What do you do if your spouse cheats and then wants to put the marriage back together again? Maybe because you asked, “Can we put the marriage back together again?” they feel bad about what they did. And it’s like, “ok, let’s give it a shot.” Or maybe they came to you and said, “I’m so very sorry about what I did. Let’s see if we can salvage this thing.” Either way, the same problem’s going to exist if your spouse has been unfaithful to you, and that’s this; can you trust them again? What does affair recovery look like?
Let’s talk about that.
Dr. Joe Beam:
I’m Dr. Joe beam with MH International, along with our CEO and our mighty leader, Kimberly Holmes. Kimberly, what kind of thing do you think that people are thinking when they’re asking themselves?
Can I trust him or her again?
One of the biggest things I believe people are thinking is more of a protective mindset of “is this going to happen again?” And “how can I make sure that it doesn’t?”
That’s a very human nature part of us. I mean, a very primal part. We want to protect ourselves and make sure we don’t experience the same hurts that we’ve gone through again.
But what makes it difficult is that we can’t control our spouse or what they do or how they act. When we’re trying to learn to trust, what we’re really trying to do is, is figure out how can I make sure that this marriage is protected and that I’m not going to get hurt again?
Dr. Joe Beam:
I think that’s it. I think that’s absolutely the gist of it. And when you look at that, it’s always about, Hmm, but he lied, or she lied.
Well, we hear that every time. And sometimes people will actually say it this way – “I think the thing that hurts most was how much he or she lied, and I believed them. When I realized it was a lie and begin to confront them, they denied it and tried to make me think I was the one who was crazy” or something like that. So it’s the lying, and since he or she lied so effectively or so consistently before, how can I know that they’re not lying now?
Usually, I reply to that, “What did you expect them to do?” Now, I’m not justifying their lying. I’m not justifying their affair. Everything they did was wrong in that situation, but what else did you expect them to do?
If somebody is doing something they know is wrong, it violates the marriage they have with you. While they’re doing that, do you think they are thinking, “Well, I just need to go tell my spouse right away what’s up.” Now, believe it or not, there are some people who do that, but it’s exceptionally rare because most of the time, they know what they’re doing is wrong. They feel it inside of themselves, and so they try to hide it.
And when they try to hide it, that means they have to lie. Lie about where they are, about where they’ve been, lie about what kind of money was spent and why it was spent that way. Lie when they’re actually confronted about things like, “well, what about this? What about that?” And they come up with the weirdest excuses, and if, if they can’t come up with an excuse, they make you think that you’re the one who is nuts. Like, “Wow, I mean, are you just missing some time here? I mean, what’s wrong.”
And sometimes, they’ll even say this woman that you’re so suspicious of is actually very much on your side. She’s your friend. She wants our marriage to make it all kinds of things like that. Kimberly, when people have been so effective and consistent at lying, is there a way ever to trust them again?
There is a way to trust them again. It’s not easy. It has to be built or rebuilt over time because of just what I was saying a minute ago; when you realize that someone that you have trusted has been lying to you and you believed those lies, then there’s that part of you that is more aware of all of these cues that could show that the person is lying.
Part of it is a kind of overriding that, which can only be done with experience and with more interactions with that person showing that they can be trusted again.
Also, at some point, it becomes a decision on my part. If I were in this situation, it would eventually have to be me saying I’m going to choose to trust at this time. And even if I don’t feel it, I won’t chase those feelings of fear and worry that a lie is happening. Instead, I will follow the belief that he’s telling the truth now, and that’s just what I’m going to go with until proven otherwise.
Dr. Joe Beam:
That sounds pretty simple, but that’s extremely difficult to do. Don’t you think?
Yes, because you’re overriding hardwired, emotional, and neurological responses. So yes, it is difficult. It’s more difficult at first, but over time, it becomes easier.
Dr. Joe Beam:
Aren’t you assuming that the person who cheated is now actually committed to being faithful? That’s what they’re questioning part of. Is he really committed to being faithful? Is she really committed to being faithful? So what you said is extremely powerful and very much on cue. If you really believe the other person is committed.
Then sometimes that’s part of the problem. It’s like, “he says he is, but how do I know that he really is?” Isn’t that part of it?
Yeah. That’s a huge part of it. I mean, to rebuild trust, there has to be an agreement of reconciliation and moving past the thing that caused distrust in order for trust to really be rebuilt.
Dr. Joe Beam:
Yeah. As a matter of fact, I think we can explain that even better as we go through some of these phone calls.
Let’s go to this first call and listen to this lady who talks about the fact that her husband had been involved in an 11-year long affair before she could catch him or know for a fact that that’s what he was doing. And she’s talking about trust.
I would like to know-how building and regaining trust is different after an 11-year affair versus a shorter length affair. In your opinion, is it any different?
Would there be different or additional steps that should be taken to reestablish trust? Do you think it can be done without coaching and or professional help?
