Friday, June 19, 2009

I Cheated... I'm Sorry... Is That Enough?

These are a selection of comments made to a self admitted cheater who got caught and is now trying to save his relationship. [Details omitted to protect the privacy of those involved.] We can all benefit from reviewing the cost of hurting our partner in this way. Many of us have had difficulties in our relationships. This is clearly not the way to solve problems. Cheating is not a solution, but an additional problem. The overall question is, what does one do to rebuild once the bombshell has dropped? Here are some observations.

"You are clearly intelligent, well spoken and capable of communication. Thus far what I have seen, reflects a man who may be in mid-life crisis. It is not uncommon for folks to face this at about your age. Have you considered this?"
"Due to your intellect you have been able, thus far, to rationalize your actions. This is not a plus. Staying in your head keeps you out of touch with yourself and doesn't allow you to feel the enormity of the situation. Intellectualizing is a defense mechanism. Are you using it?"
"We all have stress in our lives that may at times cause us to feel depressed. How we respond to that stress indicates who we are when no one is looking. Many men at mid life, reacting to the inevitability of aging, begin affairs in order to affirm their virility. Is that what you are doing?"
"You have gone to great lengths to discuss the fact that you are now having open and honest communication with your wife. Please think about the virtue of honesty vs the abuse of that virtue in looking for her to absolve you of your failure to keep your commitment. It seems that you are looking to your wife to cleanse you of your defective behavior. If that is the case, please know that it is not her responsibility to forgive you so that you can feel better. If she chooses forgiveness it is solely for her benefit. Is that what you are doing?"
"You must find your own path to forgiveness with your higher power for your actions. This is difficult and painful as it requires you to accept that you have placed yourself before others in every aspect of your life. You currently believe that you have taken nothing from your family in pursuing this intentional course of action. Please do not deceive yourself in this way. Do you think you are doing that?"
"You will need to accept the fact that you have behaved dysfunctionally and that as a result of your actions you have caused great harm to both your wife and your children. Please don't think they are unaware of what has happened. They may not know details, but they surely know that a bombshell has dropped. You and your wife are seeing a counselor. That is a necessary first step. What about your children? They need counseling as well. Have you taken care of that?"
"You have written that you still have the urge to visit the old ways. This indicates some level of addiction. You will need to address these addictive behaviors directly within an appropriate setting. Are you doing that?"
"There are many unanswered questions. Please take the time to think about them. They are vital to your mental health. Are you willing to do that?"

We work hard to recover from relationship trauma. We practice our tools in our daily lives. We seek a path which we walk one step at a time, sometimes not knowing where we are headed. We reach out to our higher power in faith that we will be better persons for the effort. We humble ourselves in admitting our faults and seeing ourselves as we are. This road that we walk is worth every bit of effort. If we ever doubt the truth of our recovery we can read this post and recall that "there but for the grace of God, go I".

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