the bathroom and silently scream at the mirror. Any thing that works for you.

Pull your tattered dignity back together. If you feel you had an inappropriate emotional outburst to the WS or OP on, or near D-day, you can apologise if it is weighing heavily on you. However, only apologise for losing control. NEVER apologise for speaking the truth.

Take everything the WS says with the pinch of salt. When they say words to the effect of: "You were a crazy person that day, screaming, throwing my things. Why should I come home to that? This is why we cannot be together. I know you will never forgive me. You will throw this in my face for the rest of our lives...", what they are really doing is looking for ammunition and rationale for their own behaviour.

3. Look Good, Feel Good. Ever heard the saying 'clothes maketh the man?, or woman for that matter. Take a good long look in the mirror. What are you wearing? If it resembles track pants, ripped/paint splattered/college T-shirt and trainers THROW THEM OUT. When you started dating your spouse, you made an extraordinary effort to present yourself in the most appealing way you could. You wore your best clothing, shaved daily, and wore perfume. Over time, the daily grind of marriage made that seem superfluous, yet that extra care and attention to detail is being made by the OP for your WS. Lets be honest, if you had to chose between someone who looks unkempt and slightly dingy, and someone who has obviously taken an effort just for you, whom would be the more appealing?

No one really wants to be a ratty dresser, it just becomes habitual. If you have lost a lot of weight due to the 'BS diet', its probably baggy as well adding insult to injury. A new haircut often doesn't go amiss either. A little effort can go a long way.

Ladies - 5 mins with the make up can dramatically improve your look AND the way you feel. Men, learn to love your razor, shower, and deodorant. Both genders, find and appreciate a good perfume. By the way can I say lingerie? Male or female, a sexy pair of knickers can do wonders for your self esteem. You are probably in the best body shape you have been in years, thanks to your recent weight loss. Get that well fitting bra! Wear those snug little briefs! If it boosts your ego, it is a good thing. There is something curiously empowering about knowing that under your clothing, you look good!

4. Get A Life. What rut are you in? Do you stay at home because going out is too much bother? When was the last time you invited some friends over for dinner? Do you say 'no' to suggestions of getting out of the house habitually? GET A LIFE! Find new hobbies and interests. Get involved. Take charge of your life. You may find a new activity you love, and meet new people to boot. People with interests are interesting. GAL, as it is sometimes written, is not primarily a technique to attract back a WS. You dont 'get a life', to get your spouse back. You Get A Life, to get a life.

5. Project Strength. Learn and set your boundaries, with the most important one being a respectful, yet firm stance of "I will not share my spouse". Respectful means do not make this request with an implication of punishment - as in "do this or I will make you suffer". Simply state that this is too painful an experience to endure, and if the affair is not ended, you will seek either a separation or divorce.

"WS, you have two choices:
1. End the affair instantly and work with me towards restoring our marriage, or
2. I will file as I will not be in a marriage where there is a third party.
I love you and I love our children and I would prefer option 1, but know that I will vigorously pursue option 2 if you don't terminate the relationship with your affair partner immediately."

While the actual emotional and sexual relationship with the OP must cease for recovery to have any chance at all, instant no contact can be a little tricky. Occasionally the WS needs to take a few days to organise around factors such as when the OP is a work mate, or is a safety threat. However this would only be temporary, and require much effort on the part of the WS regarding issues such as transparency, extraordinary precautions, and care and consideration of the BS at all times.

As a BS, do what you can to make option 1. the more appealing option in the interim. A faithful spouse can do a lot to make the marriage very attractive and appealing choice. On the flip side they can make is very undesirable, particularly when it affirms the unfaithful spouse's fog thought.

If the WS refuses to end the affair, you must follow through. Filing, or even divorcing does not necessarily mean there is no hope for reconciliation. It does however mean terminating the WS's expectation that you will accept the affair and choices they have made without regard to you, on their terms.

6. Snoop. Snooping is a fairly controversial tool in the BS armament. Fortunately, you often do not need to do much of it in order to get as much proof as is necessary for the next step - exposure. The primary purpose of snooping it to gain enough information to counteract any gaslighting by the WS that there is no affair, which can often make the BS feel as if they are going insane. This evidence is also very useful should a large scale exposure be necessary, to counter the claims of the WS to others that you are crazy, vindictive or worse.

The various means available for the BS are substantial, and rather than listing them here in full, I suggest you take the time to look over the dedicated 'Spying 201' thread linked at the bottom.

A short list of ways and means would include checking the cell phone usage, noting behavioural changes such as fragrance wearing or excessive showering, shutting down of the computer when you enter a room, unaccounted for absences, a change in sexual intimacy frequency, and a general gut feeling that something is off.

Caveat: Once you have enough information to prove the affair, STOP. There is no delete button in your brain and the things you see will more than likely hurt you very much. The only time you would consider continuing past this point would be if your attorney or lawyer felt there was a need for more information than that already obtained.

7. Exposure. This can be a very good tool for fighting against the affair, and how the WS portrays it. If the WS is remorseful and the affair has been over for some time, it may be unnecessary to expose. Some WS's do choose to confess even in this circumstance to a select group for accountability reasons, or in order to apologise for and explain an absence.

Exposure is exactly what it sounds like. You tell a select group of people with influence, about the ongoing affair - exposing the secret to the light. You do this in order to take away the covert nature of the affair, making it more difficult to sustain, as the fantasy aspect of the affair is substantially reduced, if not destroyed completely. While exposure by itself does not often trigger reconciliation, it does help identify and enlist supporters and friends of the marriage.

Exposure is best used to fit the circumstances. In some situations, the mere threat of exposure is all that is necessary for no contact to be established. For others, it may require exposure to parents, a boss, a good friend, or a pastor. For yet others, a much wider net needs to be cast.

