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"Notes" #47

Some thoughts on "Affairs." (Not recommended)

After the Affair

In this case it was a woman who was cheated on - could just as easily been a man. She felt extremely hurt, betrayed and understandably mistrusting. She felt she had to keep tabs on him, in the beginning, to make sure he wasn't still "doing it"-cheating.

"I need to constantly be on the lookout to see if you're cheating again or just unhappy. I feel a lot of pressure because I question whether your infidelity is due to the problems in our relationship and therefore partly my fault. Yet I know it isn't my fault; you made your own choices. So, I will no longer take responsibility for any of your actions, past or present, and therefore stop playing detective who is always looking for clues that you are cheating on me again."

This scenario can only be resolved positively if the person doing the cheating is able to accept and understand his own behaviour and own the deep pit of pain he has caused. As well, he needs to truly feel and impart a genuine sense of remorse, for starters.


After the Affair

           You don't get past an affair. You work through it!

My client was having a very difficult time with the fact that her significant other had had an affair; a "one-night stand" that happened sometime in the spring. She felt betrayed and, contrary to his preference, thought it was far too soon to just "drop it and move on". There was more penance that remained to be served before she could put the issue behind her.
They talked a lot about the issue. He was a good listener, analyzed his own behaviour, admitted to his flaws and faults, was concerned about her, and appeared truly apologetic for his "mistake in judgement".

It was now summer and they had come back to see me because they felt stuck. They were past the shock, the hurt, and the decision of whether they should stay together, but they "weren't moving ahead". He admitted that he was beginning to "stop trying, because it didn't seem to make a difference". Sex was still "verboten", and even though he understood her resentment, he was beginning to tire of the punishment for a crime that, in his eyes, was "ancient history".

The balance point between her "I am still hurting" and his "Get over it and let's move on" was very tricky. He needed to respect her feelings and give her time to resolve the huge "loss of trust" that resulted from the affair. She needed to understand that if the issue were to go unresolved for too long, he would lose hope and could walk away from the relationship completely.
On her part, she was still trying her best to "get past it". On his part, he was doing his best to show understanding by giving her the time she needed. Everybody was doing their best, but they were still stuck.

It occurred to me that both of them used the term 'get past it' several times. I wondered if a big part of their being stuck was a result of putting all positive behaviours on hold in their relationship until they both "got past it".

I suggested that waiting to "get past it" was not the most proactive approach that either of them could do under the circumstances. After all, they both wanted to move on, and perhaps this path of passively waiting for feelings to change would not work. They decided to take some action.

He took it upon himself to learn new, pleasing behaviours and worked on new communication skills. She agreed to stop focusing on "getting past it" so that she could share more loving activities with him. The last time I saw this couple it was early fall. They were on their way. They were unstuck and full of hope. I love my job!
First winter session was after Christmas-he wants a divorce, no discussion!
Wow! I didn't see that coming, and neither did she! Kick in the stomach! Heartache!
My thoughts stray to working in the Mall selling shoes or refrigerators.

What led to his change of feelings? Did he really give the "other woman" up? Or was the forbidden sex too hard to resist? Was it easier to stay in the established relationship, but he just couldn't maintain the charade?

It takes a great deal of work to re-build a relationship after an affair. The injured party does not easily "get back to normal" once the crisis has past. Even when there is an agreement to continue the relationship, a lingering lack of trust can taint all interactions between the couple.
However, if they decide to give their relationship a genuine chance, to work hard, and stay focused on each other and on the new skills they learn in counselling or intuitively conclude, then I believe they can change and their efforts will be rewarded.

Re-started relationships can be extremely difficult,
         require hard work and much focus,
but they can also be most exciting and fulfilling.
                                              Communication & Relationships, 2019, Dr. Dan Rosin


Reader response to #46

I totally agree that all people in Canada need to be one nation and treaties previously signed might have been ok at the time but not today. Healing will happen when we become a family not nation dealing with nation. Love can heal but greed cannot.


I like the municipal government idea. I have long suggested that our "status" Canadians surrender their "treaty" card for a "Canadian Citizenship" card or passport. I could never quite grasp the concept of "Nation" with respect to the Indigenous tribes. They were too nomadic / disparate, IMHO, to be considered a "Nation". Although, like many other nations, they were often at war with each other.

With respect to amending the Parliamentary Reform Act, perhaps we could include the Governor General while we are at it. I cannot understand our folly in paying the previous G.G. for the rest of her life and covering any more of her expenses. What were we thinking?

I also appreciated the Irish Blessing, as was noted in the comments, although I had never come across that one. Rather, I have generally subscribed to the simple one that goes something like, "May you live as long as you want to, and want to as long as you live." But, more recently, I have also come to appreciate the "modified" Irish Blessing as suggested by some of my older Irish friends, "May you live as long as you want to, and want to and be able to as long as you live."


Hi Dan.
I love the suggestion on how to clear up the accumulated financial mess and the First Nations issues. I sent it on to our East St. Paul Ottawa rep as a request to actually push TO DO IT!
I hope someone in the government will "HEAR and DO" something CONSRUCTIVE for a CHANGE.
Be well, keep well and continue to stir the -  POT FOR POSITIVE CHANGE.


Golf season is almost here-here is something to consider:

A man was walking down the street when he was accosted by a particularly dirty and shabby-looking homeless man who asked him for a couple of dollars for dinner.

The man took out his wallet, extracted ten dollars and asked, "If I give you this money, will you buy some beer with it instead of dinner?"
"No, I had to stop drinking years ago," the homeless man replied.

"Will you spend this on green fees at a golf course instead of food?" the man asked.
"Are you NUTS!" replied the homeless man. "I haven't played golf in twenty years!"

"Well," said the man, "I'm not going to give you money. Instead, I'm going to take you home for a hot shower and a terrific dinner cooked by my wife.
The homeless man was astounded. "Won't your wife be pissed off at you for doing that?"

The man replied, "That's okay. It's important for her to see what a man looks like after he has given up drinking and golf."