After living in a lie and being lied to for 11 years, I can’t imagine ever really trusting him again. Do you think it’s even possible?
I just want to say thank you for taking our questions and thank you for all you do. I really appreciate all your organization does. Thank you.
Dr. Joe Beam:
Well, thank you for those kind words. And I am so very sorry for the pain that you have to be experiencing after you discover an 11-year affair. There were several different parts to that question.
One was, is it different if it’s a short-lived affair that’s relatively short or one that lasts 11 years? Is there a difference to that?
The other question is can we get past it without professional help?
Ok. And then she said, I can’t imagine being able to believe him again because of the fact that it went on for 11 years like that.
In other words, if I can be deceived that long, I must not be very good at interpreting whether he’s telling me the truth or not. So at least those three questions in there.
Now, let me just speak to that first part about the difference between an 11 year-long affair as opposed to a different one. You understand that when we talk about our affairs, we talk about our pairs typically in three different categories.
One is what we call a short-lived affair. And a short-lived affair is the proverbial one-night stand, although it can actually last a couple of years, believe it or not. But the thing about that particular kind of affair is that
there’s not a strong, emotional connection to the other person. That is a connection that they have is primarily sexual not, not really emotional, but sexual.
Two is the allowed affair, and that’s when people do like what they used to call “wives swapping” and “swinging,” and the lifestyle, open marriage that kind of thing, but is not relevant here at all.
Then the other kind of affair we talk about is the relationship affair, where they really develop a solid relationship. That relationship keeps them together for a long period of time. Now, it might appear that an 11 year-long affair was a very deep relationship affair. Yet, it would bring up these kinds of questions:
- Why didn’t he leave you?
- If that kind of strong emotional connection was occurring with this other person, why did she not insist that he divorce you and come be with her?
- If she were married, why didn’t she divorce her husband to come be with your husband?
- And why did your husband keep coming home?
So, while it could have been a very long-term relationship affair, the odds are not in favor of that. Now, obviously, we don’t know your husband, and I can’t tell you exactly what it was.
There’s one that we don’t ever talk about, Kimberly, which is really a fourth kind of affair. Actually, it should be a subheading to the first kind of affair, the short-lived affair, but it’s a longer version of it. And that’s what I personally refer to sometimes as the fantasy affair. Now that’s not a technical term. It’s just one that I use. And it’s basically like this; there’s some need I’m getting fulfilled out there, and usually, it has to do with sexuality.
Like one lady talking to me about her husband and how he and this other woman was married, they would go off and do these sexual vacations. They would go do this thing, which was highly sexual, for ten years.
Now, you think he’s in limerence with her? My response was that it doesn’t sound like limerence to me.
It doesn’t sound like limerence to me. I don’t think it’s a very deep, close relationship emotionally. I think it’s basically a short-lived affair that has extended into a long period of time because there’s some kind of thing being fulfilled. A thrill of some kind. Some kind of a backstory going on that we don’t really understand. The reason I call that a fantasy affair is because of the fact that they want to maintain
real life. I want to come home to you. I want to be with you.
I want to be with my children. I want this thing to exist and last, and that’s why over 11 years, they don’t leave. It’s a fantasy that they’re fulfilling in some fashion, either about the sex or about something else having to do with it.
So it’s probably a lot different than a limerent affair. Of course. Again, I can’t tell you for sure; I don’t know your husband. In that case, whatever it was, he was seeking and being fulfilled by to at least some degree, where he continued for 11 years. Is that different than the other kind of affairs we normally deal with?
The answer is yes.
Then you asked the question, “could we still get past that?” And the answer is yes if he could recognize what it was that was drawing him to that. If this is an 11 year long limerance, limerance typically doesn’t last more than four years, and that’s at the outside.
He’s probably going to say something about “it did something for me.”
Can he get along without professional help when it comes to this? The answer is probably not.
Can people get past things without professional help? Sure they can.
In a situation like this, where something’s been going on for 11 years, if you want to be able to trust them again, you probably want some kind of assurance. You’ll want to know that whatever that thing he was going after was, is understood, and he won’t be chasing it anymore.
And so, in that sense, I would think that probably this guy does need some professional therapy of which you need to be a part. Not that you’d be at every session, but you’d be a part of that so that you can understand what’s going on.
Kimberly, you think I’m way off track with that, or is that somewhere close to right?
Right on track.
At the end of her call, she already mentioned that she didn’t know how she could trust him again. So I would highly recommend they get professional help.
Now the asterisk here is finding the right professional help. Thinking about how she’s kind of wavering and waffling, the last thing she needs to hear it from someone who’s just never experienced this before as a professional and therefore is just going to say, “Hm, seems like maybe you should divorce if he’s been having an 11 year-long affair.” It could be overcome, moved forward from, and the relationship made better, but you need to find someone who knows how to handle it now.