Exposure is NOT to punish, or make the WS come/stay home, it is to make it harder for the WS to lie , and run a demonising smear campaign about the BS, and/or marriage. Exposure empowers the BS, by saying "I will not allow the person who is hurting my family, run it down as well."

The biggest benefit of exposure is it puts a crimp in the hope the WS's and OP have of passing the OP off as a supportive 'friend'. Often this friend is presented as being someone met after the demise of the marriage. Prior to this presentation, the WS will often make attempts to present the BS as the bad guy - controlling, crazy, manipulative and abusive. This helps them justify the affair when it comes out, and after the separation when they suddenly 'meet' this new person who is 'supporting them' through the difficult times they are facing

It is best to take the time to write out a list of possible targets, and work out exactly what information you wish to share with them. Take care to not present the information as idle gossip, getting even, revenge, or airing dirty laundry. Exposure can be one of the toughest things you ever have to do, but the potential benefits are too great to ignore.

Exposure is not necessarily the first thing a BS does, as they need to have a period of 'doing nothing' in order to process, collect proof, getting heads around the recently imploded universe, and finding a plan and support to deal with moving forward

There are 2 ways to expose. One is the 'nuclear/scorched earth' way, and the other is more 'surgical'. Marriage Advocates does not generally promote immediate nuclear exposure as the fall out is often found to be extremely detrimental to recovery. Nuclear exposure would generally only be used when there is zero remorse from the WS, the surgical exposure hasn't provided the expected gains, or there are no signs of the A dying and separation and/or divorce are happening.

One of the most important people to expose to is the BS of the OP. They are able to put as much pressure on the OP, as you are on the WS. From there it should spread in a concentric fashion to those most likely to either support you in your efforts to save the marriage, or to pressure the wayward spouse to end the affair. That basically includes anyone who might care enough to tell them that what they are doing is wrong. The next step would be wider exposure to more people in the sphere of influence of either affair partner, with ever widening exposure as long as the affair continues.

The WS is rarely happy about exposure. They will probably be angry and make statement like :
"I was going to work on it until you..."
"I will never trust you again"
"You're hurting everyone else with this"
"It's nobodies business"
...and a myriad of other very similar comments.

They ALL do it. In almost every single case however, they are over it in a day or two. The best response to this is to just keep repeating some variation on "I am fighting for my marriage/I am fighting for my family/ I know we can fix this"

Steps For Exposure

- Gather information to confirm the affair. Make several copies. Make sure that you have some in different safe places. Keep one copy somewhere easy obtainable, but not easily found by the WS,

- EXPOSE the affair to your spouse. Yes they already know about it, but it's this initial confrontation that puts the affair on the clock. At this time, you should be ready to start executing whatever plan you have in place.

- Wait on any further exposure immediately after step 3. This means not the kids. Not the parents and family. Not to friends, neighbours, workplaces, OP's spouse, Oprah, or anyone else. You need to give some time to let this situation sink in the WS's mind. There's always the chance that the WS will immediately flip, end the affair, and start reconciliation. If you've told the immediate 1.5 million people around you, you're going to have a big mess to deal with.

- Assuming that the WS declines to end the affair, part of the plan would be more surgical exposure. There are pros and cons to stating this up front - such as part of a boundary or consequence to the WS continuing the affair. For example, if you tip your hand, they may try to counter with misinformation.

- When you're going to head to separation, expose more widely. Family and immediate friends probably need to know this information. Children may need to know, depending on the ages.

- We do not favour workplace exposure unless you're talking about a workplace affair. The more exposure that happens, the more likely the WS sees it as a punishment (retribution) and the less likely they are to return to the marriage.

There are very good, thoughtful exceptions, such as when there is a possibility of abusive, violent spouses, or AP's being involved. Exposure may not be appropriate and possibly harmful if there is a history of violence or abuse in any party. If you as a BS fear violence from your WS, or the OP, safe guard yourself by having supportive people around for the first few days. In worst case scenario's you may need to consider moving to a shelter.

If the BS's goal is attempting recovery, they should refrain from exposing to their own family. The WS's family will be able to get past the actions of the WS, but the BS's family often struggle. Recovery is difficult enough without a civil war between your family and WS. If however family support is intrinsic then they should be told.

Recommended Reading:

Spying 201
The Betrayed Spouse Fog
The Wayward Fog
Exposing The Affair
Demanding An End To The Affair
The Goddess Thread

AKA Lildoggie

Just found out about your spouses affair?
Infidelity Guide For The Betrayed Spouse

Re: Infidelity Guide for the Betrayed Spouse [Re: Lil] #283170
03/03/13 09:09 PM
03/03/13 09:09 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 7,583
New Zealand
Lil Offline OP

Lil  Offline OP

Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 7,583
New Zealand
CAN I save my marriage? - Advice for BS's who want to make an honest attempt to restore the marriage, even only to be able to walk away with a clear conscience.

What are Plan A and B, 5LL, 180, EN's LB's etc?

These are commonly accepted names for concepts used by many websites focused on infidelity. The letter designation does not mean it is a better or worse tool for the BS than any other, just that the originator chose that label when developing the programme. Like everything else, these methods are not magic bullets, or things that will bring the A to a screaming halt, blow away all of the fog, or cause the WS to fall at your feet and beg for forgiveness.

Emotional needs are part of a larger concept, common to most marriage programmes, i.e. that love can be considered to be a tangible product, contained in a tank, bucket or bank. For this I am going to use the bank idea.

