Category Archives: Reconciliation

December 2011: A Summary (Part 2)

The process of reconciliation continued over the second half of the month. I ramped up my regimen of giving to my wife by surprising her with all sorts of things at various times of the day. I would also do some things regularly, like make her bed every night, draw her bath, leave sweets, magazines, or other small gifts by the bed in the living room. I was truly beginning to see some positive changes, but still she was so hooked on the affair that I knew I’d get no meaningful shift until the affair ended.

As mentioned in the previous post, the affair had already hit a major hurdle, and another one was brewing. Her original plan, to divorce me and be out of the house by the end of the year, seemed to be disintegrating. I had expressed on several occasions that I would not willingly cooperate with any divorce proceedings. Her original tack was to try to get some paperwork done via a paralegal organization, but that would have required my compete cooperation through divulging various forms of information. I refused to even look at the questionnaires she had printed out. She then resolved to do it herself. (As of this date, however, she still has done nothing.) I was hearing through the grapevine that her lover was feeling uncomfortable about her still living with me and there being no movement toward separation or divorce. He also apparently was telling her that she could not move in with him so soon.

So, she hatched a new plan, which was to go live with some friends a couple of blocks away. These aren’t so much friends as they are mutual acquaintances/colleagues, but somehow she felt she could confide in them. Apparently, she came clean about the adultery — as all adulterers eventually do — and they assented to let her stay with them for the month of January. This would give her additional time to separate from me. Suddenly, she had renewed vigor with her chosen “path”.

Around the middle of the month, she told me that she would be gone on her birthday, and that she planned on being away for Christmas as well. I asked her why she needed to leave for her birthday, and she said, “I don’t know,” so I suggested she think about it, even though I knew that would have no effect on her decision. I bought her the birthday present of her dreams, something she really wanted, and she was absolutely thrilled. We had a lovely birthday morning. Then, as I was about to leave for work, I told her I’d be cooking her a special dinner (I said this with full knowledge that she’d be leaving that day), and she reminded me that she would not be home that night. I let my shoulders fall, looked depressed, and told her that again I felt extremely betrayed and abandoned. This made her mad, of course, and defensive. I left the house.

When I returned, she had taken my gift and placed it back in its box, and left a note that apologized for hurting my feelings. I simply took the gift out of its box and quietly returned it to her closet. She returned the next morning, and I actually was driving down the street to go get coffee. I saw her get out of her lover’s car: they were about 10 feet away from me, right at the corner, and there is simply no way that either my wife or he did not see me. I even had to follow him down the street for 2 blocks, before I could leave our neighborhood.

She had brought home some gifts from him: an ostentatious bouquet of flowers, as well as some things he’d baked, and a small self-help book. She told me her friends had given her a party, there was cake, and so on. I knew it was all a lie. Eventually, one of the roses from the bouquet ended up in the kitchen window, and I removed it back to her office, telling her I felt disrespected. This behavior did not repeat again, despite her protests.

Then, a couple of days later, her affair hit another major obstacle. A highly disparaging message came in from her father, criticizing her conduct in the harshest of terms. This I’m sure got her really worried.

More momentum toward reconciliation occurred toward Christmas, and then she let me know that she in fact would be leaving. So, I decided it best to take care of my family, and to go out of town to be with them for a few days. The morning I left we had a gift exchange — she gave me a very nice gift, and I gave her a number of things that went straight to her heart. Still, she had to go be with her lover, though.

After Christmas, things continued to be more or less okay. We did have one argument, not because I even wanted to talk, but because she did, and she escalated. Even with the escalation, I got an apology from her not more than an hour later. I attribute this 100% to the marriage reconciliation program I had been working on for about 7 weeks at that point. (I should say that I have been implementing this program without her knowledge or cooperation; it’s just that effective that it yields results even if your spouse is not on board.) Then, once again, I was told that she’d be leaving me, this time for our anniversary, as well as for New Year’s Day.

