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Whatever the spark, infidelity is destructive. By Sarah Barmak December 7, When she woke, she heard Marcus downstairs making a snack, so she went to their shared computer to check her one last time before bed. Like others in this article, she asked that her real name not be used. Her mind reeled. This moment was also the last thing Marcus expected. He was on the couch in their Guelph, Ont.
What is wrong? Do you love her? Do you want to be with her? It was his little secret. Life as they knew it had undergone an irreversible shift. Infidelity is something both of them thought only happened to other people. In fact, it is one of the most common disasters that can befall a marriage.
And among married millennials ages 18 to 29, extramarital sex among women 11 percent has slightly edged out the occurences among men 10 percent. With Tinder, Facebook and sexting, the potential for indiscretions—and for being found out—is greater than ever.
Both people in the couple have serious work ahead: The two of them must decide whether to try to rebuild things or break up and start over, all while protecting their children from as much fallout as possible. For some couples, the discovery of an affair will end their relationship; for others, it can inaugurate a new stage of radical honesty. Infidelity is not a topic our culture Living after an affair eager to discuss. In an era when we expect to marry our best friends, infidelity may actually hurt in a deeper Living after an affair than it did for our grandmothers, who married more out of duty or for financial security.
Huizenga began to focus on helping couples deal with the aftermath of infidelity after he went through it himself in the s; his former wife cheated when their kids were eight, 11 and They stayed together for another decade after her infidelity and they still have a good relationship. Eulogy to a marriage lost to parenthood. Not all affairs are due to problems in the relationship, however. A person can be in a marriage they love and still cheat. When happy people cheat, it tells us that there are limits to the fulfillment monogamy can offer and that even the most apparently solid partnership is vulnerable.
I did it out of curiosity. Having kids meant there were even fewer opportunities. When kids come into the picture, they can rob parents of not only time and sleep but also their ability to nourish the other facets of who they are. An underacknowledged factor, particularly for women, is the feeling that marriage and parenthood has cost them their identity —specifically, the independent, free-spirited person they were before getting married.
There are exceptions, though. She may try to run away from all of that by running out of the house and finding another man or another woman. The evening before the year-old mother of two small children was due to give birth to her third, she was interviewed for a TV news segment. The program aired at 6 p.
To her horror, Alison learned that instead of working late, as her husband had always told her he was, he had carried on an affair with this woman for years—ever since Alison was pregnant with their first. He told her he had never really wanted to be married or be a father, and he withheld information about his multiple betrayals, forcing her to become a detective.
Still recovering from her C-section and dealing with a newborn, she felt stunned and fragile. In the midst of the pain, a crisis like this can present a silver lining. It may be the first time in years that a couple distracted by the demands of work and kids has truly bared their deeper feelings to each other.
Intense emotions—rage, fear, grief, abandonment—dominate this raw first stage. The straying spouse may try to rationalize their actions as a way of alleviating their own guilt and shame, or try to get their hurt partner to move on. This is the point at which a good therapist and good books can help. Therapists say the best thing for the person who cheated to do at this stage is to put their own feelings aside and give their partner as much support as they need.
Although he had betrayed his wife, Marcus had Living after an affair intended to disrupt his marriage. In his mind, he had compartmentalized his affair from the rest of his life. In the hours and days after the affair was discovered, Marcus said all the right things. When she returned, Marcus had already packed a bag, but she told him to stay for the night. It was agonizing for her. He is a good dad and loves his kids, and they love him.
Every night for the next two weeks, Marcus expected Rachel would throw him out. And every night, she told him to stay. Marcus was a good dad. If she left, it would have meant selling the house, sharing the dog—and, worst of all, being away from her children. I wanted to keep my family intact, even though it came at a personal price to my psychological well-being.
I guess what it came down to is, I love my kids more than I dislike my husband. Stay or face the fact that I would be living at the poverty line? Neither option was good. Parents who try to spare their kids the gory details of what Dad or Mom has done might have to tell a lot of white lies.
I am his first baby. I am his one boy. And his two-year-old brother has tantrums. And try to act accordingly. Infidelity has multiple effects on kids, says Nogales. While researching her book, she conducted an online survey of adults whose parents had committed infidelity, mostly when the respondents were young.
She found that 88 percent of them were angered or hurt by the affair, and 76 percent felt personally betrayed by the cheating parent. Seventy-three percent Living after an affair their own romantic relationships as adults were affected. Therapists warn that kids should never be pushed to take sides, even if your cheating ex is a lout. Even if you tell kids they were not part of the problem, many will wonder whether they did something wrong. After the meaning behind the affair is decoded, couples must decide what the future holds.
For some, like Rachel and Marcus, that means reinventing their deconstructed marriage. For others, like Alison, that means reinventing herself as a single mom, and finding support and community alone. And for some rare couples, the shakeup of an affair may lead to a rejuvenated relationship.
Ginny learned he had been lying to his lover, too, telling her he was divorced. Even worse, he was an alcoholic and abusive.
The parents of two kids in Colorado decided to get serious help. Richard enrolled in six weeks of rehab, and after that, they both spent four weeks seeing therapists separately from each other. Then they started eight months of intensive twice-a-week marriage counselling—a major commitment. Through therapy, they were able to trace the origins of the affair and drinking to a serious bout of cancer Richard had gone through. And Richard was set on changing his ways. He found an ability app and installed it on both of their phones, allowing Ginny to track his whereabouts and phone activity for a year.
Less anger. More love. More honesty.
He woke Living after an affair to his alcoholism and mental issues at long last. For Rachel and Marcus, their healing has meant managing the home and parenting together as friends—but not romantic partners. After Marcus had another short affair, deeply hurting Rachel yet again, they both decided on a new policy: an open marriage with conditions.
It was me who suggested we open things up. Seeing a therapist has helped, too. Some days I think I deserve so much more. I used to lean on him to be my rock. Couples struggling with the aftermath of infidelity often agonize over what to tell the. Many will be tempted to keep it a secret. But often, kids already know more than they let on. Kids often feel personally hurt by revelations of an affair, and they might feel pressured to keep embarrassing details a secret, says psychologist Ana Nogales.
What exactly to say depends on their age. Avoid making accusations and emphasize that the adults are going to take care of the problem. They are usually judgmental and not prepared to understand how Dad or Mom betrayed the family.
If they ask direct questions, you can be more specific—up to a point. I can assure you that I love you and that I will be here for you. If parents decide to stay together, they need to know their kids are watching them carefully, says Nogales. Children will be fearing abandonment and will need lots of reassuring. And remember that any promise you make needs to be followed through on—kids need to know they can trust their parents. Dos -Reassure your partner you love them.
Respect their reaction, no matter what it is. She suggests a kind but firm. Avoid meeting in person, as that may stir up attraction again. You may want to move on as quickly as possible to soothe your own guilt, but they need to fully express their feelings first. How did the affair make you feel—playful, alive, relaxed? What would it take to feel that way with your spouse?
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