Rick's Personal Story of Infidelity

Post bad advice that you've received as a comment and Rick will pick a few of the posts to respond to via Video next week.

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Just have more sex!!

After telling our counselor about my affairs, we were told that my wife needed to win me back. He told her she needed to get past the affair and stop shaming me and start having more sex with me to get my attention back towards her. She was told to stop talking about it and move on. He told us that if we started having more sex that everything would work itself out. I was very happy to hear this advice only to see my wife more furious than she had been yet. Thankfully we found Affair Recovery and things are making more sense to us as we read some of the blogs and articles. I don’t see how that advice could work for anyone.

Why Does It Matter

After finding out about my husband's infidelity, we immediately went to see a Christian counselor for help. She met separately with my husband first, and when it was my turn, I expressed to her I didn't feel like my husband was being completely honest with me about what happened. Her response was, "Why does it matter?" I was dumbstruck by her question. My answer was, "because he is asking for my forgiveness, and I would like to know exactly what it is I need to forgive."

Affairs rarely happen in good marriages

After discovering my husband's affair, we saw a highly respected and recommended Christian therapist in the city where we lived at the time. At our first meeting with him after sharing our story, his very first response to us was, verbatim, "affairs rarely happen in good marriages." I felt as though the last remaining life preserver from the sinking ship had been ripped from my grip. Sixteen years of marriage and clearly, the affair was my fault. And it was up to me, the betrayed spouse, to fix it. I accepted that and poured myself into being a "better" wife. And seven months later? The affair was still alive and well, despite my best efforts at a "good" marriage. I'm haunted by that statement.

"We have to see what your (meaning my) responsibility in this

For approximately two months prior to the disclosure of my husbands affair, we went to marriage counseling because I was convinced that my husband was behaving inappropriately at work BUT I never thought he was having an affair (I don't know why).

As the discussions at the marriage counselors office unfolded, the marriage counselor told me that I needed to let my husband find his voice and that we (she and I) would work on figuring out what my "responsibility" was that was causing him to behave in such a way.

Then disclosure happens and the counselor tells me that my husband is suicidal and should not be left alone, after all-- I need to see that good people make mistakes and that the affair person made him feel comfortable and I should try to make him feel comfortable so we could get beyond all this. She reminded me that suffering is the leading cause of suicide and I would not want my children to lose their father because of all this. I was stunned!

Following this, she also recommended that she see my husband privately and work with him and that I should come back to the sessions in six to eight weeks. When I returned, she reminded me in front of my husband of how upset and embarrassed he must be that I told his parents and his boss. She also told me that I needed to control rage.

Finally, when I got my strength up--it became a requirement that my husband no longer see this therapist and together we went to see another therapist (another useless one). This therapist was all about feeling good, being calm, she used to tell us to communicate, communicate--look at each other when you talk,. My husband fed her so many lines, it was unbelievable.

The day came when I was done with her too and went on my own journey to heal. I joined support groups, went on a weekend for betrayed spouses and slowly but surely began to grow as a person. My husband continued to see the second therapist. More than a year after what I thought was disclosure, the real truth was revealed at the end of an intensive couples weekend. BOOM--it was more than I ever imagined.

Shocked and devastated once more--I was mad on all levels--my husband, myself (for thinking I was healing), the first therapist for being crazy, the second therapist for being nice but stupid and unskilled and also God. I mean, I stayed, I worked, I trusted....what else would God want from me?

Today, we see a very skilled therapist individually and she has been able to identify the gaps in each of us and our marriage. She has helped me to see that there is something bigger than all this. It still hurts so much to think, I trusted these professionals and actually believed that I had responsibility in the decision my husband made to have an affair.