When we meet someone, we open a bank account with their name on it. Every time that person does something we like, and consider to be a positive expereince, we add $$$ to their balance. If they do something we consider negative, we take away from the balance. When the balance is very high, it triggers a feeling of being in love. When it gets very low, and in fact goes into overdraft, it triggers negative feelings in us, right up to hate.

Right now as a BS, your balance with your WS is more than likely over drawn. You may be doing some small things that add $$$, and keep them from closing the account, but the WS guilt over the affair, inadvertent love busters by you, and plain old affair hormones mean that the WS percieves you making some serious withdrawals, which will ultamatly lead to an account closure.

In an affair, what often happens is the OP is able to fill the top 1 or 2 EN's that the BS used to do, and the reason the WS fell in love with them in the first place, but for whatever reason is not doing now. This is often why there is an element of 'cake eating' in infidelity, particularly by WH's. The WS needs both OP and BS to fill the top EN's.

Unfortunately WW's often have disengaged from the marriage before starting an affair. This requires a somewhat different approch when implementing Plan A. Along with plugging the LB leakage, we also need to start getting some deposits in the bank as well, which is where the emotional needs comes in.

We term the deposits 'Filling Emotional Needs", and the withdrawals "love busters" - from the Marriage Builders Programme developed by Dr W. Harley.

Dr Gary Chapman's programme 'The Five Love Languages" is very similar with a love tank. However 5LL has 5 primary needs, that can have different 'dialects'.

The 5 Love Languages are: Time, Gifts, Acts of Service, Words of Affirmation and Physical Touch.

The Emotional Needs are: Admiration, Sexual fulfilment, Recreational Companionship, Attractive spouse/physical attractiveness, Openness and Honesty, Domestic Support, Family Support, Financial Support, Affection, and conversation, with the first 5 being primarily desired by men and the latter 5 by women.

The love busters are : Selfish Demands, Dishonesty, Disrespectful Judgements, Annoying Habits, and Independent Behaviour.

Plan A is a method where you make an all out effort to maximize your ability to do the things that make your spouse want to be with you, while avoiding doing the things that make them want to stay away from you. These are really the things you did that originally caused your spouse to fall in love with you and decide to marry you, so these are the things you will need to learn to do again. You begin by identifying your spouses top Emotional Needs and coming up with a plan to meet those needs as much as is within your power. You do not discuss this strategy with your WS and do not request consent to do this. You also identify those things that you do that affect your spouse negatively - the 'Love Busters' in Marriage Builders parlance.

During this period, the BS works on enforcing boundaries, letting go of attempts to control the WS, foregoing expectations, always stating the truth in a loving yet firm manner, making no apologies for that which they have not done, and working toward creating a fulfilling life for themselves, and their children -regardless of whether or not the WS is a part of it.

Plan A is not a guaranteed way to end an affair.
Plan A is not avoiding all conflict and keeping the peace.
Plan A is not becoming a doormat.
Plan A is not allowing the affair to continue while you try to be nice and remain friendly in the face of what seems likely to become divorce proceedings.

Plan B is where the BS cuts off all contact with the WS in order to protect their mental health, to let the BS have a life with some sense of normalicy built into it, heal the raw emotions of having been cheated on and allow time for the affair to come to an end before deciding to go ahead and divorce. It protects the BS from the wayward spouse and the pain s/he is causing. It is something you do and not something that happens to you. It is an action and not a reaction. It is not designed to bring them back to you, broken, repentant and begging forgiveness. It is not designed to make them pay for the transgressions they have committed and it is not designed to make them have an epiphany and call the affair off.

Plan B takes advantage of the fact that almost all affairs end, and that almost all WS will make some attempt to contact the BS with a view to reconciling. By not exposing themselves to the daily horror that is the affair, there is a chance of some residual good feelings for the WS remain in the BS, making reconciliation possible.

The 5 Love Languages
The basic concept of the five love languages as defined by Dr Gary Chapman is that people communicate and feel love in different ways. These languages consist of:
1. Physical Touch - this person feels love when others touch them lovingly.
2. Acts of Service - this person feels love when others help them out or serve them.
3. Words of Affirmation - this person feels love when others verbally approve or affirm them.
4. Quality Time - this person feels love when others spend time with them.
5. Gifts - this person feels love when others give them thoughtful things.
Humans all need each of these different things, but typically there is one that really speaks to an individual. Every one has a primary way of expressing and interpreting love, and for whatever reason, people are usually drawn to those who speak a different love language than their own.

The 180 is as simple as it sounds - whatever you are doing that isn't working, needs to be turned around 180 degrees. The goal of the 180 is to become the type of person that you want to be. To do things that benefit you, not because it is something you believe your spouse wants. It is not about manipulating your spouse. It helps you become strong enough to detach and begin building a life without the WS. It may have the effect of making them sit up and take notice, but what they are noticing is a self-determined choice to get on with your life, and a belief in yourself. By yourself, for yourself. When you truly let go of your WS and move on, they sometimes begin to appreciate what they've lost. If you make empty threats, set boundaries you have no intention of defending, and only pretend to move on, your WS will continue to assume you aren't going anywhere. Generally they'll be right.

This approach takes advantage of the fact that the wayward spouse feels the betrayed spouse is a 'given' in their life and that the WS is the arbiter of whether the marriage survives - after all, it is all about them. Pulling back, getting on with your own life and disengaging from the WS, occasionally tempts them to follow. Its some what like twitching a piece of string in front of a kitten and getting them to follow it across the room.

Why Should I Try These Methods?
The primary benefit for the betrayed spouse, even if the marriage does not survive, is that using these techniques helps rebuild self esteem and self reliance which will stand the BS in good stead in the future regardless and independent of the WS

Any life trauma is an excellent opportunity to grow and change. It frees you from the role you've cast yourself in -- as spouse, as half of a particular whole -- and lets you resurrect dreams of what your life could be or could have been if you'd made different choices. That's what should be embraced. Not what will make you more attractive to a wayward spouse, but what dreams you thought you had sacrificed for the sake of family, stability and obligation which might be revived.