He needs to work through his stuff, but she needs to work through hers and learn how to trust him again. Finding someone who’s pro-marriage will help with that. I wouldn’t try and tackle this alone. It’s too big of a mountain to try and even figure out how to begin climbing.
Dr. Joe Beam:
I think you’re right. The other thing is like you said, she’ll need some help too. She’ll need to overcome self-doubt and questions like “Am I not good enough?”, “Am I not attractive enough or wonderful enough?” and “Am I not lovely and lovable?”
Then understanding what he did and even making your decision as to whether you want to go forward or not. Because obviously, if you choose to, you can divorce him.
As Kimberly said, that’s too often the quick result. And unfortunately, many people who include marriage, counselors, and therapists, even ones who claim to be religious marriage, counselors and therapists will often say that’s just the easiest way.
That’s what Kimberly’s warning you against. We would recommend that if you’re going to go to a professional therapist or counselor that you call ahead of time. First, ask your friends for recommendations. When you call, ask if you can have five minutes on the phone with them to see if we want to book a time to come. If they say no, then keep moving, find somebody who’ll give you five minutes on the phone, upfront. Ask if they’ll you as the client, your husband as the client, or the marriage has the client. We’re looking for someone who would see the marriage as a client. Most counselors are not trained that way. And they’re going to tell you right quick, “I don’t even know what that means.” Keep moving. The counselors who have been trained that way are not going to be on his side or your side. They are going to be on the side of both of you.
So yes, that kind of thing can help. Can it be overcome? It can, but I’m strongly recommending that if you’re going to rebuild trust in this situation, he’s got to understand his actions first, but then you are going to have to understand what was the draw or the pull.
If you can understand that well enough and get some healing from that, then yes, you can have a good future together where you can learn to trust him again.
If he refuses to get that kind of help and just says, “No, no, forget about it. Let go. Everything’s fine.” It might be kind of hard to pull this one-off.
Wouldn’t you think Kimberly?
There’s no way you can just forget it and act like it didn’t happen. Nothing will be made better. We don’t typically have this type of situation in our workshops. I definitely believe, however, that our workshop is helpful for getting a couple like this back on a path together. It will help them to identify the best next steps for them in moving forward. In conjunction, even before they start going to therapy together, or he starts going for his individual, I one hundred percent believe the workshop is helpful for them in this situation.
Yeah, because it’ll help you open up communication in the areas that are tough to communicate about. For them, she’s thinking, “Wow, he was so good, he could lie to me for 11 years and get away with it. How could I ever know he’s telling me the truth again?”
So the workshop will help you open communication up tremendously. Plus, there’s a thing on the last day of the workshop we teach called the Exploring Reconciliation Unit, which is just unbelievably powerful, which says that you don’t reconcile blindly.
You don’t put it back together just by sweeping out on the rug, saying, “Everything’s going to be ok. We can make it.” It’s actually a step by step by step by step process that you do. And we teach you that on the
last day of that workshop. If you want to proceed with one of our coaches who can help guide you through it, step-by-step can help you through that.
Whether you choose us or not, please get help with this. Please take our recommendations about how to find a counselor if you want to use a professional counselor, other than through us. If you want us to help, we’d be glad to. Coming to our workshop is the best thing to do. You can call our 800 number to speak with someone about what we do and how we do it.
Yeah. There’s a lot of ways that people can contact us. You can go to marriagehelper.com, and you can even chat with us on the website. You can also schedule a call to talk with one of our client relations representatives, who will listen to your story and your situation and figure out which of our best resources best fits you. Or you can call our office at (866) 903-0990. And we will get you scheduled to speak with someone about how we can help in the products and services we offer so many ways to connect with us.
Dr. Joe Beam:
So Kimberly, let’s go to another call. And this one you really need to chime in on because you are a military wife. You know, Rob is now retired from the military but a captain in the United States army. And we’re very proud of Rob for many reasons, including that. But this is going to be from a military wife. And since you have experience with that, let’s see what you have to say in response to her.
I’m 34 years old. I’m a military wife. I’ve been married to my husband for almost four years, but we’ve been together for seven. We have a two-year-old. He deploys often, and as in Army life, he’s always gone. He hates talking on the phone, and he gets distant when he’s deployed. Two weeks ago, I discovered he had a few sexual encounters with a woman when he was in Hawaii.
After he came home, he kept in touch with her with 30 pictures and text messages for ten months. We’re trying to work it out, but I’m struggling because he’s about to deploy again to Mongolia for six months. He says he won’t do it again. We’re doing counseling, and we’re trying to talk and communicate a little bit more. How can we stay closed during the appointments? I’m terrified that he’s going to be leaving again.
And he will be lying to me and going out and partying the way he was doing it when he was in Hawaii. I don’t know if I can trust him and, you know, knowing that he will stay faithful for six more months while he’s gone. We have a home and two daughters to take care of. And as a military wife, I’m used to being alone, but this is really driving me insane.