It's not your fault....but

As we started into marriage counseling after my husband's infidelity I at first felt hope with our counselor. She seemed empathetic and kind and acknowledged the pain I was in. However a pattern started to appear. It would be some variation of "Of course it is not your fault, but we need to examine...". I felt like every time the sentence was qualified with a "but" it erased the "it's not your fault". It was just too early. Our marriage did need to be strengthened - that is always going to be true - however the affair needed to be dealt with first. The affair was not primarily a symptom of our marriage it was a symptom of my husbands lifelong shame. My husband had been keeping so much of himself to himself for so long that there was a tremendous amount of work he needed to do to be honest with me - and not just about the affair - but about who he was. I finally realized that I needed support and I wasn't going to get it there and I got my own counselor. When my husband finally started the real and hard work on himself the marriage started working too. I went along with the marriage counselor because I was in shock and in pain - but I will never again let anyone tell me "it's not your fault...but".

bad advice

Our counsellor told me, the betrayed spouse, that my husband "wouldn't go out for hotdogs if he were getting steaks at home". What a slap in the face.

Three strikes...we gave up

After discovering my husbands emotional affair in August 2012, realizing we were in deep trouble, we decided to find a councilor and discovered a husband and wife team. What a disaster the wife met with me the husband met with my husband. After several sessions my husbands councilor met with the two of us and I was told I had to get over it and forgive my husband, and yes it was my fault that he had a 20 month relationship with his co-worker. The second Councilor we went to was a woman who was supposed to be vey good in this area. After hearing my story, as I met with her first. She told me to divorce my husband without even talking to him. I was angry, I told her you did not even hear his side of the story and recommending divorce. My husband was very upset. Obviously, we left and never went back there. Several months later we decided to try once again this time I thought maybe trying a male councilor again after the last disaster. This councilor sat with us and listened, he gave us no direction or advice, and told us we would be able to work this out on our own. Well here we are another year later and still in trouble so much for councilors, we gave up.

She needs to be treated like a queen!!

After my wife's second affair, the first counselor we saw told me that I could prevent this behavior if I would just treat her like a queen.......really??
Sad to say, it's not easy to find one that can really offer any kind of decent advice.

Some of the worst advice

Some of the worst advice comes from well meaning friends and family. I've had some tell me I should cheat so he knows how it feels or play a variety of mind games to "win them back" from the affair. My own mother said I should apply heavy makeup and whipped out my 20 year old glamour shot for inspiration!!!! I knew that trying to compete and play the pick me game would only be degrading and refused to resort to that stuff.

Stephanie's Story

Rick: I appreciate you sharing your story with us. Does Stephanie ever tell her story and what her journey through recovery to healing was like?

I know your husband is telling the truth

The first counselor came highly recommended to us by our pastor. We went and saw him and he was completely focused on my husband. They talked at great length. He then came and told me "I've been counseling for years and your husband is telling the truth. He's only ever been with one woman." I replied in shock, "I just don't believe it. My husband had such a comfort level before discovery; there's no way it was just one." He responded. "I can count on one hand how many times I've been wrong." He assured me over and over that this was an easy case. I simply had to pretend nothing happened, have more sex and everything would be fine. Well, after following my own intuition, I found out there were a total of 5 sex based affairs over a 25 year span. I was completely destroyed, disheartened and angry! Not only angry about the discoveries but by the fact that the counselor didn't believe me. He really wouldn't listen. The counselor wanted me to buy the same old story. "If you had been meeting his needs he wouldn't have had to go looking elsewhere." This is a lie and no woman should believe it for a minute. Unless a gun is held to a man’s head, it's a man’s own choices that cause an affair. If the counselor was a true professional he would have immediately known that men lie to cover their sins and things come out over time. What would make any counselor think "One woman, one time." is true. If a counselor is going to call himself a professional and try to help people, he should first and foremost listen and second, he should have a clue!

The second counselor was a wonderfully sweet person. She suggested I pray about the situation and God would heal me, and in time, my marriage. I knew instinctively that's not how it works. True work has to be done to create something new and good out of rubble. God can certainly help but brushing it under the rug and thinking it's simply going to be “all better” is not reality. Very hard work was needed, especially after it was determined that my husband had a sexual addiction. An emotional affair is one type of affair and might be more common; sexual addiction is an entirely different beast. With sexual addiction, nothing will ever satisfy "a man’s needs". Ugh! How humiliating the ignorance of others can be to an injured spouse.

My one piece of advice is don't mess around with just any counselor. Find one that knows the complexities of betrayal - in all their forms. It is worth every penny to avoid lousy, relationship destroying advice. There truly is hope with the right help.

