Reclaiming trust and one’s sanity in an extramarital affair can be an often long and arduous process. The desire to have a cordial and trusting relationship is important and is part of the healing process. Below I offer responses to such a dilemma.
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 last and important section gets at shifting the focus away from the spouse/partner to him/her self. In other words, what does all this mean for the person on the receiving end of an extramarital affair? After that mental shift (which is NOT easy for someone in the pain and turmoil of perhaps losing one’s spouse, family, and home) I, the coach, offer phrases that he/she can relay to his/her spouse in a way that speaks directly of his/her concern and has the best chance of being heard and getting positive results.
Section 1: The “offended spouse” says:
It feels like it will never be over. I’m waiting for him to confess and receive my forgiveness and want to see certain changes in how he acts. I honestly want to have cordial relationship with him, but because he cannot “own” what he has done he continues to act like a jerk toward me when there is no reason for it. I don’t trust myself to pick another partner. I’m tired and worn out. At this point I cannot think of being with another man. It is hard to keep my relationships with my in-laws, though we are very fond of each other and they have been very supportive of me.
Section 2: Personal goals suggested by the coach:
>Shift focus from him and what he is not doing to declaring your own standards for a relationship.
>Learn to value your internal signals in relationships as having validity.
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:
>This tension seems to drag on and on. I want to see an end. I need some hope.
>I eventually want us to act somewhat like friends to each other. I hope you want a cordial relationship as well.
>There are some standards I have for a relationship. I want to work on setting those standards, and want to talk to you abou them.
>I struggle with reading the signals from you (or other men). I doubt myself. I question whether a calm loving relatonship is possible.
What is your situation? Describe your situation. Let it flow. Don’t hold back. Then, ask yourself, “What does this marital affair mean for ME?” What impact does his/her extramarital affair have on my feelings, thoughts and actions? Then rehearse approaching your spouse/partner with phrases that convey the meaning and impact of the infidelity for YOU.