Although tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, not everyone in a marriage will be celebrating. If you are in a marriage and have experienced infidelity or an affair, then you know how painful a close relationship can become. As the hurt spouse you have been robbed of trust, joy, self trust, your history as you’ve known it, a feeling of specialness, and most importantly, any secure sense of the future you had anticipated. Certainly, the romance and promise of Valentine’s Day has been shattered, at least for now.
If your spouse who has had an affair minimizes the circumstances and your response to it, trust that it is a function of their dread of consequences, / their entitlement, / their refusal to take responsibility for their behavior, and certainly their lack of empathy for the impact on you. Get support from a trusted friend, family member, group, and especially, a therapist. Whatever you do, DON’T buy into your spouse’s denial about the seriousness of the situation. Get help, and honor your experience of grief and betrayal as valid. Know that you or you and your spouse are probably ill equipped to go this alone!
Here are two terrific, must-read books I recommend to anyone who has or is currently going through this ordeal. One provides invaluable insights about the process, including the challenges and mandates for the “hurt spouse” as well as the “affair spouse.” The second book, about forgiveness, provides choices for how to move on, and vital repair tools for individuals and couples:
Don’t miss my next BlogTalk Radio episode tonight about the subject of dealing with life when things fall apart. We’ve all had the experience at times of dealing with crises which create a sense of chaos and uncertainty – maybe the loss of a loved one, or a debilitating health issue, or the loss of a job or business. It always feels horrible and destabilizing, and often creates a story of victimhood or bitterness for us. But the fact is that misery is just another part of life – it inevitably comes with the joy, relief, and triumph that are also part of our story.
Tune into this half hour episode tonight and join the discussion or just listen in, and hear about some attitudes and behavioral tools which may help you to accept some of these hardships as part of being human, and move through these experiences with more wisdom and perspective. Call toll-free 877-497-9046, or if the lines are busy call 760-542-4114. I hope you can join me! If you can’t make the live show, listen to it online at your convenience by going to the web player on my website, www.SusanLager.com or at www.BlogTalkRadio/SusanLager.com
Hate your job? Or does your spouse hate his/her job?
If so, you don’t want to miss this episode featuring guest career expert Andrea St. Jean. We’ll be looking at the impact of job misery on individuals and their partners, and how certain attitudes and actions can make all the difference.
Call toll-free 877-497-9046 to just listen in or to join us live on the air with questions or comments. If you can’t make the live show, go to www.BlogTalkRadio.com/SusanLager to find the recording.
Hope you can join us!
As a couples therapist I routinely talk to my clients about the ambiguous road ahead of them in working on repairing and enriching their relationships. The work is generally fraught with uncertainty and likely setbacks, as is the case with most hard earned changes. This discussion always involves the issue of what each partner needs to “stay in the game,” or what would they minimally require of themselves and each other to maintain hope, energy and good faith in the process.
What each of us needs to “stay in the game” applies to any endeavor which doesn’t produce immediate lovely results. Last week, after three years of often grueling work, I received my official documentation awarding me the trademark for the name “Couplespeak.” I had invented the name for a division of my company which would provide coaching products and services live and online. Getting the trademark with proprietorial rights to the name required me to write books, articles, eBooks, develop workshops, training programs, blogs, videos, a BlogTalk Radio program, and to manage multiple internet platforms.
Mind you, all the while I’ve had a full time private psychotherapy practice, and started with very little interest in the internet and tech devices three years ago. But I loved the name “Couplespeak,” and believed that if I could live long enough I could grow it into something really significant. The whole process required that to finish, I stay in the game, the Couplespeak game. I had to devise ways of making myself accountable, and maintaining my passion for the project. I had to enlist the support of my friends and family. I had to learn when to take breaks and when to force myself back into the effort. Just as anyone requires in any big, meaningful project, I needed to keep up my faith in myself, and my faith in the work itself. And now, just as anyone would, I’ll need to allow this “finish” to become the remarkable start of something else, a new game…..
PS. For copies of my new books about staying sane in the relationship game, go to Amazon: http://amzn.to/12ALenB
This photo tells it all. It’s the way I’ve been feeling for the last two days, and that, even after a Flu shot!
What a shame with such grand plans for a weekend x-country skiing on an idyllic farm in Southern Maine! Four inches of packed powder, new snow on its way, and here I am, blowing my nose, sleeping all day and night, and thankful for my ability to keep down tea and chicken soup!
When we get sick, it feels horrible, but the bright side is that it forces people like me to SLOW DOWN, WAY DOWN, and reevaluate how critical our ambitious little plans are in the big scheme of things.
It also gives our partners opportunities to nurture us with “holding down the fort,” (dishes, laundry, shopping), as well as providing us with comforting remedies like Ginger ale, flu medicines, and in my husband’s case, a big pot of chicken soup he learned how to make on his own!
So before the fever breaks, I think I’ll take it all in and try to flow with the state of sloth, knowing it only comes around once in a few years!
Have you had the experience of being so uncertain about what to do or think or feel about a particular subject that you go around to key people in your inner circle to ask for advice? My sense is that most people do this at times in relation to something really important or charged. It can be a validating or reassuring experience getting this kind of feedback: (What do others think? What would reasonable people do in this situation)?
There’s something quite different I see some people do with frequency. I call it “polling the peanut gallery,” or gathering opinions whenever there’s a feeling of self doubt or anxiety about a situation. Their fantasy is that there’s a “right” way to operate, and that other people know better what that is. In my experience professionally and personally, I see women more often doing this, maybe because the culture trains women to value connection, and isn’t so great at training women to value their own voices, or internal truths.
If you’re someone who routinely polls your own peanut gallery, chances are it doesn’t help you to develop more trust in your own feelings or perceptions. If the net effect of your polling is to create more confusion as you gather more opinions, than take some time to check in with yourself about what seems right for you, and leave the polling for the upcoming election instead!
PS. Learn to say what you need. Find out more in my new communication workbook, “I’m Talking! Are You Listening?” Get it on Amazon at: http://amzn.to/Qprh8v
Over the years, I’ve met with hundreds of couples who get totally wigged out at this time of year. To begin with, many of them have at least one person who suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder, a condition which sets up depressive symptoms in reaction to the lowered light levels in the Fall through early Spring. It’s not a good beginning. On top of that, most partners focus their energy on holiday decorations, social calendars, menus, and gift shopping for people they often care little about. People plan their days and nights, trying to pack it all in, with coziness and finesse, Hallmark style.
What is often conspicuously missing in the melee is any thought or conversation about particular activities or rituals which would feel meaningful and “uniquely ours”, i.e. intimate and private. Predictably, when couples prepare for the holidays with some curiosity and attention to the sacredness of some meaningful time alone, apart from relatives and kids, it changes everything! So if you’re in a partnership, honor it with just a tad of thought to what traditions you’d like to create just for yourselves. Be creative! Be silly or be sentimental! But be together. You’ll surely have a happier holiday season.
PS. Next week you will be able to purchase my two new eBooks, and some articles all about relationship tools on the “Products” page of this website. (I’m only about one year behind schedule, but hey, I’ve been focusing on meaningful rituals of my own!)