He terminated his relationship with this person and did it right in front of me. He deleted her number, blocked her, but I’m still struggling to trust him.
Can you please, please give me some input on this situation.
Dr. Joe Beam:
So as a military wife and as a person who works with these kinds of things all day, every day, what do you have to say to this young lady?
Military life is a very difficult life to be a part of, especially when there are constant deployments because there’s a couple of things happening.
Number one, the separation. So there’s never a consistency to your routine or the life that you two have together. It’s constantly being disrupted, and you have to figure out a new normal every six to twelve months, which in and of itself is stressful.
The second thing that’s stressful is that when your husband is deployed, he is in a high-stress situation. Whether or not you feel like his job is stressful, the things that they are taught to think about just adds a constant layer of stress.
The third thing to consider here is that the influences that he is around in the military, most of the time, are not good. Because there are the other people, the other service members who are stressed, all of the things going on in their life, and so they tend to take it out in ways that are not the healthiest.
As she said, there’s a lot of partying. There’s a lot of temptation. There’s a lot of ability to get away with these tempted behaviors. And so it runs rampant. It just does. And that is, I mean, the last time I saw, which was about a decade ago, but the last time I saw research on the statistics of how many military marriages end in divorce, it was 85%, which is crazy.
Something needs to be done there.
Now I say all of that to hopefully bring empathy to what your husband may be going through and how this could be happening. Now, the issue that this woman brings up is how do we, how do we move past this? He did some good things.
He deleted the woman’s number off of his phone. He definitely made strides towards that. As he’s going off to another deployment, if he doesn’t want to talk, if he’s stressed while he’s over there and that’s affecting how much they’re able to talk, that is a huge barrier that they need to talk about before he leaves.
So if I’m listening to this, if I was talking to her, having coffee with her, I would say, first of all, have you asked him, “why.” Why does he not like to talk on the phone when he’s gone? Is it because of a time difference? Is it because it’s difficult to actually call you because of the service or the wi-fi? Is it because of the fact that he’s stressed out? Or is it because when the two of you have talked in the past, that has stressed him out.
So I would try and have a conversation to figure out what that reason is.
I don’t see how you can go six months without having good communication if you also want to rebuild trust.
Dr. Joe Beam:
Ok. So let me make sure I’m hearing what you were saying here. That one of the reasons that people in the military can have so much difficulty is because, as you said, they’re always in a stressful situation. For example, your husband Rob was deployed in South Korea. I mean, there’s a massive army, just up the road, a piece. And you don’t know when, if they’re going to show up down here, those of things.
I recall speaking for the Air Force, once in South Korea. I was doing some things on an air force base, and they were telling me how much stress there was for all of those airmen. It’s stressful for all of them, not just the ones who flew the fighters because of that.
You can have that stress no matter where in the world you are because of the things you’re prepared for, even if you’re in Hawaii. Which you wouldn’t think of, like, you know, it’s not going to be invaded tomorrow. Well, they actually thought that was back in 1941 as well. And so you look at this and go, there’s always a possibility.
And what I hear you say is that the partying, the drinking, even the being involved with other people you shouldn’t be involved with if it occurs, is often predicated or based on stress relief is in words, that’s what generates that happening.
I believe it opens the doorway for it. Yes, kind of like a gateway drug, so to say, without it being a drug. Look at it when things are fine in the world. If a couple lives here in America but just experienced 2020, then we see the same thing to be true.
So stress does tend to sometimes make people act in ways that they wouldn’t normally act, but especially it’s compounded even more or amplified even more when they’re around other people who are doing it. And it becomes more of a temptation.
Dr. Joe Beam:
So it’s not justifying; we’re not trying to justify it. We’re just trying to understand. So in that particular situation here, I heard you say a couple of things I thought were really interesting.
One is that in that deployment period, there really should be some conversations between the two of you. You’ve got to make sure that you’re not adding to the stress and those conversations. I thought that was extremely powerful. Can you elaborate just a little bit more about that?
One of the things that she mentioned is that she’s typically alone, which is very common for a military wife and that she’s raising two young daughters by herself.
I had known other couples, especially when Rob was in the military before. When their husbands would leave, every time they would speak to them, they were telling them about problems. They would tell them how they wish that he was there and not in a, “Oh, I miss you so much. I wish you were here” way but in a, “Everything’s gone to hell. Our kids are losing their minds. This is your fault. Why aren’t you here?” way.
Even for enlisted members, there could be extra pressure from their spouses to do more work in order to climb the rank quicker, which is just more pressure. Our enlisted members are very underpaid for their service.
So life is even more stressful for them because there aren’t quite as many finances. Then the mom who’s home with the kids doesn’t have time to get a job because she has to be a full-time parent. After all, the husband is deployed.
