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Betrayed Spouse 101

Rebuilding From The Ashes: Obstacles, Page Three

Trust Issues: Which are, of course, completely understandable. How can you ever trust that cheater again? How can they live under a shadow of distrust? How do you find a common ground? How do you trust again?

I'm going to give you a direct quote from Dr. Phil McGraw that was an epiphanyfor me. Are you ready? "You never have to trust them again. What you have to do is trust that you will know how to handle it if they do this again."

If you decide to rebuild, sadly, you will NEVER be able to trust again 100%. Maybe after 50 years of PROVEN honesty, love and fidelity from your mate, you won't think about it much anymore, but until then you BOTH have to accept the fact that the trust will NEVER be as it was. Does that mean you have to follow them everywhere they go? Stand over their shoulder whenever they surf the internet? Not allow them to go on business trips with ANYONE of the opposite sex??? In the beginning, the cheater will most definitely have to live an 'open' lifestyle, without a whole lot of privacy. But as time goes by, and their actions prove that the betrayed spouse has nothing to take issue with, the obsessive need to 'check up' will wane. They key to getting to that point as a Betrayed Spouse is the realization that if it DOES happen again, you've got a gameplan.

Think about it. Can you really, truly stop your spouse from cheating if they are determined to do so? They've lied and sneaked around before. They'll do it again, if they truly want to. You cannot control another person's actions and thoughts. But you can control yours. You aren't going to sweat about this because: (a) if they do it again, you know the warning signs, (b) you know exactly how you will deal with it next time and (c) you are much stronger than you thought you were on D-Day.

Trust in you. The rest will come, if your spouse's actions warrant it.

Self Esteem Issues: For the both of you. A cheater has esteem issues that led to the 'thrill', the ego-stroking of an affair. They need to be addressed and explored. Likewise the betrayed spouse, who now has to deal with the loss of their 'specialness', the fact that they are 'disposable' to their mate. It's not easy for either of you. You need to talk it through, hash out those feelings, discuss ways to bolster each other up. Seek professional help, if you're not getting anywhere. Hell, seek it anyway. I cannot recommend marriage counseling enough. Get a good therapist for BOTH of you and you'll never regret it.

Remember, the cheater may have decided to have an affair without you, but they decided to come home to you so that you can rebuild TOGETHER. Take whatever steps you need to take to make that happen.

Sexual Addiction Issues: This may or may not be a factor for you, but if it is, you need PROFESSIONAL help. Sexual addiction, like any other addiction, can only be resolved with proper treatment and therapy. Trying to overcome an addiction yourself without the help of a skilled therapist is like trying to build a house without a blueprint. Sexual addiction is serious, and needs to be treated that way. For more information on this disease, check the 'Cybercheating Resources' secion of the Links Page.

Not "Getting Over It":  Let's examine the situation, shall we. First of all, who has the WHOLE STORY, here? I mean, the complete story - every moment they shared, every word, every touch. Who knows exactly what happened, when, where and the depth of emotion tied to those moments? The betrayer. The affair partner. They do. Not YOU. You know bits and pieces - what they've chosen to tell you, what you've discovered on your own. You're trying to fill in the blanks as best you can, always looking over your shoulder and wondering what you might have missed. The betrayer, if truly rebuilding, is going to try to be honest with you, but only to a point. Some or many details may be left out, due to their own uncomfortability with the subject, or due to a misguided attempt at sparing you further pain. Either way, you feel like you're in the dark about parts of something that very much effect your life.

And you NEED to fill in those 'blank' areas. Not just to give you a feeling of control over the situation (which you badly need right now), but more importantly, you BOTH need to work out the root cause for the betrayer's decision to have an affair. What were the motivating factors? What flipped the little moral switch in their head and made the behavior they engaged in acceptable to them on ANY level? You can't possibly get to the bottom of it and RESOLVE it and put it BEHIND you if you don't have all the facts. You'll forever be wondering what you missed that might sneak up and surprise you. So you'll need to talk, you'll need to analyze and you'll need to ponder just what all this information means to you. And it will take TIME. There is NO rushing through this, and if you're mate is ready to give you the time and the answers you need, then they're not as committed to this process as you are.

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