Most People Can Get Over the Affair My years of experience pale in comparison to Rick’s, however I’ve realized several principles while working for him these past years (and living through my own nightmare) and helping couples and individuals heal from the effects of infidelity. The other day Rick and I were talking and I alluded to something that he confirmed. I was discussing the struggle of a particular couple and asking him for some thoughts on it and he shared with me his perspective from close to 30 years, THAT’S 30 YEARS of treating infidelity and compulsive behaviors. He said “Samuel, most people can get over the affair(s): it’s the lying they can’t get over. It’s the continual discovery of new information they can’t get over. It’s the continual relapses they can’t get over.” In no way is that to minimize the fact that you or your spouse have broken a covenant and trust and completely annihilated the marriage boundaries. The fact that this has happened is devastating in every sense of the word and is not to be overlooked. However, I have found that many men and women are able to overcome the existence of infidelity and forgive their mate. However, oddly enough, there are certain things these same spouses are not able to overcome and likewise there are certain actions the unfaithful are unwilling to let go of. For today, we’ll discuss the fact that betrayed spouses are not able to overcome and endure the perpetual lying. Believe it or not, with the right help, spouses can forgive and overcome the reminders and triggers associated with infidelity. However, when the lying does not cease and the deception continues on, spouses are simply not able to get a read on when their spouse is telling them the truth and when they are lying. (Yes, to those who are already thinking what I’m about to share…...) Some spouses just plain refuse to be honest again about much of anything. They are so used to lying and telling half-truths, they just will not be totally honest about anything. From their feelings, to how long the affair was, to who they talked to today on the phone, to what this person said or that person said to a litany of other instances. The reasons are another blog altogether, but the fact is, the inability of the unfaithful spouse to return to honesty is what many times is the undoing of the marriage altogether, not the infidelity per se. The betrayed spouse is then no longer able to discern between what to believe, what not to believe and cannot reestablish trust. Trust is rebuilt on intimacy and intimacy is rebuilt though honesty and if there is no honesty, trust can never be restored and the marriage has little true hope. It can be as simple as a spouse saying “I had a sandwich for lunch” yet later that night the betrayed spouse sees on the credit card statement that he/she went to a Chinese food restaurant.” The appearance of recurring deception seemingly punches the betrayed in the gut and it creates the appearance of never ending deception. The betrayed spouse is no longer paralyzed by the affair, but paralyzed by the lying. This may shed some light to both spouses in terms of understanding recovery. For example, if you’re an unfaithful spouse and having trouble being honest, perhaps this will help you understand why the slightest bit of mistruth or untruth launches your spouse into a panic attack. Additionally, if you’re spouse feels they can’t trust you about where you eat lunch and what you eat, how can they trust you about the business trip, the night out with clients or where you were for a two hour meeting? For the betrayed spouse, I know it’s all overwhelming. Maybe this explains why your emotions run riot when there is any form of deception. It’s a huge reminder but it’s also a return to ground zero in your mind and heart and so it causes you to return to the same emotions you felt weeks, months or years ago. You may initially feel like it’s the affair that’s the root cause, but I would ask you to reconsider and perhaps realize it’s the deception which is the culprit here. Yes the affair was wrong and devastating, but maybe you’ve gotten a grip on that and forgiven it, yet the lying or deception is what is stealing from you? I’d love to hear your thoughts or questions if you need help.