Craving Applause Part of the “why” of my affair (see earlier blog post) was craving the applause of others. I was surrounded by a crowd of people, most of whom adored me and thought I was the greatest thing since sliced bread. You could say I was addicted to the applause of the congregation and people around me, as well as my affair partner. At home however, I felt like a 4th kid. Samantha has come to grips with this treatment so this post isn’t about how she failed to do her duty. It’s more about how we as men, and as women as well, crave applause. I was celebrated everywhere I went. I had worked hard to earn the admonition and the celebration of a sea of people. The problem was, it was seductive. I had won their devotion, their applause and their affirmation. I was loved and I had worked hard to win that celebratory affection. I had also worked hard at home to win Samantha’s devotion. Though I was a selfish and self-absorbed wrecking ball, I was a wonderful father who worked incredibly hard to love my kids and care for them and provide for them. The truth, though, was somewhere in the middle. I had worked hard to earn Samantha’s devotion, but when I felt rejected or un-affirmed, I would easily quit. When it came to other situations in life or church leadership I would probably press in to the situation and see how I could truly care and love the person who was disconnected or resistant to being cared for. With Samantha, I eventually came to a point that I often times came to with people which was, OK I’ve tried time and time again, now I’m pulling back, “I’m done. “ There is a huge difference between pulling back and having an affair. However, I cannot underscore enough the desire of every spouse to feel applauded for their efforts and their hard work on themselves, the marriage and the family. Though they may have blown their lives up and your lives up, I bet you at some level they crave your applause. They may deny it. They may marginalize it or trivialize it, but one of the most enticing things about an affair partner is the way(s) they make us feel about ourselves. It’s enticing, it’s riveting, and it’s engulfing. It’s also part of what marriage is supposed to entail, but so desperately comes short to time and time again. Sure, some would say it’s never ending and I get that, but it’s not that simple to just marginalize the need to applaud your spouse, even post affair when recovery methods are in place. It wasn’t long before I finally realized if I had praised Samantha more and not talked so much about her disapproval, we would have enjoyed more life together. Now, before you send an email saying that your lying, cheating, good for nothing spouse got all the applause they needed, or that they don’t deserve any applause now, I get it. Don’t hit send. What I’d like to suggest is, is there a way you can be more applauding of your spouse, and does the current state of your recovery call for more applause? I guarantee it will HELP prevent relapse and I guarantee it will help he or she to reciprocate with you as well. We are still working hard to implement this in our marriage, at 18 years married and 8 years post affair. I hope it helps you and gives you some insight into another chapter in the unfolding process of recovery for you that are 8 days in, or 8 years plus in.