Make sure he suffers

I know our friends mean well at times, and just want to "have your back", but one of my friends told me that I was acting too nice too early. She didn't think it was good to forgive him too early, because if he didn't feel the pain and work hard at our relationship, that he might think he got "off easy" and be more apt to have an affair again. She said it was important for him to feel as much pain as I do.
I had another male friend who told me that this was normal for guys. That I shouldn't worry about it because it was just for the sex and the AP meant nothing.

worst advice i got about my husband's 13 year long affair

9 months ago we first saw a counselor, after he ask us about our life and what we did for a living, he listen to part of the story,he never got the full story. His advice was to go home and love each other because we were getting too old for this. Mind you my mind is already messed up with what I am finding out about my husband, I don't remember leaving his office. One month later we see his partner, who tell me I know you are upset in the most soothing voice I have heard. Then he tells me and my husband that his affair kept him balanced. To this day I have no idea what that means. I haven't been back. I would rather go this along in trying to find help for me.

Bad Advice 101

When I discovered my husbands affair I confronted him. About 2 weeks later he disclosed that this was not his first affair. The first was 20 years ago there was a second one about 9 years after that and then the most current one. The differences are after the first one he did leave me, for 6 weeks but never told me that he had an affair. He just said that it was better for me and our then 8 month old daughter if he left. I never knew about the second affair, but once I was told the year that it occurred I could almost pin point the time that it happened because I remembered the disconnect in our marriage during that time. Then the most resent affair a week or so before I discovered the affair I was asked for a divorce and told the reason that he wanted a divorce was because he just was not in love with me any longer.
We went to a therapist, he was clueless. He tried to give us advise that would help if we had normal marriage issue. He told us not to dwell in the past that nothing there could be changed we need to focus on building a new marriage and he would give us the tools to insure we would have a good marriage and that is the best way to insure that another affair would not happen.
I wanted and still want to know WHY? WHY he had the affairs. I was told why did not matter. Why would not change what happened. And that I just needed to remember the positive qualities that my husband had to offer and why we fell in love in the first place.
At one point I was told that I needed to understand that my husband was as hurt by his actions as I was. That he would need my help in overcoming his guilt. Here I am about to go check myself into a mental hospital, my regular doctor has taken me off work and diagnosed me with PTSD and clinical depression and this man is telling me I need to help the person that caused all this trauma to me.
In another session the therapist told me part of the issue was me being negative and that it was not helping my husbands self esteem to speak to him the way that I was and that if I was not willing to focus on the positives then our issues would never be resolved. I told the therapist you are asking me to stay with a man that I am not even sure I would give a second date to if we where just meeting. I have always had very strong opinions about people that cheat on their spouses and my husband knew this before he ever had the first affair. My mother was cheated on. My grandmothers where both cheated on. Both my husbands grandfathers cheated and the family is pretty sure his father cheated. So this is a conversation that we covered REALLY REALLY well before marriage.
A few sessions after that the therapist basically blamed me out right for my husband having the affair by saying that I was co-dependent and controlling and that is what caused my husband to retaliate by having affairs. My husband told him that I was not to blame that these where things that he made the choice to do and that he was off the mark. That was our last meeting with him.
We have a meeting with new therapist next week. We have been told that he deals with these issues. I have found TONS of assistance through books and on line and from affair recovery. My husband and I are working on the issues. It has been a long road already. And I do understand that my husband has damaged himself and that we both have to heal and that is what we are working toward now. We are prayerful that the new therapist is ready to assist us in recovery.
D-day April 2014

Really?

I didn't want to post this but has anyone else been told that "your husband was merely a victim because the AP was a poacher". He stated that actually.... We both are now victims. I have recieved no support period. Let me say that again... My husband was a victim and therefore the poor choices he made were not really his fault. The AP was just trolling and my husband was unable to stop himself ( for over 3 months) because she knew just what SHE was doing .
For almost a year the pain I can't seem to shake has never been addressed .except for "its normal".
we are on our own - it took 9 months for my husband to take full responsibility..... Prayer is powerful.