In that kind of situation, that would be the first thing I would go to with her. In the past, when you’ve talked about deployment, what have those conversations been like? She probably doesn’t even realize it because this is her husband. It’s her best friend; it’s who she goes to in order to vent. But when he is in just a world of stress, the last thing he needs to worry about on top of that is everything that’s stressful at home.
Dr. Joe Beam:
Ok. Now please, don’t hear us saying that it’s your fault that he did what he did. That’s not what we’re saying at all. Not at all.
Right now. We’re just talking about how do you rebuild or build communication when he deploys again. We’re not assigning fault. It was his choice and actions to do what he did, which was wrong, but looking forward, what can we do to make it better?
Dr. Joe Beam:
So Kimberly, if indeed he has the ability to make communication occur, would we suggest to her that she says to him we need to talk at least twice a week or once a week? Saying, “To help rebuild trust so that I can trust you, I really need to talk to you on this kind of pattern?” assuming that he can do it wherever he’s going to be deployed? That this needs to happen. “Will you do that for me so that I can feel safe and feel secure? In those conversations, will you be open and transparent with me about what you feel?” Would you say that that would be a reasonable thing for her to request of him or not?
It would be reasonable.
Now, the other thing to consider is he may have changing schedules when he’s over there. Things are going to change. So again, this is another reason to have an open line of communication, but at least starting with a couple of times a week. Ask him when is best for him, when he believes would be best for him, and start doing that.
Now, I will say it could be very helpful for them to have a list of fun questions to talk about just in case they end up on the phone. If she’s saying, “Well, if I can’t vent about how the kids were at school today, then what am I supposed to say?”
It’s great to have a list of questions of more than “how was your day?” “what’s going on?” which he may or may not be able to share.
“Hey, tell me about the best food you’ve eaten this week.” Or “Tell me about a time in your childhood when you went on a great family vacation.” “What did that feel like and what that was like?”
That allows you to have things to talk about that aren’t going to be stressful. They are going to really build that good foundation of communication with each other, moving forward, and hopefully becomes something both of you look forward to every time you talk.
That’s where we’re trying to get to. How can you make it to where both of you want to talk to each other and are going to miss each other as you’re separated?
Dr. Joe Beam:
Very good. So I hope you heard that these points.
Number one, we’re not saying it’s your fault. It was; he made those decisions.
Number two, that it’s not your job to keep him faithful. There are
some things you can do to help maintain that level of trust that you want.
It needs to be based somehow on some regular kind of communication that is positive rather than negative.
So, Kimberly, her ultimate question was, “I’m worried. I’m scared. He’s about to leave. How am I going to do this?”
We’re giving some suggestions about how to do it. These are not panaceas; they’re not be-all-end-all. This is not like the magic bullet, but this is the place to start, right? Because no matter whether you are military or not, if you’re regularly communicating with each other openly, then the likelihood of a person cheating decreases. It doesn’t go to zero, but it decreases. Right?
It does. And I will say that’s part one.
So part one is having the conversation with him, figuring out how you can communicate to move forward.
The second thing is when he’s gone, her mind is going to wander. It is going to worry. It is going to fear that what if it’s happening again, we recommend you work on you.
You can’t control what he’s doing while he’s overseas, but what you can do is control what you’re doing back here in the States to become the best that you can be. At Marriage Helper, we call it the PIES, the Physical, Intellectual, Emotional, and Spiritual aspects of attraction.
And when you begin to focus on becoming the best you can be in all four of those; number one, it’s going to occupy your mind on something that’s productive.
Then the second thing is that it will continue to attract your spouse back to you. This is just a secondary benefit, but we have so much more information out there about the PIES. You can find that either on our website, marriagehelper.com or youtube.com/marriagehelper.
If you’re a podcast person and like listening to this, be sure and go check out my podcast called It Starts With Attraction and listen to the first episode. It talks all about the PIES, and then there are 50 plus episodes from there that talk about different ways that you can implement them.
Dr. Joe Beam:
Fantastic. Wonderful. Let’s see if we can get to another color or two.
How do you trust someone when they continue to lie to you? I know my husband lies to me because often, the facts as he presents them don’t add up, or he later provides additional details that contradict what he’s previously said.
This leads me to question a lot of what he says and distrust him in other areas. He says he isn’t having an affair, but given the lies about other things, I don’t believe him. This isn’t what has led to our marriage breakdown, but where we currently are as a result of that breakdown. He tells me that I just need to trust him, but how can I do that when I know, he’s lying to me?
Dr. Joe Beam:
Kimberly, did you notice the cadence in how this woman gave that question? It sounded to me, and by the way, this is not a negative. Please don’t hear this as a negative or a criticism, but it sounded as if she were reading that question. This means she probably thought it out in advance and wrote it down.
Now you say, is that bad? No, that’s not bad at all, but it probably indicates something about her personality. This is a person who is very analytical, who thinks things through carefully, who double-checks things. So rather than just ask extemporaneously, let me write my question and read it to you. Maybe she didn’t, but it sounded to me as if you were reading the question.
