Jay S. Lindsay, Ph.D.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Certified Emotionally Focused Couple Therapist
Call today for a
complementary phone consult:
(720) 307-5635

You’ve Had an Affair… Now What?

by Dr. Jay Lindsay

Michelle called me from San Francisco. She had found information on my website about my Affair Recovery Program in the weekend intensive format.

Several days earlier, Michelle had admitted to her husband, Tom, that she was having an extramarital affair. The affair was with an old boyfriend who had contacted her on Facebook.

Tom was devastated by Michelle’s revelation and now he was threatening to leave her.

Michelle was frantic. “I love Tom and I don’t want to lose him!” she sobbed. “I’ve made a terrible mistake. How can I get him to stay?”

Below are seven insights and tips that I as an affair recovery specialist shared with Michele over the phone that helped save her marriage. They all have to do with recognizing the needs of a betrayed spouse.

If you’ve been having an affair, physical or emotional, these insights and tips will help you. However, please understand that they are not a substitute for seeking qualified professional help for your marriage.

1. Insight: Your spouse needs you to terminate your affair immediately.

Tip: End it now, once and for all.

Do it by phone rather than in person. Ask your spouse to join you on the extension. Say, “It’s over. Don’t ever contact me again.” Be firm and final.

Perhaps your affair was with a co-worker and you can’t quit your job. If so, then interact only when you must for business purposes. Prohibit any personal conversation.

2. Insight: Your spouse needs you to give strong reassurances of your love and commitment.

Tip: Tell your spouse that you love him/her and that you are in the marriage to stay.

Be emphatic. Let your spouse know that he/she matters to you far more than does your affair partner.

Tell your spouse that you are willing to do whatever it takes to save your marriage.

3. Insight: Your spouse needs you to take full responsibility for your affair.

Tip: Do not blame your spouse, even if he/she was not meeting important needs for you.

There are other things you could have done about your unmet needs, like asking your spouse to join you in couple therapy.

Your infidelity was your choice and your choice alone.

4. Insight: Your spouse needs you to acknowledge the impact of your affair on him/her.

Tip: Do not minimize your affair.

Don’t say, “It was nothing to me, so get over it.”

Even if your affair now means little to you, to your spouse it is a major betrayal. It’s rocked his/her world.

5. Insight: Your spouse needs you to listen to his/her feelings.

Tip: Encourage your partner to talk about the pain.

Remember, your spouse is severely traumatized. He/she may need to talk about the pain many times. That’s the way trauma gets healed.

As hard as it is, listen to your partner’s agony. Respond with heartfelt sorrow.

6. Insight: Your spouse needs to know what happened.

Tip: Answer your spouse’s questions truthfully.

There are things he/she needs to know in order to make sense of your affair.

So answer your spouse’s questions, but not all at once. Instead, share your answers over a few conversations. Respond to the easier questions first and the tougher ones later.

Avoid answering questions about romantic and sexual details. Answering these questions could deepen your partner’s trauma and get in the way of the healing process.

7. Insight: Your spouse needs you to make every effort to understand how and why your affair happened.

If you don’t do this, then he/she will fear that you could easily have another affair. You really do need to understand how and why your affair occurred so that you’ll be more affair resistant in the future.

Tip: Do an online search for information about the many factors that can contribute to a person choosing to have an affair.

Keep in mind that understanding your affair is not the same thing as excusing it.

Michele saw that these insights and tips would be helpful, but she knew that she and Tom needed more. After our phone conversation, Michelle pleaded with Tom to give their marriage a chance. She asked him to fly with her to Colorado to participate in my Affair Recovery Program in the weekend intensive format.

I developed this highly effective program over the past 30 years. It’s based on seven stages I have discovered that a couple must move through in order to heal from infidelity.

I offer my Affair Recovery Program privately in both a weekly format and a weekend intensive format. In the later, which is for couples who want quick results, I work with a couple for five or more hours per day for two to four days.

Tom accepted her invitation, even though he was close to leaving her.

For three days I worked with Tom and Michelle in a highly focused way. They connected with each other more deeply than ever before.

By the end of the weekend, Tom had agreed to keep working on the marriage. Also, he and Michele had made a strong start in the affair recovery process.

After they returned to San Francisco, I kept in touch. Now, three months later, they are closer than they’ve ever been.

In a recent phone conversation, Michelle said to me: “Flying to Colorado to participate in your Affair Recovery Program was the right decision. Our marriage was on the brink of divorce. Without quick intervention, it could easily have gone over the edge.”

She added that the weekend intensive format gave them the concentrated, uninterrupted time they needed to pull their marriage back from the brink and turn it around.

If you’ve been having an affair, physical or emotional, and you want to save your marriage, implement the seven insights and tips in this article. Also, find qualified professional help. There’s hope for your marriage!

To find out more about my Affair Recovery Program, click here or call me at (720) 307-5635 and schedule an appointment.

(720) 307-5635

Email Me With Your Questions

 

Click here to read more articles by Dr. Jay Lindsay.