Her father called the night before she left, and she had a teary, two-hour chat with him. She confessed pretty much everything to him (I could hear just about everything through the door, as our house is so small). It was clear to me that she was in a very fragile state, and had no confidence whatsoever. In fact, she told him this several times. We talked the next morning, and I laid out my vision for the future: that I could see a day when she would feel like the most treasured jewel in a man’s heart, and that that man would be me. She did not see things this way, asserted that she had “really tried” to make our marriage happen, and further had begun rewriting its narrative by telling me that she felt she had never actually been in love with me. Nevertheless, I planted the seed of that vision, and further told her that, at that point, I was very strong and confident, and knew that my moral compass would get me (or rather us) to that final destination — reconciliation. She told me that she “wasn’t sure” if she could fix things, and that she’d need to digest everything I had said.

Since I knew she’d be gone when I came back from work, and since she had previously stated that she had planned to move out at the end of the year, I told her that this was her house, and that she would always be welcome, and the door would always be open to her. This is an important message to deliver if your spouse is planning on separating and you simply cannot stop them from doing so.

I did buy her a card for our anniversary, and left a special, personal gift inside it. I put it in her purse before I went to work, figuring she’d discover it while she was gone, and hopefully in the presence of her lover.

 

December 2011: A Summary (Part 1)

This post looks back on the month that has just passed. I have experienced much momentum toward reconciling my marriage, and have also had a few setbacks.

The start of the month was relatively uneventful. I continued to implement the strategies and techniques of my marriage reconciliation program (Marriage Fitness), and was beginning to see signs of change. The affair continued, but she went about 10 days without seeing her lover. Then, in the second week of December, she told me she was going to be with her “friends” overnight — this term changed to “friend” by the next morning. I knew what was going on, however. She had been lying to me about the continued existence of the affair for about 6 weeks by this point, and I was determined not to let her come clean to me about it.

On the morning that she left to be with him, I had a very brief exchange with her, in which I told her I felt betrayed and abandoned. This unleashed a torrent of vitriol from her, in which she accused me of betraying her, of having been a bad husband, and on and on. I bit my tongue and said nothing. I just stood there and let her let me have it. Then I left. I came home that evening, and found a two-page letter in which she justified her behavior with various rationalizations. She didn’t tell me where she was going, but she claimed to need “space” to figure out how to live her life separately from me. As a result of this letter, as well as some of the things she had said to me that morning, I decided the time was ripe for me to apologize to her — not for what I’d said, but for things that had happened earlier in the marriage that had paved the way for the affair to take place.

That night, I crafted an apology letter that addressed the emotions I thought I must have provoked in her heart through various actions (or inactions) I had taken over the previous several years. I gave voice to all of these by trying to put myself in her shoes, imagining how it must have felt to be her, watching me go through what essentially was a mid-life crisis. The next morning, after she had returned, I sat down to talk with her, and began delivering the apology verbally. After about a minute, she began crying. I must have spoken for about 15 minutes, and it was a tremendously emotional situation for both of us — a breakthrough in a way, even. I then gave her the letter and asked her to read it later, and left for work. This letter went a long way toward building further goodwill and momentum toward reconciliation, although even afterwards there was still a long way to go.

It was also during the second week of this month that her affair hit a major roadblock: her lover, as previously mentioned, is a long-standing, high-level member of this shrine that is connected to her home country, and a very senior person within the shrine expressed public condemnation of their affair. This likely came as a major shock and wake-up call to them both. The message had been publicly posted over a social networking site. I could tell that this gotten to my wife, as she became very despondent, and even asked me if my emotional/mental situation was okay. This, of course, meant that hers was incredibly fragile and unstable, which was easy to see on her face.

I knew that the upcoming weeks would be difficult, as I faced three momentous days: her birthday, Christmas, and our anniversary, which happens to be New Year’s Eve. That will be the topic for the next post.

November 2011: A Summary

This is a brief look back on the month of November 2011, the month in which I began the process of trying to reconcile my marriage.

As mentioned in an earlier post, it was at the beginning of this month that I discovered my wife’s affair, and quite stupidly confronted her with it. On exactly the same date, I had signed up for the Marriage Fitness program, which I actually had planned to cancel and send back, as I thought that the discovery of the affair was the final nail in the coffin. Nevertheless, I decided to give the program a try, since it did offer a money-back guarantee, so I figured I’d have nothing to lose.

