Getting Back to Business as Usual

When my affair became public and the initial dust settled, I wanted to get back to normal, quickly. The problem was nothing in my life was normal. I was terminated from my position within 72 hours. I lost all the friends and associates I had in my vocation, and the only comfort I found was in Christ and in my two kids who were five and four years old. Samantha was furious and completely disoriented. After the first week or so she needed out and took the kids with her and went to another state with a friend of hers for space.

When we had finally relocated, and we began to find new jobs and a new house, I wanted to get back to business as usual. I wanted regularity and normality. Samantha wanted change. She wanted to talk about it and ask questions and I wanted to talk about real estate, sports or the kids. The last thing I wanted to talk about was the affair and the collateral damage left behind.

I’ve found that one of the most dangerous reactions a couple can have is to simply get back to business as usual, sweep it under the rug and just move on with little regard to the severity of the affair(s). Couples often times will have a few counseling sessions, either together as a couple or separately, have a few deep talks and then move on as if it was simply a bump in the road.

I’m sorry, but that’s a recipe for disaster.

This isn’t a bump in the road.

It’s not even a small pothole.

It’s a breakdown of the entire fabric of your marriage and must be addressed if there is going to be healing and restoration to the individual or to the marriage. Punching a few time slots on the timecard of professional counseling will just not suffice and what ends up happening is both spouses suffer longer, as there is never a true healing which takes shape. The relationship never experiences total transformation, but only a cheap paint job that chips almost immediately as you’re driving away from the painter.

Here are a few reasons why returning to business as usual is something to stay far, far away from:

  1. When we simply go back to business as usual we sweep the affair(s) and trauma under the rug. What’s not addressed now will most certainly come back with a vengeance. It may be lasting trauma and pain. It may be unaddressed pain and hurt which leads to health issues or an inability to ever find healing. It may be untapped pain and resentment which makes the marriage miserable or even leads to revenge affairs by the betrayed spouse. You may say never me, nope that won’t happen, but I’ve talked to hundreds of betrayed spouses who had their own revenge affair within three to seven years.
  2. When we simply go back to business as usual we create exponentially higher rates of relapse. The fact is, if the affair isn’t addressed and if the unfaithful spouse doesn’t know why they cheated from a professional’s perspective, then they most likely will cheat again. They, the unfaithful, thinking they know why they cheated without expert help is just not intelligent or sufficient. Just yesterday a gentleman told me he cheated due to his wife not having enough sex with him. It’s just not that easy nor true my friends.
  3. When we simply go back to business as usual we lose an opportunity for total transformation. What if the affair(s) becoming public is exactly that, an opportunity for your marriage and for you and your spouse to experience total transformation personally and maritally? If we simply just quickly get back to life as it was, we lose the opportunity to experience a total reprogramming of our marriage and personal psyche. Over and over again, Samantha has shared with couples and masses of people that she wishes it was packaged differently, but the affair being exposed was God rescuing me and rescuing her and completely transforming our marriage, our lives and our theology.
  4. When we simply go back to business as usual we wonder if we will ever talk about anything but the affair(s). Take heart, you don’t’ have to talk about it incessantly for 10 years plus. If you obtain the right help it won’t take that long at all. Yet, if the right approach isn’t taken you may live under the shadow if it for that long, if not longer. It will most likely take about a year to two years before you’re healthy and on the road to transformation. Yet, the transformation will be more worth it than I can describe in this short little blog. The next 10 years and decades after will reap the benefit of getting the right help, right now, in the right way.

Don’t let you or your spouse simply ‘phone it in’ and get back to the grind of life. Pursue expert help and find the transformation you both have available to you. Don’t settle for anything less. Don’t allow your spouse to treat this as a little ‘bump in the road’ as it’s not and never will be.  It’s an interruption to your auto pilot which creates space for you both to respond in a way that says ‘we’re never going back to being the way we were. We want the new us and the new marriage God has for us.’ 

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Our "business as usual"

Our "business as usual" consists of him acting like everything is ok and not volunteering any more info about the affairs because he doesn't want to upset anything, not wanting to talk about them unless I ask, keeping the conversation light and impersonal -- and me guarding myself, acting polite, trying to praise him and appreciate him for every tiny thing so as not to make things worse, and keeping the pain inside because I know he is tired of talking about it and it is pushing him away. I am not being myself and he is not being himself. He may honestly feel that we are doing ok. I don't. We are two polite strangers trying to make a marriage work after complete and total devastation. It feels unnatural and contrived. It feels like that bump in the road you were talking about. Get over it and move on. It is making me even more depressed.

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