The side benefit might be that your spouse returns to you because they see the spark of the person you once were, but it's just as likely to be that another potential spouse arrives who is mature and insightful enough to appreciate you for who you are, rather than who they would make you to be.

Suggested reading:
Plan A: The first steps to battling an affair
Plan B: The next stage
The Five Love Languages
The Counter Intuitive Thread

AKA Lildoggie

Just found out about your spouses affair?
Infidelity Guide For The Betrayed Spouse

Re: Infidelity Guide for the Betrayed Spouse [Re: Lil] #283171
03/03/13 09:10 PM
03/03/13 09:10 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 7,583
New Zealand
Lil Offline OP

Lil  Offline OP

Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 7,583
New Zealand

Take a chance or kick 'em to the curb?

There seems to be two schools of thought on infidelity support forums in regard to how a BS should handle an affair. One says the BS must confront the WS directly and demand that an end the affair, and throw them out if they do not comply or risk looking like a wimp. The other says that a BS should follow a Marriage Builders style of attempting Plan A, follow it up with Plan B and only after some time has passed jumping to Plan D.

Only you can decide which road to take, whether to attempt to take a chance on the marriage, or go directly to divorce. Either way, you do have the rest of your life to divorce, and only now to make an attempt. There are a few factors that may influence your decision either way.

Stay or Go? Which is the right answer? Do I take my cheating spouse back, put my faith in them again and hope they won't do this again? Or do I cut my losses and risk always wondering if I should have tried harder? Its not an easy decision, and if you're grappling with it now, you most certainly SHOULDN'T decide it overnight. You need time to weigh the pros and cons.

Some Reasons To Consider Rebuilding:

1. You love your spouse. You WANT a life with them, and you're willing to work through this so that you can have it.
2. Your spouse is remorseful, and you believe they do not want to repeat their 'mistake'. Either they want that life or they don't. If they don't, and they're willing to work with you on it, you may decide to stay.
3. You want your kids to have a 2-parent family (a.k.a. 'staying for the kids'). If your spouse is willing to work on your marriage, and you want your children's worlds to be preserved intact, you might decide its worth fighting for. Children and family can be a powerful pull, and the simple desire to do what's best for your children outweighs all the wounded pride in the world.
4. Its a bad time to leave. Maybe you're drowning in debt. Maybe your children are too young, or old enough to know the real story. Maybe you have health issues. Whatever the reason, divorcing right now would make the problem a thousand times worse, in your eyes.
5. You made a vow. You promised through better and worse, and you meant it. You made a vow before friends and family and God. Your spouse decided to break it, but you didn't.
6. You don't want to 'quit'. Maybe you consider divorce a 'failure', and being perceived as 'failing' at your marriage is humiliating. Maybe you just don't want that Other Woman/Man to 'win' in their efforts to break up your marriage. Whatever the reason, you just don't want to throw in the towel without a fight.

Some Reasons To Consider Divorcing

1. Because you no longer feel what you felt on your wedding day. For some people, the affair is just the final straw in a long and painful disintegration process. For others, it tore apart the fabric of the marriage so badly, it can never be repaired. You may decide that you can never have a marriage that will fulfil you, so its time to end it.
2. For Your Children. If the fallout from the affair and the current state of your marriage are making your children miserable, then you may want to end the chaos permanently. Yes, divorce is hard on children. But so is staying and watching one parent behave irresponsibly and another live as a doormat. What lessons do they take from that?
3. Separate Identity. You will be answerable only to you. Free to do what you want, when you want, the way you want, within reason. Financially, legally and emotionally responsible only for YOU and your children, if you have them.
4. No more lies, no more doubts. You don't have to weigh what your spouse says to you anymore because whether they lie to you or not doesn't matter. Your life belongs to you and they have no say in it, and the only power they have over it is the power you chose to give them.
5. No more risk of STD's. Many of those involved in affairs do not use condoms, leaving you at risk for a Sexually Transmitted Disease. If you haven't been tested yet, do so. Be safe. Remember, its not just your spouse you're sleeping with, but every partner their Other Woman/Man slept with, also.
6. You've lost all respect for your spouse, and you don't believe you can ever regain it. There comes a point in time where you have to decide whether or not you will be able to contribute to THEIR quality of life. Can you get over this? Can you move on and re-establish intimacy, some trust, respect for them? If the answer is 'no', what kind of marriage would you be rebuilding?

No one can make this decision but you, and if they're interested, your spouse. If they say they want to work it out, then you have a bigger decision to make. Don't take it lightly, don't burn your bridges, and don't act quickly or rashly. Most of all, don't compromise yourself.

What road to take? Signposts to look for, conditions to consider, hazards to avoid.

Early recovery is a very trying time for both the BS and the WS. For many WS's it is a time where they feel pulled between their emotions and their minds. This can lead to a phenomenon called 'Withdrawal'. Withdrawal is a very painful stage for the WS. It is made up of a combination of thoughts and feelings including anxiety, restlessness, guilt, confusion, depression and occasionally actual physical pain. They feel a sense of loss, not necessarily over the OP, but over the relationship and how it filled certain needs. In a remorseful person with a conscience, withdrawal creates a terrible conflict.

Unfortunately, rather like an addict thinks one more fix will stop the craving, the symptoms of withdrawal can lead the WS to think contact with the OP will take away the misery. It is very hard to want to sympathise with the WS in withdrawal, especially when you are in your own pain and unhappiness. Do your best to show your care for the WS as a person. As long as the wayward spouse maintains no contact with the other person, those feelings will gradually fade. For most people they fade in a few weeks.

