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Directions to Go — 6 Comments

  1. Dear Nancy,
    If I were to spend time in my office with you, I still would not know which or whichever direction you should go. I would not know whether maybe you should just go back to sleep and pretend nothing is going on. All that is for you to decide. Use your counselor to think and talk through your plans.
    The way I look at it, any way you go is “RIGHT”. Either you are going to look back on your decision and say, “Wow, I'm glad I chose that.” or you will look back and say, “Wow, I sure learned a lesson from that mistake.” Either way you win.
    I can share where I would focus: safety and commitment. I would plan out anything you do with your physical and emotional safety in mind – and his. Safety and trust are the same thingy. If you wanna move toward more safety, you gotta move toward more trust. The articles I've shared with you have the principles and details.
    Confronting him can easily be seen as a move toward more sharing and toward more trust and away from habitual lying that both of you do. It can also be seen as a kind of attack and a way to vent your perfectly understandable anger and resentment (at yourself and him). I like the venting part – but doing it safely. I don't value the “attack” part. Trading him calling you a little kid for acting like an angry parent doesn't seem like a good deal. I do love the movement toward more truthfulness and safety.
    Commitment is the bigger issue. By what stretch of the imagination do you believe that either of you display commitment toward anything other than a shallow partnership of living together? I don't know if he wants a marriage of depth. Maybe he's happy with you and his other play friends. Maybe that is the kind of marriage he wants. Maybe you want that too. That is ultimately a question for you to answer – each day.
    Take a look at my Map of Relationships. Do you want Vintage Love? Then commit to it and work for it. It takes only one. If he wants to come along that would be a bonus. My stuff is all about the practical and theoretical steps to achieve that.
    Good luck.

  2. Dear Al,
    Thank you so much for replying promptly. I have ordered the book and read some of the articles you recommended. I will continue to learn. There are many concepts that are new and unfamiliar to me.
    I have been seeing a counselor on my own. My partner is not willing to seek counseling together with me. He thinks that I have been brainwashed but I disagree. He views my changes, such as trying to be more independent, as foolish rebellion like a teenager. I think that I am more of a Slave, although I do speak like a Master at times. I think that I am very lacking in boundary skills and communication skills, so our conversation almost always turns into arguments. Is it a good idea to somehow get him to read the recommended book and articles? It seems awfully hard to grow alone without his active participation.
    The biggest issue is indeed TRUST. I could not believe that I was so blind. I easily accepted his lies over so many years. After knowing how well he can lie and manipulate people, I found myself constantly questioning his words, his actions, and motivations behind them, wondering whether they are genuine or just another way of manipulating me.
    I also withhold my own truth to him. After discovering his 8-year affair with someone we both know, I spent several months on secretly playing a detective to figure out what-was-going-on. I stopped doing it because I think that it was an unhealthy behavior and a tremendous waste of my time and energy. My time may be better spent on growing myself. I only questioned him some of the things I found but not all.
    On the one hand, I want to confront him with ALL of the information I had gathered about the affair. There are specifics that he does not realize that I have found out, and I really want to know whether my interpretation is right. On the other hand, I hope that he would tell me the whole truth himself. In my opinion, he needs to do that if he is willing to save our marriage. In this case, I could also check his words against what I know to see whether he is still lying. However, this seems to be a foolish hope because people say that most cheaters lie to the very end. I am torn between the two. Sometimes I think about becoming a detective again to figure out whether he is still having affairs or not.
    In your opinion, which would be the more constructive way to proceed? I think that both of us don't feel safe with each other at this point. Thank you so much.

  3. Dear Nancy,
    Thanks for reminding me of that “missing article.” It goes on my to-do list, but because you are asking, I'll share a bit now.
    I imagine that the reason I haven't added to this is that Affairs are such a common problem that they have been written about over and over. Here's a good reference for reading material. Back from Betrayal: Saving a Marriage, a Family, a Life
    My thinking is that there are two great sources of information that arise from affairs. This stuff must be shared.
    1) The issue of TRUST will become a specialty for both members of the relationship. Rebuilding trust can take years.
    2) The nature of the affair leads to vast amounts of information about the “affairing partner” that was not being shared. It now must be shared. Again a huge issue of trust-yet-to-be-developed.
    To build Trust I think you need to get rid of any habits of lying and accepting lies. I suggest my articles on To be safe you must share, and How much should you tell,. Then I think you need to have the whole Lizard and the stuff on Caring Behaviors that follows. And finally you are gonna have to absorb all the stuff on Resentments,, Healing the Past, and then get to work.
    Best of luck.

  4. Hi Al,
    I visited your site in 1/2008. I liked it very much and read many articles. However, I could not find articles on the topic related my situation: Married: partner having an affair. A year and half later, both I and my partner are thinking of or moving toward leaving. It seems to me awfully hard to save the marriage after infidelity. It hurts so much to think about ending our relationship after knowing each other for 22 years. Could you finish the articles on what to do and how to heal after an affair? Or could you give me some hints on the directions to go? I would truly appreciate it.

  5. How do you know when it's time to give up on a marriage and just move on? I am completely numb. The things that were once important to me in this relationship aren't now. I no longer seem to want anything from it, or to give any more to it. I started to feel this way about a year ago, when my husband announced he was leaving me. He didn't leave. I thought I was off balance, feeling insecure and would work my out of it, but I'm not. The more soul searching I do, the more I just feel alienated and apathetic.

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