The start of the month was very difficult. I felt completely unmoored, had no sense of where my life or marriage was headed. I began to apply the principles of the counseling program I’d chosen, and these were very counterintuitive: don’t talk about your problems, and try slowly, over time, to restore goodwill. Fortunately for me, my wife was not overly obstinate and would allow me to talk to her and touch her regularly — two things the program recommends as essential — but I could not really tell if I was making any progress.

Also in that first week I had a private session with one of the program’s counselors, who was able to instill in me a sense of trust in the process of reconciliation, and to give me some advice that was helpful to my particular situation. I was also able to interact with other people on weekly telephone question and answer conferences, and quickly began to realize that my situation was nowhere near as dire as that which others were facing.

About my situation, briefly: My wife decided toward the beginning of this month that she would separate from me and file for divorce. Her decision to do this was pretty close to 100% dependent upon the affair. The equation was simple enough to her: divorce me, wipe the slate clean of all her problems, and move in with her lover to start a “new life.” Yes, that was the term that was used, “new life.” This “new” life would start on January 1, 2012. (That was yesterday, by the way; this plan has hit quite a few obstructions along the way.) Since I had had some time to reflect on things, I decided that divorce was not the right option, and that we’d do better trying to reconcile.

My wife is a very determined person, however, and when she has a goal in mind, she’ll do anything and everything to see that it gets met. She told me that she wasn’t afraid of losing people from her life if that needed to happen. Her relations with her parents became strained, and both her mother and father expressed open disapproval of her actions. Nevertheless, she continued undeterred. Since she was still living with me in the house, she had little opportunity to see her lover. In fact, she saw virtually nothing of him during the majority of this month, with the exception of a possible brief encounter or two of which I was unaware. She had, however, planned to spend Thanksgiving with him, and this had been contingent on me going to spend Thanksgiving with my family out of state. A week prior to the holiday, I told her I’d be staying, as I figured that would put some pressure on her. Perhaps it did, but she still went to be with her lover — for 5 days. She told me that she was going to be with “friends,” but I knew what that really meant. She returned with a renewed determination to divorce me and move on.

The week prior to her departure for Thanksgiving I had begun a regimen of giving — little gifts, thoughtful acts, and so forth — which are a core part of the marriage reconciliation program I have been implementing. Her initial reaction was of confusion, saying things like, “why are you doing this for me?” when I’d give her something as small as a couple of chocolate truffles. But this did have an effect, and even though she was dead set on leaving me after returning from her 5 days with her lover, she ended up softening her tone within a day or two and growing a bit closer to me.

That doesn’t mean that the affair was over, not even by a long shot. But that will be the topic for the next post.

 

Help! My Spouse Is Having an Affair!

Most statistics I’ve seen indicate that about half of marriages suffer some form of infidelity at some point. This means that, if you’re married, the odds are likely even that it could happen to you. Believe me, I truly hope that it doesn’t, but if you find yourself suddenly confronted with an adulterous spouse, here’s some advice:

Don’t:

