The Affair Story
Since Affairs are shrouded in secrecy and deceit, it is very crucial that the cheating partner answers the question of “What happened?”.The most important point is for the betrayed spouse to understand the affair story in order for the healing to begin.
The goal is to overcome Post-Infidelity Stress Disorder, to travel through the 5 stages of grief: denial; anger; bargaining (hanging on to old behaviours without acknowledging the need to change); depression & extreme sadness; to acceptance –letting go of anger and the emotional pain and moving towards a historical memory of the affair ( the affair is a part of your marital history ) but moving on TOGETHER AS A TEAM OF EQUAL PLAYERS.
Once an affair has been revealed, the most important element in rebuilding a marriage is establishing trust. Trust is built on complete honesty. It’s more than likely that you will unfurl a litany of emotions; your spouse should not feel constrained to control emotions by the environment. The 7-Step model puts a spotlight on the affair first ( the affair letter, the affair story, and the affair type ), while encouraging better communication and conflict resolution strategies and creating an environment of friendship.
By the end of the program ( 3-4 months) each person will know more about themselves and more about their partner. The couple’s relationship should be on the path to stabilization and not be as volatile and their raw emotions should be recovering to be more normalized.
Should I tell him/her?
It is natural instinct that after the affair you try to conceal as much as possible. You delete every chat, text and email that might incriminate you. You tell lies to make sure it is never found. You feel that your partner does not deserve to be further hurt than currently. So you work at erasing all traces of the affair.
Though your intentions are good in these concealment actions, yet this is not the best approach towards handling the matter. No matter how meticulous you try to be, bits of the affair, have the habit of resurfacing every now and then, till it becomes an unbearable embarrassment. Don’t further destroy the already damaged trust you are trying to rebuild.
It is important that you tell your partner the truth. Though it will hurt, but concealing it for later will even hurt worse. Your partner will also understand that you respect your relationship that much to tell her in order to gain back his/her trust. It will even help to solidify the relationship the more. Dribble truth causes more harm than good.
If ever there is a time to show EMPATHY; the time is NOW. This requires you to be sensitive, understanding and honest, most importantly. As you are working towards building up your injured relationship, great care should be taken at this step.
For some people, telling too much could be dangerous if there is the possibility of violence, if there are mental health issues, or if the personality type is volatile. Too much too soon might prove to be more hurtful than informative.It is imperative that you put self-justification aside and remember that everything you say cannot be unsaid. Too much detail can cyclone within the mind of the betrayed spouse. Let your spouse decide what he/she wants to hear and be prepared to answer as many questions as might arise. The success of the process is the way and attitude of the cheating partner. SLOW IS FAST..
Why Tell the Story of the Affair?
The simple truth is this: the more the couple talks about the affair, the more likely they will stay together. Why?
1. It stops the spouse from becoming a private investigator. WHEN THEY HAVE the details of the affair they can grieve the story.
They can be angry over the details. They can start to make sense of what happened.
2. This is the only way for the betrayed partner to heal.
3. This is the solid foundation that they need in order to save the marriage.
4. Discussing the affair provides clarity for the unfaithful partner (increased self-understanding).
5. The relationship cannot be rebuilt on a foundation of secrecy. The ongoing lies will compound over time and affect the quality
of the relationship in the future.
6. Ultimately, it is all about RESPECT.
If you tell the truth you don't have to
What we will focus on in Step # 2
- The WHAT & HOW the Affair came into being – the slippery slope
2. The unfaithful spouse will prepare an apology letter. The injured partner needs to know that the unfaithful partner “gets” the pain that he/she has caused and that the apology is authentic.
3. An exploration of the chemical cocktail in the brain that drives the emotional affair train
4. The Affair Type will be explored