Well, if that’s the case, people who are analytical and thorough and check everything out like that, those people, even more than the rest of us, really have difficulty when they see that things don’t match.
So she said he gives me information, and then later, more details emerge that contradict the initial information that I got. Some of us wouldn’t even notice that many of us would, but people who are very analytical people not only notice it, it shouts at them. Like, “Wait a minute, this and this don’t match each other.”
Now that’s not saying that’s bad. I’m not saying that at all. That’s wonderful. That’s who you are, be who you are, but it does make it a little bit more difficult because of the fact that you’re going to be almost hypersensitive to whatever he says to see if it makes sense or not.
And understand that any human being, whoever he or she may occasionally be, they’re going to say something a little bit confusing, or this is not going to match that. Now that doesn’t mean he’s not lying to you. I’m not saying that.
I’m just saying, be careful that as you analyze this, that you don’t overthink it or over analyze it. So now, back to her question, “I’m with a man that lies to me.” So how would we answer her basic question there?
Well, her basic question at the end was, how can I trust him when I know he is lying? I mean, my first response to that is you’ve got to confront him about the lying.
Dr. Joe Beam:
Yes, I would agree. If I’m guessing correctly, and she is a very analytical person and is indeed she’s a very logical person, then the odds are that the person she’s married to is not. Because people who are very analytical sometimes marry people who aren’t very analytical.
Sometimes they do, but it’s more common that very analytical people marry somebody who is a little bit flighty. In other words, they tend to be more spontaneous, like rather than planning things out, thinking things through, they kind of go with the flow of the moment.
So if indeed he’s that person that’s more spontaneous and not quite as logical and analytical, then if you confront him, be careful how you do that. Because those people also have a tremendous need to be liked to be admired, et cetera. And if you come across as like the school principal or like the the the district attorney or that kind of thing, then if you actually confront them with those things, then in all likelihood, their reaction is going to be extremely defensive.
I think the best thing you do is you do approach him, ok, this is wrong. But understand that if his personality is different than yours now, he’s just as analytical and logical as you use graphs, charts, PowerPoints; it’s fine. It will work. But if he’s that opposite personality to you, that I’m strongly
suggesting that you be very careful how you confront it.
Confront it, yes. Don’t dodge it, no. As you do it, try to understand that you need to try to hear his emotions and not just his logic. Because if he’s the person I’m guessing him to be, then his emotions often overrule his logic.
So try to approach him, trying to understand what he fields, as opposed to the logic of what he says or does. And then sometimes people like that because they have such a great need to be liked, will lie, but it’s not because they’re trying to get away with something.
Now it could be, your husband may be trying to get away with something. I’m not saying that’s not the case, but people, like I’m describing typically, aren’t trying to get away with something when they lie. They just don’t want you to be upset with them. They don’t want you to be angry with them. They want you to like them.
So sometimes they’ll fudge the truth, trying to make that happen. The two of you can communicate where that you are truly trying to understand his emotions. If he tries to understand your logic, then you can say to him things like if I come across, like “I’m not liking you or caring about you, just let me know so I can change the tenor of my approach, but I really need this.”
Then let him tell you what he really needs. And, and through these two different personalities, you can finally get them to the point where you can be safe until the truth. Now you’ve got an illustration, then I’ve got
an illustration. What’s what was the illustration you were thinking of?
To reiterate here, because the key point you just said, I don’t want people to miss is that people don’t always lie because they’re bad people, right?
People have different reasons and motivations behind lying. One of which could be, they don’t want you to be upset with them. Like they don’t want to make you mad. And that is way different than someone who’s lying to be deceitful or hurtful or harmful.
So both of them were lies, but the reasons behind it make it two very different situations. And so I am reminded of a friend that I had a couple of years ago where she was very analytical, detailed; everything has to be logical and make sense. And her husband was very much, the, everyone loves me flighty more spontaneous type.
He would forget to do things like paying the bills. Then she would have proof that he didn’t, even though he had said he did, and it became a huge problem for them because she would say, “I don’t understand.”
But one of the reasons was because when she would approach him, it was like she was the drill Sergeant or his parent. And he didn’t like the way that, that felt so it, it never really helped it. When in actuality, she probably should have just paid the bills because he wasn’t kidding. He wasn’t getting it done. Give him something that’s better for him to do.
I do think that when we are approaching it, we need to understand how are we coming across? What is it that the other person may see this as because we want the best possible outcome?
Dr. Joe Beam:
And by the way, we’re not trying to justify anybody lying either. And, and don’t, please don’t hear it as, Oh, you’re telling me it’s my fault. And my husband doesn’t always tell me the truth. We’re really not saying that at all.
What we’re trying to say is that we’re trying to understand each other. And if you don’t bring up the things, if you don’t talk about them, then you can’t expect them to get any better. Kimberly, your illustration actually was better than mine. So I’m just going to leave mine off there.