  • Confront your spouse with your knowledge of the affair. Although you’ll likely want to do it, don’t. It will just make matters worse. You’ll drive your spouse and their adulterous partner closer together, and likely drive the affair further underground. It may take longer for the affair to end, and there may be complications in reconciling your marriage as a result.
  • Talk to friends, neighbors, co-workers, family, or anyone, with the exception of a professional marriage counselor. None of these people (except for a counselor) is in the position to give you good advice. If you want to destroy your marriage, then go ahead and seek their advice, as they’ll likely tell you to get an attorney and file for divorce.
  • Go hire an attorney. Now is not the time even to consider divorce. Your emotions will be too unstable, you’ll be mad, hurt, feel violated, and so on. You need to actually do some serious introspection first to see if you want to save your marriage.
  • Air your dirty laundry to the world. There are some marriage “professionals” who advise publicly exposing the affair as widely and to as many people as possible. This is more or less going nuclear on the situation. This might be effective short term in bringing the affair to an end, but long term you’ll have serious problems reconciling your marriage. If you do take this approach, know in advance that you are destroying your spouse’s entire life.
  • Blame yourself. Don’t misunderstand me: you did have a role to play in the affair happening. You, along with your spouse, contributed to the conditions that allowed you marriage to crumble to the point where your spouse felt that s/he had to go outside the marriage to get needs met. But, the ultimate fault lies with the wayward spouse, who did have the choice to make as to whether or not to be unfaithful.
  • Snoop on your spouse. You’ll gain in information what you lose in peace of mind. Do you really need to know all the sordid details of the affair? Worse yet, if your spouse finds out, they will be justified in feeling that their privacy has been betrayed. (Sure, you’ve been betrayed as well, but two wrongs do not make a right.)
  • Move out or ask your spouse to move out. This will only make matters worse. You will be giving your spouse the opportunity to detach from you emotionally and to attach further to the affair partner.

Do:

  • Avoid any and all talk of the affair. Do not ask any questions. Do not even allow your spouse to bring it up — just shut that conversation down and tell them not to go there, ever. In most cases, your spouse will hide it from you and lie continuously about his/her behavior. As awful as this seems, this is exactly what you want to happen. The affair will be weakened by the continuous lies and deception as this will weigh on your spouse’s conscience.
  • Seek expert advice. You cannot successfully negotiate this alone. Traditional marriage counseling has, at best, mixed success; only about 20-30% of couples going this route end up successfully reconciling. I’ll post recommendations below for programs that have successful track records.
  • Work on yourself. Now is the time for critical self-evaluation. Are you really the best that you can be? What aspects of yourself or your personality need improvement? This is actually the most critical component in this situation: you did have a role to play in your spouse looking for satisfaction outside the marriage, so try to see the ways in which you could better yourself.
  • Allow yourself the time and space to grieve. Being the victim of an extra-marital affair is one of the most soul-shattering experiences a human could suffer.
  • Protect your spouse’s privacy. If friends ask what’s going on, just tell them that your marriage is a private situation and that it’s simply not appropriate to discuss it with anyone else.
  • Maintain hope. Reconciliation is possible in the vast majority of cases of spousal infidelity. Not only that, but very often such marriages go on to be much stronger and far superior to where they had been before. A wayward spouse is actually not more likely to cheat a second time, but rather has a huge incentive never to do so again if the marriage is successfully reconciled.
  • Know that the affair will end. As dispiriting as it may seem knowing that your spouse is with someone else, and despite anything you may hear about the affair, know that it will die its own natural death. There is no actual “love” between affair partners, no matter what they say. Love requires trust and honesty, and these do not exist within the context of an affair. Both partners must continuously lie and deceive their own partners, friends, family, and even each other in order for the affair to continue. The affair my drag on for a number of months, but it will end. There is virtually no chance for it continuing into a long-term relationship of any kind — including a marriage — and this is especially true if you take the right steps toward reconciling your marriage.

Now for some good advice — you know, the kind that friends and family won’t give you. Here are some programs that are useful and can be very effective in reconciling a marriage that has fallen victim to adultery:

Marriage Fitness with Mort Fertel 
Save the Marriage (Lee Baucom, Ph.D.)
Marriage Sherpa (Frank Gunzburg, Ph.D.)
Break Free from the Affair (Bob Huizenga)

Disclaimer: I don’t profess to offer any professional advice, nor do I have any financial incentive to promote any of the programs above. I have looked at all of these, and they all contain very useful information that could be used stand-alone, or in combination with one another. I personally have been working with the Marriage Fitness program, and have also consulted ideas from Save the Marriage and Break Free from the Affair. There are other options available as well, but the most important thing is that you actually do some research and find what will be best for your situation.

How I Ended Up Here: Dealing with a Cheating Spouse

I’ve been dealing with marital infidelity for almost three months now. Let me give you some background on my situation.

