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Life After the Affair

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Life After the Affair

 

Earlier: Recovering From an Affair

“The cruelest lies are often told in silence.” — Robert Louis Stevenson

There is no bigger paradigm shift that a relationship experiences than in the aftermath of disclosing or discovering an affair. The betrayal cuts deep and shreds not only the trust between the couple, but often the ability to trust one’s own judgment and the agreements that we believed defined our lives. Less than a third of all couples who encounter the experience, which is more than half of all of us, actually heal the experience. Many couples never get beyond the initial crisis that the affair creates, choosing to leave the relationship with their wounds intact and the rest of the relationship in tatters.

Often this knee jerk response is a result of fear and ignorance. The pain and instability it creates feels all-consuming and we don’t know how to navigate the process. Considering how prevalent the experience of affairs is, there has been little education about the process of recovery that can renew a relationship and even spark a whole new level of physical intimacy. Culturally we are trained to vilify the betrayal and rarely consider that the affair may not represent pathology in the relationship but rather be an essential wakeup call that offers an important opportunity to redefine and renegotiate what your monogamous relationship and commitments mean to each of you.

Dr. Tammy Nelson, author of Getting the Sex You Want, is leading the way on the research on affair recovery for her new book, “The New Monogamy”. In our recent interview, she shared,  “Often affairs are like viruses, in that they are opportunistic and they feed on a part of oneself that is kept underground, unknown even to oneself. ”

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Wendy Strgar

Wendy Strgar, founder and CEO of Good Clean Love, is a loveologist who writes and lectures on Making Love Sustainable, a green philosophy of relationships which teaches the importance of valuing the renewable resources of love, intimacy and family.  In her new book, Love that Works: A Guide to Enduring Intimacy,  she tackles the challenging issues of sustaining relationships and healthy intimacy with an authentic and disarming style and simple yet innovative adviceIt has been called "the essential guide for relationships."  The book is available on ebook.  Wendy has been married for 27 years to her husband, a psychiatrist, and lives with their four children ages 13- 22 in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

53 comments

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9:29PM PST on Mar 1, 2014

Thank you.

11:19AM PST on Jan 9, 2014

""even spark a whole new level of physical intimacy.""

Hmmm. So my sexual desire for my husband is suppose to increase after his flings ?
I don't think so. It is turn off.

11:41PM PDT on Apr 12, 2013

ty

8:10PM PST on Feb 11, 2012

Obviously sex isn't heartless at all, sex IS the HEART of it. It's the person who is heartless. Sex is the very thing that gives us all this grief, but at the start it gives us all this bliss and feeling of cloud nine as well. Sex is at the bottom of everything and it has to be dealt with in a realistic manner. Communication is everything but that's another stumbling block. Problems always arise when the wrong two people hook up. There is always one who just won't "give".
Dragging out a bad marriage hurts everybody. It's best to give up and move on.

12:22PM PDT on Oct 15, 2011

I guess using of lines mentioned on
http://www.thebestpickuplines
wouldn't help?

11:33PM PDT on Oct 8, 2011

Well, you know, I think that many a times, it's not the sex, or the lack of, that makes one turn to an affair. Many times, the companionship is missing, or because of various work schedules, that make people grow apart.

My ex ended up refusing to be intimate within 2 years of being married. I stayed, tried to be supportive for an additional 8.5 years, because we share a son. I considered an affair, and had to take a serious look at the marriage. I'd asked, pleaded, demanded, argued, etc for us to get couples counseling, marriage counseling, what ever... I hit a brick wall every time. Even when trying to share intimacy, I'd get pushed away, so, often it's rejection that happens within the marriage that also contributes to an affair.

I had decided that considering that we were estranged, very completely in fact... roommates were emotionally and psychologically closer than we were. So I figured that rather than an affair, which would only make the situation worse, that we're better off divorced because there really was nothing left to us but bitterness and resentment.

Plus, if he's refusing to meet me half way, I can't counsel by myself and have the marriage work. For healing to occur, and regain bliss, BOTH parties need to be able to communicate, and be able to put forth what we want, what we need, what we expect from each other as well as ourselves, etc.

Most often, once the affair already exists, there is a whole lot wrong with the marriage.

4:35PM PDT on Oct 5, 2011

My heart goes out to all those who have been touched by this painful experience. Nobody really wins, unless you can get to the healing point.

7:11PM PDT on Oct 4, 2011

IT HAS BEEN SO VERY SAD TO WITNESS & BE A VICTIM OF
HEARTLESS SEX. OVER DECADES NOW, I SEE THE DEGRADATION INTO HEARTLESS RELATIONSHIPS WITH
THE FOCUS ON SEX. THE WORLD REALLY NEEDS A TURN AROUND HERE! IT IS SO PATHETIC & SHALLOW!

6:29PM PDT on Oct 4, 2011

And for those who've experienced infidelity and are looking to find a place of healing and support, please visit my site at www.betrayedwivesclub.blogspot.com

6:28PM PDT on Oct 4, 2011

This article has clearly struck some nerves. As someone who has been cheated on, I don't think it's as clear-cut as Wendy presents (though, to be fair, it's hard to cover everything in 400 words). But I also don't think it's as clear-cut as some of the commenters suggest (just dump him, etc...).
I think there are things we can learn from the experience...if we're open to them. We can either chalk it up to bitter experience, or we can determine what lessons there are to learn. My husband is someone who cheated for a number of reasons -- primarily a desperate need to feel valued that one person simply couldn't meet because he never quite believed that I wouldn't leave him. He's done a lot of really tough work to figure out why he did what he did...and a lot of work to earn back trust. Yes, I could have tossed him. But the cost to my children and the loss of him in my own life made that the last resort. Fortunately, I haven't had to go there.
Please, people, don't judge anyone until you've walked a mile in their EXACT shoes.

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