Yes, do confront the lies but, but think about the other person’s personality when you do.
And it won’t give you a tremendous amount of help, but if you want to get my book on Amazon called The Art Of Falling In Love, there’s actually a chapter about those personalities. It won’t give you all the information you want, but it can help you understand this a little bit.
So we’re not justifying him. We’re not condemning you. We’re saying that as you confront it, there’s an art to doing this based on understanding who each of you is. Ok, well, let’s see if we can get another call in before we run out of time here.
My question is if you know that your husband is lying about at least a couple of things, and it’s not the right time to bring those up, how can you believe other things that he tells you?
Dr. Joe Beam:
You know, when people say it’s not the right time to bring it up, we hear that a lot. Sometimes, Kimberly, what that means is the way I found out is through a way that would cause problems if he or she knew that I knew.
For example, we know that sometimes people will have a GPS and their spouse’s car, or they’ll find some way to track their phone or some way to crack their email something. And they do it secretly so that the other person doesn’t know that they’re doing that. Finally, they have information, but the only way they can reveal that information is to let them know they did something that’s really going to make the other person angry. Or sometimes they get it from another person who just swears them to secrecy. Like, “Let me tell you what your husband’s doing, but I’m supposed to be his best friend. You have to promise me that. You’ll never tell him that I’m the one who told you this.” Well, in those situations, we have some recommendations.
Number one, if somebody says, “I’m going to tell you something, which you have to promise, you can’t tell anybody else.” I would recommend you say, “I can’t make that promise.”
Once I get the information, I can decide what I can and can’t do with it, but I can’t make that promise upfront. Now I know what you’re going to be thinking, “But my curiosity is going to be bursting.” And they’re going to say in that case, I’m not going to tell you that I’m going to walk away and I’m going to be screaming. “Tell me, tell me, tell me!”
But if you lock yourself into a promise that you’re not going to fulfill, it can work against you in the long run. Ok.
Then people ask us, well, what do you think about me putting GPS in the car to find out where he or she is?
Our recommendation is if you want to do that, you certainly can, but be prepared for divorce. When people discover that that’s how you found out their response isn’t about their behavior, our experience has taught us that it becomes about the violation of their privacy.
Have I ever seen it work the other way, where the privacy was violated, and the other person like, “Oh, I’ve been caught. I need to straighten up. We’re going to do right.” Yes. I’ve actually seen that happen, but that’s relatively rare. Much more commonly, the other person will say, “How dare you!”
Then there’s the third one. Sometimes people don’t want to bring things up because of where they are at a particular time. Like, “If I confront you about you’re doing this, you’re going to mention about my doing that. And because I don’t want to deal with that right now. It’s not the appropriate time to bring this up because I know it’s not going to be just about your behavior is going to be about my behavior as well.”
Now there are probably a lot more, but those are the three that come to mind immediately,
Or they’re conflict avoidant.
Dr. Joe Beam:
Conflict avoidant. So what would you recommend to a person such as her?
Her question at the end was, “So how can I trust anything else that he says or does right now?” To which, without knowing specifics, I think it makes it a little harder to answer the question. But I think the premises are going to be the same.
Does it matter? I mean, if you know he’s lying about these other things, what does it matter if you can’t trust him on the others? Because you already know there’s an issue that has to be dealt with.
Dr. Joe. Beam:
So when you say, what does it matter? Are you saying the fact that until you deal with this, you can’t deal with anything else? Is that what you’re saying? Or are you saying something else?
I believe it has to be dealt with. I don’t think that you’re going to be able to find some magic solution that means that you don’t ever address the issues of lying.
The things he’s not truthful about right now will have to be addressed. Does it mean you have to do it right now? I just feel like you have to address it, and the sooner, the better. And I would try to figure out every way possible to do that first.
Dr. Joe Beam:
I hear you saying that if you don’t trust him on those things, why are you going to trust them with anything else anyway?
You should resolve those things. Our recommendation would
be to approach it. Now you’ll say, wait a minute, Dr. Beam, I did find out by sneaking, or I did find out from his best friend who swore me to secrecy, what do I do?
With the best friend thing, I would go to the best friend and say, “I’ve got to do this if you’ve got some other way that you can get me that same information so that your name doesn’t come up, I’m happy to have it, but I have to deal with this.”
If it was you sneaking, you might just have to deal with that, where you go to the person and say, “I first need to tell you that I know I was wrong to do what I did because I violated your privacy. Start with some vulnerability of your own rather than attacking. “I found out, and I shouldn’t have done it the way I did. May I tell you how hurt I am by what I found out?” If you talk in terms of what you feel rather than what he did, you have a greater likelihood of him answering defensively. Rather than attack what he did, tell him how you feel. “I found out that you lied to me about this I’m hurt deeply.”
What we’re saying the bottom line is if you ignore that, then there is no way to trust him on the other things.