I’m a man in my 40s, more or less happily married (or so I thought) for the better part of seven years. I was working a stressful, time-consuming job when I got married, and my responsibilities increased within a year of our marriage to the point that I eventually would have to work up to 60 hours per week on occasion. Although my job was in a highly skilled profession requiring extensive professional training and education, it was very poorly paid, and offered a salary that would barely meet the needs of one person, let alone those of a married couple. We were located in a small, rural town that afforded virtually no employment opportunities for my wife; she was not terribly interested in pursuing much work in any event, as she was going to make finishing her professional degree a priority. Through all of this, I attempted to move us forward by trying to find a better position within my profession. I came very close to landing several opportunities, but none panned out; on top of that, politics at work led to a small group of people forcing me out of my job. This landed me, unemployed, in the midst of an economic implosion right as it was beginning to take hold in 2008.

The pressures of my job had already led me to start withdrawing emotionally from my wife, and now the loss of my job and our need to relocate exacerbated things. I began to experience a mid-life crisis, feeling totally ungrounded in my life, having no idea of what to do next. My wife had made absolutely no progress toward finishing her professional degree, and as she had never actually held a full-time job with responsibilities in her life, she was thoroughly unprepared to step in and help out financially. In fact, she saw it as entirely my responsibility to provide for the both of us, regardless of what the economy and unemployment rates might say. We both struggled to get a foothold by doing various freelance jobs, and over time managed to build a relatively stable existence. We did not manage our finances wisely at all, not in that there was not enough money, as there was, but rather in keeping separate bank accounts and assigning different financial responsibilities to each other. This turned out to be a recipe for disaster. Although my wife’s contribution to our living situation amounted to only about 25% of our total income, she viewed it as an enormous sum of money that she had to raise; relative to her modest income, that was true. She began to view me as someone who sponged off of her financially. My financial burdens were much greater, but our income was virtually the same. This meant that nearly everything I made went right back out the window on bills and other living expenses; she was able to retain her surplus income, most of which went out the window into online shopping and other pursuits.

Fast forward to 2011. I knew that things were becoming problematic when during the summer I interviewed for a job that would have required us to relocate. There had never been an issue before with us relocating, but now my wife was telling me that she would not come with me if I were to get hired. I did not get the job, so that point ended up being moot. Little did I know that a serious crisis was right around the corner.

In September 2011, we went to a cultural event at a local community college. My wife is a foreigner, and wanted to attend this event, as there was to be a special ceremony presented by a shrine that was connected with her country. We participated in this ceremony, and afterwards I noticed that she was talking to a member of the shrine — an American in his late 40s, who seemed to be looking at her with a bit of a lecherous glint in his eyes. Soon after this event, she befriended this man on Facebook. I didn’t think much of it at the time; I was more happy that she was making a connection with her cultural traditions than anything else.

In October 2011, we attended a ceremony at the shrine itself. Unbeknownst to me, she went looking for this man to talk to him, but he was not around. He contacted her online the same day, and an emotional affair was precipitated. She was also beginning a period of very busy freelance work that demanded far more of her than she was able to handle. I was not aware of the emotional affair having taken root, and just five days after it began my wife unleashed a torrent of invective at me with the slightest trigger: I was lazy, I would never change, she was miserable and deserved to be happier, and so on. This concluded with her telling me she wanted out of the marriage. I’d heard similar things from her over the past couple of years as our crisis had been slowly building, but these were always triggered by stress and would eventually blow over. This time, it was different. She actually was telling me it was over and wanted to leave me. She did not tell me there was another man. From this point on, she moved herself out of the bedroom and began sleeping in the living room.

Her busy work schedule wrapped up around the end of October, and I had hoped that I could find some resolution. I had looked around for sources of marital advice, and found a book called Marriage Fitness by Mort Fertel. It was highly rated on Amazon, so I went down to the bookstore, bought a copy, and read through it in one night. I presented the ideas to my wife, and she told me that she just wasn’t interested in fixing our relationship, and that she thought it was over. A day or so later, she told me that she’d be going out by herself on Halloween to be at a party with some newly made friends. Furthermore, she told me that she might not be coming home on that night if the party went late. She said she really needed time to be alone with these friends, and that they were willing and able to listen to her and help her through her crisis.