One thing that can help the BS to determine how recovery is going, is "trust, but verify". A truly remorseful WS should be being entirely honest and transparent, even if at first it seems unnatural to you both. This is not to punish the WS, but to help the BS feel safe again. While the actual methods used will vary from couple to couple, some tools/methods include: activating GPS tracking on the WS's cell phone, swapping cell phones on random days, making frequent contact during the day (phone calls, text, pxts), informing the BS if there will be any change in the daily schedule, writing, and giving to the BS, a no contact letter for the OP, changing cell and/or home phone numbers, sharing all e-mail passwords, deactivating social networking sites, removing any of the things that helped make the affair possible, and organising an accountability partner. These may not be necessary forever, often as trust returns, couples renegotiate the requirements.

Remember, the reason the affair happened, was because the participants failed to take even the most ordinary of precautions. Extraordinary Precautions are a tangible list of boundaries the WS writes. They are an acknowledgement of not being able to rely on natural ability, but to go beyond the norm. Its not so much a list of restriction imposed by the BS, but an acknowledgement of areas the WS needs to focus on in order to protect the marriage, and help make the BS feel safe from a future infidelity situation. The best EP's are written in partnership. While both spouses are whirling from d-day for months and months, attempts and actions by a repentant and remorseful WS will be apparent.

Other things to consider. Do you feel:

1. The WS is truly remorseful and at least trying to make amends?
2. Is the WS being transparent and honest?
3. Is the WS willing to go to marriage counselling?
4. Do you actually want to stay in the marriage?

A refusal by the WS to end the A and return to the M doesn't mean that recovery is not possible, but it is a tougher road for the BS. Assuming the WS has chosen recovery, consider their commitment to doing what ever you require to feel safe in the M. Transparency and eliminating independent behaviour are crucial to a BS who feels vulnerable to further deceit. This requirement doesn't only protect you, it protects the M from further destruction. It's in the best interest of both spouses and the M if the BS feels safe about their choice to attempt recovery and rebuilding after an A.

Suggested Reading:
Betrayed Spouse 101
Extraordinary Precautions
Ending Your Affair
Marital Statistics
Lay Your Burden Down

AKA Lildoggie

Just found out about your spouses affair?
Infidelity Guide For The Betrayed Spouse

Re: Infidelity Guide for the Betrayed Spouse [Re: Lil] #283172
03/03/13 09:11 PM
03/03/13 09:11 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 7,583
New Zealand
Lil Offline OP

Lil  Offline OP

Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 7,583
New Zealand

False Recovery

WS's have a favourite trick employed by illusionists everywhere, called "misdirection." They frequently attempt to shift responsibility for their behaviour onto their BS. Just as batterers claim to be provoked, controllers contend that doubt or suspicion make their domination necessary and substance abusers blame others for their dependency; WS's often point to the 'neglect' by their spouses as the reason for cheating.

This can lead to the BS feeling guilty, believing that somehow they had a hand in the WS's A. This leads to further undermining of their sense of worth, and even feeling responsible for thier own pain. The BS may realize that they were not the most loving spouse that they could have been. The WS often fuel this, as justification for the A. None of this is a cause for an A, but the BS may not figure this out at first.

So the BS settles, waiting for the real truth about the extent of the A. To all extents and purposes, the A is over, since it cannot be proven otherwise and life becomes 'business as usual'. Months pass and that is the only thing that changes. The BS is now at their wits end because they want a better M, but the WS is content with status quo, leaving the BS lost as to where to go from there. Unfortunately, it is all too possible to have complete no contact with the original OP, change in the WS's actions and interactions and still the WS can be wayward in thinking. This can lead to a restarting of the affair or another new one with no real warning.

Many a promising recovery, has turn false. A false recovery is one where the affair never ended (went underground) or was restarted shortly after the WS came home. It is usually caused by an inability to withstand the symptoms of withdrawal. The BS often see this initial recovery attempt as the one big shot at recovery. Then fear takes over and poor choices are made, and the BS too soon, and too easy lays their heart out there yet again to the wayward. Often the false recovery is more damaging to the BS, than the original affair.

Signs of false recovery include:
Difficult to contact, avoidance of sexual contact, lack of care and concern for the BS, crying, anger, continuing fog babble, continuing desire for 'privacy', has not apologised indicating a lack of remorse, still secretive, uses your hurt to justify not fully engaging in the marriage, attempts to set terms and conditions, continues to state the BS was the reason for the A, blame shifts, slight changes in stories, continued dishonesty, coldness, distant, extreme boredom, changing work schedule, difficult to reach on phone, disappearing, still insisting on needing space, holds onto affair memento's, discusses contacting the OP for 'closure', finding contraceptives, lack of commitment, a sense of insincerity, WS acts like they are doing the BS a favour, lying when confronted with evidence of ongoing contact.

This list may resemble a red flag guide of an affair pre D-day. Sadly, a false recovery often brings back the entire wayward personality. While not all of these are an absolute indicator of a false recovery, several of them in a row does indicate caution. Remember, the false recovery is often more destructive than the original affair.

Finally, it requires more than just a lifting of the fog of the affair to truly change someone from wayward, to a FORMER wayward status. As long as the phrase "I'm sorry, but..." still permeates conversations, the F has not yet been earned. In fact, it isn't even really pending. Rather, it indicates that the WS still has a sense of GIVE and TAKE rather than GIVE and RECEIVE. A WS may be willing to do SOME actions that do look repentant. But there are some they will refuse that indicate unrepentance.

