10 steps to heal the relationship and rebuild trust with your partner. Focus is primarily on men.
considering them controlling you? Grow up.
STEP FIVE- TOTAL COMMITMENT TO TRANSPARENCY IN THE PROCESS
Step Five is all about transparency; it's about Mike (you) willingly and openly sharing the changes he has been making (in other words, his work) from steps 3 and 4.
What's important here is that Mike is not being transparent just to get Jessica to trust him again. Transparency is also good for Mike, whether he stays with Jessic or not.
NEWS FLASH: Steps 3 and 4 are what most women want in a relationship even without infidellty.
Mike's changes will only be permanent if he is doing this for himself. These changes are the only safeguard from the typical men's "just tell me what to do to fix the problem". The same applies to you. The changes you make will only be permanent if you are doing them for yourself, and not trying to, "fix the problem".
Remember that most men tend to backslide into old behavior within months of practicing, "fix the problem" mentality. When guys do this, women get really pissed. Women experience backsliding as another trust violation and it makes women question their partner's sincerity. When this happens, women resume their process of disengaging from the relationship ( that means eventually the relationship will end). Don't kid yourself, guys, she may still get up in the morning and do the routine things, but it's not resolved for her. The relationship is in jeopardy of ending. Most women leave relationships over time. Usually it's not something big or dramatic that ends it. It's something little one day and a click goes on inside their head and the relationship is over.
ARE THE FIRST FIVE STEPS OVERWHELMING?
I'm not going to sugar-coat it: recovering from an infidelity is hard work, and there are no assurances that the relationship can survive such a breach of trust.
I can assure you the changes you will undergo will benefit you in all of your closest relationships.
Take a breath, do the work and check out our next post.
Once again we'll use the example of Mike and Jessica as we explain the remaining steps.
STEP SIX- THE INJURED PARTNER IS IN SUPPORTIVE THERAPY FOR HERSELF
Jessica must have a safe place to begin to heal as she is reeling in all kinds of emotional directions. The swings can include devastation, hurt, betrayal, thoughts of "What's wrong with me? Why me?", feelings of humiliation, being duped and stupid, not being sure of herself and realizing the relationship she once thought was one way----wasn't. Jessica has to be patient with herself. Every person is different. There is no timeline for when Jessica will work through her feelings. The internal/external pressure Jessica does not want to put on herself is when will I be through this. Nobody likes to be in emotional pain. Everyone's pace is different when working through emotional pain. The longer you judge yourself not being through this. The longer it takes.
WORKING IN COUPLES THERAPY- THE DO'S AND DON'TS
STEP SEVEN- THE INJURING PARTY IS ABSOLUTELY OPEN TO ALL QUESTIONS THE INJURED PARTY HAS
Part of the healing process for Jessica is to ask all the questions around the infidelity. I have found there are two main reasons for these questions.
1. As I previously stated, Jessica now feels stupid and duped. She doesn't want to feel that way again.
2. Jessica's intuition has been compromised. There were times that Jessica's intuition told her something didn't feel right. That maybe something
was going on. She may have asked Mike "are you seeing someone?" or question some behavior from Mike that was odd or suspicious. Mike
lied about it and/or chastised Jessica for being crazy. When Mike gives Jessica the answers to the questions it fills in gaps for her. Most
importantly, it restores Jessica's confidence in her own intuition ( "I was right then. Something was going on. Your behavior was suspicious.
I wasn't stupid or crazy.")
Note- I inform the men (women if reversed) about the importance of asking the questions. It's important that they have patience for this. If you're complaining about how long will this take. The longer it takes. Remember get in that person's shoes. You would be feeling the same way.
STEP EIGHT- (THIS IS A HARD ONE FOR THE INJURED PARTY)- NO EXPLICIT SEXUAL INTIMACY QUESTIONS
I have found when the injured party goes into these questions; it just takes them to a "place of absolute inadequacy". Feelings of inadequacy are problematic issues for many of us anyway. If Mike tells Jessica that the sex was better; devastation for Jessica. If Mike tells Jessica the sex wasn't better; Jessica won't believe him. It's a "no-win" scenario for either partner. (Note: I have found that most men, more so than women, focus on the sexual detail questions. As you remember from my comments on the socialization of men. It's about performance for us. Our self-esteem is wrapped up in performance. So if sex occurred in the infidelity then there must be something wrong with me as a man. Most men when the infidelity happens to them; almost always want to know if it went sexual and then the details.)
For all partners, male or female, the violation from an infidelity happened the moment we emotionally opened ourselves to a third party. The intimate things that we shared with our partner are now being shared with someone else.
News flash: It's not the sex, it's the devastation from having gone outside the relationship to begin with.
STEP NINE- THIS IS A DIRECT MESSAGE TO THE INJURED PARTY: YOU ALREADY KNOW WHAT YOU WILL DO IF IT HAPPENS AGAIN
The injured party (Jessica) already knows what she will do if the infidelity happens again. You will leave the relationship. Your respecting yourself.
Mike knows Jessica will probably leave if it happens again. The point here is this: Mike is going to go through all the steps above and then turn around and have another affair. JESSICA WOULD YOU EVEN WANT TO BE WITH SOMEONE LIKE THAT?
Really, Mike couldn't have the balls to come to you to end the relationship if he didn't want to be in it. He's going to start up another affair. JESSICA FLEE FROM SOMEONE LIKE THIS.
STEP TEN- WORKING ON ALL THE OTHER ISSUES IN THE RELATIONSHIP- IN COUPLES THERAPY
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS EXCUSING AN INFIDELITY.There were and are other things that were contributing to the relationship being dysfunctional. I mentioned some of these in earlier steps. Things such as: obvious poor communication; not being heard in the relationship; intimacy distancing either emotional/sexual or both; afraid to work through emotional conflict; lack of emotional trust; caretaking; co-dependency; doing things out of obligation rather than want; etc.
In conclusion I have found over the years when couples have experienced an infidelity; if they are willing to do the above TEN STEPS they do re-establish the trust in their relationship and their relationship can even better.