When that fateful day arrived, I was filled with some dread. I had to go to work, and she told me she would go out that afternoon to do some shopping and then would go out with her new friends. She did not return home that night, and I was sleepless through pretty much all of it. I checked our bank account online, and saw some suspicious purchases, including a tab at a lingerie shop for over $100. This led me to think back on her recent behavior: she had become very secretive, and was spending a lot of time on the computer. It often seemed to me that she was doing a lot of online chatting with someone, but I had no proof. Whenever I’d enter the room, however, she’d either cover the screen or close her laptop, and she would seem to get very frustrated and impatience with my mere presence. So, at some point in the middle of the night I decided to turn on her computer and see if there was any evidence of infidelity. I found one email from this man she had befriended on Facebook, and it raised my suspicions. It was not proof of an affair outright, but the text itself was suspicious.

The next day she returned. That evening, I had a long chat that began with me asking her if there was someone else — not even necessarily in the sense of there being someone she might be having an affair with, but even just someone she might be thinking about being with. She assured me there was not. After an hour or so we had both broken down and shed many tears. I actually felt that there had been a breakthrough, and that our marriage was on the path to reconciliation.

The following day, we cleaned the house together, did a bunch of yard work, and generally had a good time. She was generally more open with me, and was not being secretive about her computer. Also during that day, I had enrolled in the Marriage Fitness program that is run by the author of the book mentioned above, as I felt that I really did need to try to turn my marriage around. She had a professional obligation that night, so I dropped her off at that location and went back to cook dinner. For some reason, I felt that I had to check out her computer once more, to see if my suspicion of there being another man in her life was real, or just imagined. She had mentioned to me that she had sent a bunch of text messages that month, so I still did feel that things were a bit off. Rather carelessly, she had left her Facebook account open. I found an extensive history of chat messages with the man she had befriended in September, and it was clear from their content that she had in fact been having an affair with him.

I was devastated.

My first reaction was to do exactly the wrong things: call my family and tell them that I was getting a divorce. Then, I steeled myself for the confrontation with my wife. I gave her the opportunity to confess, but she assured me there was no one else. I then told her I had evidence, and that I wanted her out of the house.

This was an awful thing to do, by the way. She had nowhere to go, so I told her she could stay. The following day we talked about it, and began discussing divorce. I planned on canceling my order to join the marriage counseling program, but luckily (as it would turn out) did not. I really did think it was over. She discussed the affair, how she felt that this other man was her soul mate, he was everything I was not, and that she saw no future with me anymore. I was thrown into an existential crisis. The emotional upheaval was horrible, and it was made worse by the fact that my wife — the woman who had betrayed me in the worst possible way — was still in the house.

But here’s the thing: I still loved her. Some part of me was not ready for our marriage to be over, no matter what she might have said, and regardless of how harshly I had condemned her the previous night. At the end of the week, I had my first telephone conference as part of the marriage counseling program I had joined, and based on the message that was provided I decided to give it a shot for a month to see how things would turn out.

That was two months ago to the day. In subsequent posts, I’ll give a brief overview of what’s happened since then, and will continue with regular updates on how things are going at the moment.

2012: The Year of Reconciliation

Greetings, my friends.

I’ve decided to start this blog as a service to the multitude of people in the world whose marriages have been defiled by infidelity. I’m hoping that, as I document my own struggles with adultery and my attempts to reconcile my marriage, that some of the insights I post might be of help to others.

The title of this post, “2012: The Year of Reconciliation”, casts my vision of the future. It is one in which I win back my spouse’s affection, restore trust, and rebuild our marriage into the partnership of our dreams. I’m sure that many of you may doubt that this is possible, but statistics quoted in various sources would seem to indicate otherwise: only about 30% of marriages beset with infidelity end up in divorce; the remainder continue on, and if both partners are truly vested in the reconciliation process, they may go on to creating a truly superior marriage.

I’ll also be posting links to various programs that can be of help if you find your marriage in a similar situation as mine.

Best wishes to you all for the year 2012. May it bring you peace, prosperity, and marital happiness.