The contents of this article are the property of Dr. Jay Lindsay and further reproduction is given through written permission only.
Copyright © coloradomaritaltherapyintensives.com | 2018

Master couples therapist and psychologist Dr. Jay Lindsay utilizes Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT), one of the most researched and effective approaches to marital therapy. Based in Louisville, (near Boulder) Colorado, Dr. Lindsay is a marriage counselor who is sought after by couples from all across the country. He can be reached at (720) 307-5635.


What Keeps Marital Fights Going?

What Keeps Marital Fights Going?

by Dr. Jay Lindsay

Do you and your partner have the same fights over and over again? All couples do, some more than others.

In a previous article, I discussed what repetitive fights are really about.

I pointed out that recurring arguments are seldom about the issues being fought over. Instead, they are usually about the anxiety couples experience when these fights erode their closeness.

In this article, I will discuss what it is that maintains recurring arguments, that keeps them coming back.

I had been working with Bill and Barb for six sessions and together we had greatly reduced the intensity and frequency of their arguments, many of which they initially had said were about Bill not completing home improvement projects.

What had helped them the most was coming to understand that these repetitive fights were not really about the projects that went unfinished. Instead, they were about the anxiety they both felt about the loss of closeness and the increased distance in their relationship.

Each had begun to fear that the other could not be counted on in times of need. Helping Bill and Barb express this fear and give reassurance that they were really there for each other provided them with great relief. As a result, their repetitive fights had decreased considerably.

Now it was time for me to help them to further reduce the intensity and frequency of their recurring fights by helping them understand what it was that had been maintaining them, causing them to happen over and over again.

I knew that once they understood this, they’d be better able to nip a fight in the bud when it was just beginning.

Insight: Repetitive marital fights are almost always maintained by negative behavioral cycles that are driven by underlying emotions.

In these behavioral cycles, each partner unwittingly cues the other. For example, the more one criticizes, the more the other withdraws. And the more the other withdraws, the more the first one criticizes. Around and around it goes.

This is a criticize-withdraw cycle. It’s just one of a number of kinds of cycles that couples get trapped in.

A negative behavioral cycle is like a whirlpool that spins around, sucks a couple in, and pulls them down and under!

So here’s how I assist a couple in stopping repetitive fights:

I help them to identify their negative cycle and then to identify and process the underlying emotions that are driving it.

Then they can avoid their negative cycle or, if they do enter it, they can catch it early and exit it. That way, they are able to avoid slipping back into the same old fights.

Tip: Try to identify the negative behavioral cycle in your repetitive fights.

In Bill and Barb’s case, the negative behavioral cycle went like this:

The more she demanded that he get the home improvement projects done, the more he resisted. And the more he resisted, the more she demanded.

It was a classic demand-resist cycle. Without realizing it, Bill and Barb had been triggering each other’s problem behaviors.

Tip: Try to identify and process the underlying emotions that are driving the negative behavioral cycle in your repetitive fights.

By underlying emotions, I mean the “softer” emotions beneath the anger. These can include hurt, sadness, a fear of being controlled, or a fear of being abandoned, to name but a few.

Under her anger, Barb felt dismissed, “blown off.” It seemed to her that her needs didn’t matter to Bill. She felt unimportant to him.

Under his anger, Bill felt overwhelmed by Barb’s intensity. He also felt unappreciated for the things he did do around the house that Barb didn’t seem to notice. He feared that he would never be able to do enough to please her, so why try?

In assisting Bill and Barb, I first helped them identify their negative cycle.

Then, I helped them to identify and process their underlying emotions, that is, to talk about them in a way that elicited from each other a compassionate response. The effect was that their cycle lost much of its charge.

Through our work together, Bill and Barb learned how to avoid entering their negative cycle. Those rare times when they would enter it, they were able to recognize this and nip the cycle in the bud before it took over.

Instead of fighting about the same issues over and over, they were able to talk about their underlying emotions and support each other. The result was that Bill and Barb deepened their emotional connectedness. They got closer and stayed closer.

Notice that in the two tips above, I recommended that you try to identify your negative cycle and try to identify and process the underlying emotions that are driving it.

In reality, succeeding at this can be very difficult. It’s a little like being lost in a forest so dense that you can’t find your way out. That’s where a little marital therapy can go a long way!

A good marital therapist is like an eagle soaring above the forest. He can clearly see where you and your partner are. He knows how to swoop in and guide you out of the forest to safety.

As I said above, all couples get caught up in repetitive fights. If yours are taking a toll on your closeness, don’t let it get any worse. Seek help from a marital therapist!

If your marital happiness is being diminished by repetitive fights, I can help. As a marital therapist who has been practicing for over 30 years, I’ve helped thousands of couples get their repetitive fighting under control.

Call me now at (720) 307-5635 and schedule an appointment.

(720) 307-5635

Email Me With Your Questions

 

Click here to read more articles by Dr. Jay Lindsay.

The contents of this article are the property of Dr. Jay Lindsay and further reproduction is given through written permission only.
Copyright © coloradomaritaltherapyintensives.com | 2018

Master couples therapist and psychologist Dr. Jay Lindsay utilizes Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT), one of the most researched and effective approaches to marital therapy. Based in Louisville, Colorado, Dr. Lindsay is a marriage counselor who is sought after by couples from all across the country.