Steps Towards Recovery

There are no simple 1, 2, 3 steps for recovering from an affair. This guide clarifies the essentials that generally need to be included in the recovery process. The journey of recovery is often a lengthy process with few or no shortcuts. Even when couples do "everything right," the journey is seldom smooth. It's likely instead to be a very jagged path with two steps forward and one step back.

Recovery often tends to be far more complex than most couples either want or expect. Even the very definition of recovery itself is complicated. For instance, staying married is no guarantee of personal recovery, and personal recovery is no guarantee of rebuilding the marriage. The deceived spouse can personally recover through their own effort, but it takes commitment and effort from both partners to rebuild the marriage. Note that the goal here is not just "staying married." The objective is to end up with a marriage that is strong and loving, and hopefully even more so than before the affair.

An affair is only a symptom of marital breakdown. Yes, you remained faithful to the marriage, but you still need to take a honest look at your role in the marriage prior to the A. This means that there are requirements for the BS in order to recover the marriage. An affair does not promote the betrayed spouse into sainthood.

Don't use the A as a weapon. Constantly bringing up the affair is a love buster for both your WS and for yourself. The affair is not leverage - its an unpleasant event that you can use the lessons from to grow as a spouse and as an individual. Don't ignore your LBs or those of your spouse's ENs you weren't meeting well. You both need to address all the root causes of the affair, and offer a solid plan for marital recovery. It should not be one-sided, however. The plan should make the wayward spouse and the betrayed spouse equally responsible for following the overall plan.
Participate in a marriage-focused recovery plan such as marriage counselling (MC), attending a marriage seminar, and/or enrolling in a married couples program. Dont try to bury the A, which only "buries it alive" making it is continuing burden you'll carry forever. Take your time, avoiding quick decisions that may be overly influenced by emotions. Learn to do the win-win waltz as a partnership team with your spouse. Think long-term, how you will both live with your decisions, without second-guessing yourself or each other.

A 'no contact letter' or NCL is an excellent tool for the recovering couple to utilise. For the BS, it can be a litmus test as to the sincerity, and remorse of the WS. Often a WS will refuse to write one, saying they had already ended the A so a NCL would be superfluous, they may say it would only be bringing up old hurts, they may even say they dont want to hurt the OP's feelings. However this is the perfect time to write one, as it reassures the BS as to how genuine the WS is being, and makes the WS fully consider just how many people are impacted by the decision to 'do something for them self' ie have an A.

For the WS, writing a NCL gives them the opportunity to give the BS tangible proof that they are willing to do what ever it takes to get the marriage working again. It shows determination to re-win their BS's trust again.

The NCL is not a 'good bye true love' letter, or even much of an acknowledgement of the OP at all. Primarily it is an apology to the BS that the OP reads, and a statement that there will be no contact between the AP's ever. Even if the marriage breaks down again. It also states that if the Affair Partner attempts to make contact in any way, the WS will immediatly tell the BS. This includes a phone call,text message, or a letter from the other person.

A link to several sample NCL's is included at the end.

The Emotional Booby Traps

Most experts suggest refraining from making any sort of serious choices or decisions while in a state of emotional turmoil. These include buying a car or house, NOT buying a car or house previously decided upon, moving to a new place, changing or leaving a job and a bunch of other things that can include ending a marriage. Emotions make very poor reasons for choices. The part of our brain that feels has no data processing built in, it is more of a sort of I/O device. When it is allowed to rule over our reason, the choices are seldom lasting, what we really want or what could be considered in our best interest.

D-day is the equivalent of a psychological trauma. There will be times of sadness, times that are better than others, times of inner turmoil and times when the normal, isn't. Chemical processes are occurring in your nervous system that put you in a state of chronic hyper-arousal making you feel agitated, anxious, panicked, and sleep deprived. Your rage may feel uncontrollable. You may feel sick, be unable to eat, or stop eating. Your world is suddenly upside down, and narrowed, nothing else seems to exist except the affair. Your body eventually needs a respite from this state and you go numb, nothing seems real, you cant feel anything and feel isolated and strangely disconnected from others. Then there is a reminder of what happened and you are plunged into the turmoil all over again. This is all normal. Only time, and patience with yourself, will lead to healing and normality

'Normality' doesn't happen nearly as quickly as what you'd like, so expect yourself to be distracted and absent minded. You've maybe put the milk in the cupboard in the AM and it's not found until the evening. It's just milk. You aren't crazy, you are just trying to make sense of something that makes no sense within your value system.
You might scream and yell with tears rolling down your face, say things that would never have come out of your mouth prior. This fades. Do your best to keep your vocabulary under control, you are human and these emotions that are more powerful than what you ever expected. While you can't take back words that were said, you can apologize. The rollercoaster ride of up/down/love/hate is a vicious one that changes by minute, hour and day.

Never blame yourself for the affair. At any time, the WS could have talked to you. They could have asked you to join in marital coaching. They could have read a book about marital issues. They could have asked you to look at some marriage materials with him. They could have used the Internet to find answers for the marital issues they thought existed. Even if they did try all of that, and you did not respond, they could have at any time separated, and filed for divorce.However they did not, and they ended up going outside the marriage. Please remember that the decision to have the affair was not yours, and that you didn't "make him have an affair" or "drive her to have an affair".

Having one's needs met, or not met within the marriage may be at issue. However, the way to solve the problem is NOT to have an affair. The way to solve the problem is to have an adult discussion, go to counselling, read marital-related materials, etc. Having an affair will not solve marital problems - it CAUSES MARITAL PROBLEMS.

The number one priority for a BS, needs to be one of being able to recognize that this uncertainty does not mean the abdication of power to decide, but rather learn to control the emotional responses in a way that lets one act from choices, rather than reacting to the up and down and all over the place emotional roller coaster. Stop focusing on how to control the outcome and actions of the cheating spouse and focus entirely on what you have control over.

