How To Break Free From The Affair!“, marriage expert, Dr. Robert Huizenga lists and explains the 12 mistakes that 95% of us make when we try to win back a spouse who is having (or did have) an affair. The following is condensed from “How To Break Free From The Affair!”
1) DON’T say “I love you”
Saying “I love you,” especially repeatedly, often pushes your spouse away and in essence, probably does not reflect the truth of what you really want to say.
Here are ways your spouse might respond internally when he hears those words from you:
Yeah right! What does she want now? She’s just saying that so I won’t leave. Or, she’s just saying that so I will leave the other woman. She’s using that to manipulate me. So, I will walk away or not say anything.
He loves ME? Yeah right! How can he love me when I do something like this? It doesn’t make sense. Who would love someone who fools around on them? If he fooled around on me, I know I wouldn’t love him.
Hey, this is cool! I got two of them wanting me. Man, it feels great to be pursued by two people. It is great to be loved by two people. (This may not be acknowledged but it might lie behind a need to continue the soap opera drama.)
She loves Me? What in the world does that mean? What is she trying to say when she says that? I don’t understand. Is that all she can say? Isn’t there more she needs to say to me? How am I to respond? Say, “I love you too?” Geezzz louise, it’s not that simple.
I hate it when he says, “I love you.” That really makes him unattractive. He seems so sickeningly needy when he says that. And, that really turns me off. When he says it, I think of a whining lost little boy who needs reassurance. Sorry, but I’m not there. I don’t want to be a mother.
2) DON’T criticize, complain, whine, nag
This should be fairly obvious. Criticizing, complaining, whining and nagging are not attractive! Who wants to be around such a person? When I criticize or complain I have a hard time being around myself. This behavior is usually an attempt to deal with the internal tension you feel. You don’t know where to go with the tension, so it seeps out around the edges.
And, of course, your spouse will respond in his/her typical fashion, probably by moving away or countering you with his/her negativity. Ever feel like you hit a brick wall, time and time again? What does your criticism, complaining and nagging actually get for you? Give it some thought.
Can you find a different way to let this person know what you want, what you need or how you would like your life to be, without resorting to something that is absolutely guaranteed to give you the opposite of what you truly desire?
3) DON’T say “I’ve changed”
In an attempt to persuade a spouse to stop an affair or restore a relationship you may use the ploy, “But I’ve changed I’m a different person” or “I swear I’ll change.”
4) DON’T Argue, Reason, Plead
You may believe that the more persistent you are in trying to get your spouse to “understand,” the better off you may be. Not always true. Usually, it has the opposite effect.
An affair is not based on logic. One’s quest to “find him/herself” through an affair has little to do with reason. The allure of the other person, whatever that allure might be, has little respect to reason, logic and thinking and talking something through together.
Arguing, reasoning and pleading keep the focal point on each other. It keeps the relationship bound together (we call it enmeshment) in a powerfully negative and destructive way. You merely continue to rehash the old stuff with the same fruitless outcome.
5) DON’T get friends and family involved
It is not uncommon to look for an ally.
But don’t seek out an informant. (i.e. quiz others about what your spouse is saying and doing) You pump for information. You may look for signs of hope and hang intently on every word of your ally.
And don’t enlist a friend or family member to be your mouthpiece to talk to your spouse on your behalf.
Getting friends and family involved only worsens your situation.
6) DON’T Act helpless, depressed
Talk about unattractive. It takes a tremendous amount of energy for someone to be in relationship with a person who consistently acts helpless and depressed. People, over time, weary of being around such a person. Do you like being around a depressed person?
7) Don’t give up opposite sex relationships
If your partner is involved in an affair, you must likely have the tendency to shun people of the opposite sex. There are a number of reasons for this.
First, you probably do not feel very attractive or desirable. As I’ve noted in other writings, being on the receiving end of an affair dumps self-esteem down the toilet. Even if you had an interest in pursuing a relationship, this would get in the way.
An interesting phenomenon I observe very frequently is that the spouse having the affair sends a subtle or not so subtle message that only he/she is allowed to have an extramarital relationship. It is his/her domain.
If the offended partner begins a relationship with a person of the opposite sex the person having the affair may become jealous and disturbed, sometimes extremely so. Make sense? No, but then again, not much about affairs makes sense.
You may hold back from having an opposite sex relationship because you believe it will only give permission to your partner to continue the affair and provide further ammunition for him/her to truly leave. This does occur, but only in particular kinds of affairs and, I believe, only in a minority of situations. It will NOT be a major factor in his/her decision to truly end the marriage.
Holding back from developing an opposite sex relationship typically indicates you are doggedly determined to focus on what your partner and what he/she is doing or not doing. You are riveted on this painful elusive relationship. It occupies your every moment and breath. To think of having a life of your own seems terribly foreign.
When I talk about having a relationship with someone of the opposite sex, I’m NOT talking about dating or sleeping around. Don’t jump off the bridge. But, there is such a thing as a healthy relationship with those of different gender.
8) Don’t get reassurance from children
Please don’t intentionally involve your children.
Here’s what I mean.
Don’t share information with them about their other parent.
Don’t try to pry information from them about your spouse.
Don’t ask (in any way) for them to agree with you or side with you or comfort you.
Don’t talk about your spouse to them in any way shape or manner.
You can say directly: I’m having a difficult time right now, but I’m doing everything to take care of it and this too shall pass. I will always be here for you.
9) Don’t Use the Bible or Dr Laura
It is a natural impulse to want to beat your wandering spouse over the head, not literally, of course. Well, maybe… (Just kidding. Don’t do it!)
But, on a number of occasions I’ve run across those who throw Bible verses, selected passages from books or talk show hosts comments about the immorality and path of perdition he/she is following by engaging in an affair.
Now, granted, engaging in an affair is sin because it certainly does miss the mark in terms of having an authentic and truth-filled relationship and it certainly has dire consequences in which the other does walk down a difficult path. However, using this as a weapon to stop the affair brings dubious results at best.
Beating him/her over the head with moral persuasion most likely will increase his/her resolve, if not openly at least internally, to oppose you. Poor strategy!
10) Don’t suggest counseling
OK, what’s the deal? A therapist who is recommending that you NOT pursue counseling with your spouse? Yes, exactly. Believe me, I’ve seen hundreds of couples and counseling when an affair is involved seldom, and I mean real seldom, works.
In most communities, getting counseling is the thing to do when there are marital problems. Family, friends, clergy and other say, “Have you gotten counseling?” Many spouses agree to attend. It usually lasts for a few sessions, if that.
He/she often enters counseling guardedly and with little intent to self disclose. He/she usually in some fashion sabotages counseling. It doesn’t work.
Here’s the kicker: the person is then able to say, “Well, we got counseling, and it just didn’t work out!” Counseling becomes a rationalization to pull further away.
11) Don’t tell him/her we need to work on the relationship
This usually means you want to go back to the way the marriage used to be. You remember the good times and your intent is to recapture them. Or you believe that the two of you, focusing on each other with more purpose, can change the flow of the relationship.
The spouse involved with the other person may concede to trying, since it serves basically the same purpose as counseling he/she can at some point say, “See, we tried and it just didn’t work.” It may ease the guilt or give internal permission to pursue with more vigor the other person.