What about Forgiveness?

One of the most difficult parts of infidelity is forgiveness. Many betrayed spouses think 'justice' (or revenge) will heal them. They look for certain milestones to pass, believing that is when everything will 'be all right again'. However this just leads to disappointment time and time again because these do not bring healing, comfort and fulfilment. Anger doesn't stay locked away in a neat little box. What will lead to real healing for you, is forgiveness.

Forgiveness is a process and can take time. This length of time depends on many variables such as the length of time since D-day, how long the affair last after D-day, whether the affair lasted a few months or several years, and whether or not the marriage recovered. It is also a very personal thing, a commitment that has to come from the heart. Feelings follow actions. Trying to forgive is the first step to actually forgiving. By refusing to forgive you are opening up the rest of your life to be eaten up by resentment and bitterness.

Surviving infidelity is 5% about the situation and 95% about your response to it. A real breakthrough happens when youre able to change your emotional response from seeing yourself as a victim, to seeing yourself as a survivor. Another aspect of forgiveness is detachment. This means not allowing the weakness of your WS any more control over your mental and spiritual well-being. Remaining angry and bitter over their unfaithfulness, invariably makes their affair a part of who you are by obsessing over it every chance you get. Detaching helps by giving you the freedom to forgive.

Forgiveness is more for the Betrayed Spouse than the Wayward Spouse. The BS needs to forgive more than the WS needs to be forgiven, particularly if you re attempting to recover your marriage. Without forgiveness you will struggle to love your WS are they are, rather than as you want them to be. However, you cannot force forgiveness onto some one, you cannot make them accept your forgiveness.

We are not saying that by forgiving your WS, you have to lose the right to grieve the loss of your 'old' marriage, and how you once perceived it to be. Nor that we are asking you to deny the hurt that was caused. Instead, we are saying grieve without being lost in despair.Instead of saying, This is too painful to let go, say instead, Because this IS so painful, I have to let it go. No, you will not forget everything and perhaps you should not forget everything but to rebuild your life, alone or together, you will need to let the pain die down.

Reminded yourself that unless you control your own actions, you will be bound by your own stubbornness to remain in the anger and resentment stage. The constant dwelling on what happened is what keeps people stuck there.

As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in prison.
- Nelson Mandela

Recommended Reading:
False Recovery Questionnaire
Emotional Memory Management - Dealing with triggers
Healing vs Curing
No Contact Letters

AKA Lildoggie

Just found out about your spouses affair?
Infidelity Guide For The Betrayed Spouse

Re: Infidelity Guide for the Betrayed Spouse [Re: Lil] #283173
03/03/13 09:11 PM
03/03/13 09:11 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 7,583
New Zealand
Lil Offline OP

Lil  Offline OP

Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 7,583
New Zealand

Healing Yourself As The BS

There are five stages of normal grief. They were first proposed by Elsabeth Kubler-Ross in her 1969 book On Death and Dying. We spend different lengths of time working through each step and express each stage more or less intensely. The five stages do not necessarily occur in order. We often move between stages.

Infidelity can cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Independent counselling can help with techniques and methods to overcome PTSD, and help you move on. Some areas have support groups for those suffering from PTSD.

Work towards letting go of the anger. While short term anger is a coping mechanism for releasing tension and letting off steam, long term it is unhealthy and can be down right destructive to your mental and emotional health. If you carry the anger on for long enough, it may cause you to physically hurt yourself, or someone else.

Along with forgiving the WS, try to forgive the OP. This does not mean you need to inform them of it, just that for your own mental health and well being, that you let go of the hurt and resentment.

Surround your self with a support team. Your spouse can play an important part in your recovery, but if they do not co-operate, seek out friends and family. A specialised support group such as Marriage Advocates can give you advice and sympathy from a 'been there, done that' point of view.

Take a look across he entire spectrum of your life, rather than focusing on the period that encompassed the affair. Think on your achievements, about times when others have praised you, or expressed admiration. Take pride in your personal skills and abilities. Appreciate your personal morals and ethics. When the 'stinking thinking' starts, tell that inner voice that you, not your circumstances, define yourself

If both the WS and BS wants to reconcile, there may be a period when the BS fears that the WS will not have the patience to hang on until the BS regains trust and acceptance again. It is natural to be concerned about it, and while easier to say than do, try not to get to hung up and concerned over this. The expereince of being the BS will have made you much stronger, and frankly if they cannot wait, perhaps it is best they go. After all, what happens the next time things get tough? All you can do as the BS is encourage then when you see they are making an attempt, and continue to be honest.

As the architect of your own healing, do be patient and gentle with yourself. There is no other way to heal than with lashings of time, and that cannot be hurried up.

Helping The WS To Heal

Do not use resentment as a punishment. There comes a time where you will have to either be all in for the marriage, or call it quits. It is not fair to anyone to dangle the affair as leverage, discipline, punishment, or to keep the WS off balance. In early recovery, the WS doesn't have a lot to hope in, and to hold onto. Shame, guilt and other emotions are the reason for that.

Notice efforts by the WS to help you heal and feel safe again. Encourage the WS to forgive themselves. Be available to talk about the affair, but do not encourage dwelling on the hurt and pain. Show you are safe to talk to, and that you love them.

- Do not expect your WS to read your mind. Practise loving, radical honesty, even when it feels uncomfortable.

-Do not excuse the A. Infidelity is absolutely wrong, you dont need to temper that'

- Do ask the questions you need to ask, even the detailed ones

- Do not make promises

- Be honest about the hurt and anger you are experiencing

- Be honest about what you can not do - if approaching or in the midst of intimacy and you cannot stop the mind movies, then stop, don't pretend

- Ask for what you need passwords, cell phone, email, keylogger, etc.

- Take it one day at a time. Leave speculation for later

- Urge your WS to get help. Either Independent Counselling, or marriage counselling. Starting a thread on Marriage Advocates may also be beneficial.

- Help your WS find support - family, close friends, pastors

- If emotion gets the better of you and you say or do hurtful things, apologise for the things - but not feeling hurt.

- After allowing time to feel the hurt, vent the anger, watch to see the good work, etc. realise that there is never going to be a "good" time to decide to forgive. There was not going to be a magic day when you wake up not hurting with no memory and can say "I forgive you." Chose to forgive....over and over....because real forgiveness is not some one time trite statement.

- Once the decision to restore the M is made, make it a WE thing, complete with exploring the things WE have done or not done that hurts the M.

-Choose to see your spouse, not the affair

- Some sort of commitment to the marriage by the BS would help the WS feel that their efforts are not all in vain. Even if only a commitment to "I will stay and work on the M for the next 12 months."

- Do not hold the 'get out of the marriage free' card indefinatly after starting recovery.

- Do work honestly on your '50%' of the marriage. Discuss what you do that hurts the marriage and work on removing them

- Give up thoughts of vengeance.

Typical Timeline

Like everything to do with infidelity, there is no set pattern of events, just a general guide. Generally experts agree that full healing can take place in two years, with some couples taking longer and others recovering sooner. The length of time it takes is directly related to what happens immediately after the affair is discovered.

* Trauma Discovery to 6 months: During this phase, the BS will be in shock and experiencing significant emotional trauma as a result of finding out about the affair. Often BS's feel angry, vengeful, and hopeless. This phase is a roller coaster of emotions, ranging from loss and grief, to rage and frustration, and can be accompanied by bouts of tears. Both the WS and the BS struggle to think clearly during this phase, and they may experience physical symptoms such as loss of appetite, weight or concentration.
* Issues Clarification 3 to 6 months. It is during this time that couples begin to examine in more detail what led to the affair. Although there is still some emotional instability, they want to understand why the affair happened. The sooner couples can begin this process, the sooner they can work towards change to ensure it doesn't happen again. Learning about, and resolving this can be vital during this extremely psychologically stressful time.
* Addressing the Problem 6 months to 1 year. This is when the real work begins. As the emotions become more manageable, spouses tackle the difficult task of working on the issues in the marriage that made it so unfulfilling. There will be highs and lows, but they will be much less frequent.

Once the roughest patches are in the past, there is time for the couple to embrace the new relationship they have created. Hopefully, by working together, they will have developed stronger, and more genuine bonds. Trust may still be difficult for the BS, and each will have difficult days accepting that the previous life they knew has been changed forever. There will be days where both spouses still struggle to understand why the affair happened. But by practising techniques and utilising new tools, couples can continue to develop an open, honest and new relationship, free of the encumbrances of the affair.

Tools For Recovery
Recovery is an exciting time. It is some of the hardest work you will ever do in your marriage. Some days can be challenging beyond your belief, others can be sweeter than you ever dreamed your marriage could be.

This is when you will need patience, love, forgiveness, trust, learn 'acting as if', becoming friends, getting to know yourself and spouse again, learning what you missed the first time, learning what is different. Expecting to see more and react less. Observing the process and enjoying the good. Recognize that you will not, and should not reclaim the marriage you once had. You will be better served by
relinquishing the old relationship and building a new one, after who would want to return to a marriage that was so bad, it resulted in an affair.

- During recovery, remember to laugh. Find humour in unlikely events. Laughing releases endorphins, which are natures 'fell good' hormones. Enjoy being together. Try to find one thing every day to make your spouse laugh.
- Find new activities to do together. Couples that play together, stay together. Common interests give you common topics of conversation
- Set a date night. It can be as costly or as inexpensive as your budget allows. Studies show that couples who spend between 5-20 hours a week together without other people (including children) are more likely to have a happy, successful marriage.
- Make plans together. Short, medium and long terms goals give you a common focus, and provide a intimate topic of conversation
- Be courteous. Treat each other at least as well as a complete stranger. Remembering to say thank you keeps the relationship friendly and let the other one know you care.
-Be open and honest about your feelings. A small argument can turn into a major row if you pretend nothing is wrong.
-Practise the Policy of Joint Agreement. Remember to use safe negotiations.
-Discuss 'just compensation'. This will differ from couple to couple, and for some will not be necessary. Some BS's ask for a monetary sum akin to that spent on the OP for their own discretionary use. Some ask for a holiday, or break for some couple time, and bonding. For some, it is EP's and an apology. Only you can decide.s


It doesn't take two to five years to 'recover a marriage' from an affair. That is a general rule of thumb, and making it sacrosanct is missing the point. It usually takes three to six months to get on the road to a happy marriage if each person works on it for the rest of their life. This applies to any marital recovery with or without an affair.

Recommended Reading
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Surprise! You're in Recovery. Now what?
Forgiving the OP
The Betrayed Spouses Role After The Affair
First Aid For The Betrayed - Richard Alan
Surviving an Affair - Dr W Harley
The 5 Love Languages - Dr G Chapman
Boundaries - Cloud and Townsend
31 Reasons To Stop Your Affair - Affair Recovery Centre

AKA Lildoggie

Just found out about your spouses affair?
Infidelity Guide For The Betrayed Spouse

Re: Infidelity Guide for the Betrayed Spouse [Re: Lil] #409322
05/13/16 04:54 AM
05/13/16 04:54 AM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 10,887
Orchid2 Offline
Orchid2  Offline
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 10,887
Great post. Going to share it on the I/A forum.


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