To spend the time and energy to worry about the other things, I’m not saying it’s wasted, but you’re not getting to the core.
Dr. Joe Beam:
Let’s try one more question.
Hi, I have been married for 12 years, and in the past 12 years, my husband has cheated about six or seven times during our marriage. And every time I caught him, he apologized, he’s remorseful, and we’ll go into counseling. How do I know if he’s truly remorseful or if he’s lying to get back in my good graces until we work it out again? And is there a limit to when I stopped trying it? We have a two-year-old together, and I would like to keep that family together, but I feel like I’m abandoning myself
or disrespected me, like continuing to try to work it out with him.
Dr. Joe Beam:
First of all, I’m so sorry to hear that. He’s had that many affairs over that many years because if I kept up with that, it sounded like he had at least, on average, every two years or so, he had another extramarital affair.
If a person’s doing that, there’s some reason for it. Ok. And I’m not saying the reason is you, please don’t think that at all. We’re not saying it’s you, but there’s something motivating that. Either he has a great big problem with commitment and just does what he wants to do. That’s one possibility, or he has some kind of a sex drive that’s leading him to do inappropriate sex things.
In other words, one person is not enough for me. Therefore, here’s another person that lasts for a little while. Here’s another person because if he’s having an affair every two years or so, it probably is primarily sexual.
Although, there’s a third possibility. There’s a thing we talk about called limerence, and you can go to our YouTube channel, youtube.com/marriagehelper, and look for the ones about limerence those kinds of things.
Limerence has to do with this extremely strong emotional connection with another person. Typically, there is not a lot of replication of that. What I mean is; you don’t typically have a person going from one lemon affair to the next to the next every two years. But sometimes you do. And if you find a person like that, it’s because of the fact that they have gotten themselves not addicted to the sex; they’ve gotten themselves addicted to the emotional high. A man having an affair every two years or so is certainly doing some kind of compulsive behavior, either as compulsive tied to the sex or tied to emotional highs.
Ok. Now, I’m not telling you anything to make you feel worse. I don’t think I could make you feel worse than you feel already. I’m certainly not trying to take hope away from you. I’m not, but she asked the question, Kimberly. She said you know, do I have a limit? Well, she does, doesn’t she? It’s her choice.
It should be her choice. So yes, there is a limit to what any human being can take when it comes to just the emotional turmoil, the back and forth of is, is he saying, is he going what’s happening with our relationship?
The way that we explain this to people in helping them identify what their own limit is, we use the PIES. How does it affect them Physically, Intellectually, Emotionally, or Spiritually?
Physically, if you can’t handle what’s happening anymore, the back and forth that’s going on, you’re not eating, or you’re overeating, you’re not sleeping, or you’ve gone into a deep depression. If it’s affecting you physically in such a way that you need to consider if this is something you can continue handling.
That’s a huge one. Intellectually, Emotionally, Spiritually, I mean, all of those things. You have to decide, and it’s ok for you to then set stops.
We talk about that more in a past podcast episode that we talked about stops. You can search our website as well for more about stops. That’s our term for boundaries. It is ok to set boundaries for yourself and say, “This can’t continue happening.” And “Here are the things that need to happen in order for us to move forward.” We have a course for that as well titled Continuing Our Relationship Essentials. So you can set your stops and then set your course in order for you to move forward. But no one should have to live with a husband having an affair every two years.
Dr. Joe Beam:
No, no, no. If you still love him and if you think that he really is trying to stop, that he really wants to put the marriage back together, I would strongly recommend that you get him involved in sexaholics anonymous. That’s S.A. for short. It’s like alcoholics anonymous, but for people who have compulsive sexual behavior.
Now, am I saying he’s a sex addict? I’m a sexologist. We typically don’t use the phrase “sex addict,” counselors and therapists do, but we don’t. There’s a website you might want to go to to check out. It’s called. If you’re religious, go and check out xxxchurch.com.
Or you can go to sexhelp.com. This is a site associated with Patrick Carnes, who is the guy who is the grandfather, if you will, of talking about sexual addiction.
Now, again, addiction is not what we talk about in sexology. We talk about compulsive sexual behavior, but those sites can help you find some resources that can help you understand what’s happening. And if your husband is willing to get the kind of help where he can stop.
So either S.A., which I hear is very good or on the other hand, go to sexhelp.com, they have a list of counselors and therapists around America that they have been certified and trained. With a husband who’s in that kind of situation, having affairs that often, you may want to seek that kind of help.
You made me remember that, yes, there is Sexaholics Anonymous, but there is also Samson Society.
I’ve had Nate Larkin on my podcast as a guest. I would highly recommend going to listen to that, but he also visits his website.
Dr. Joe Beam:
Ok, excellent. Kimberly, can you recap all of this?
When you’re talking about rebuilding trust after affairs, the first thing to remember and realize is that this is not your fault. Whatever may have happened, if your spouse cheated, or even if you’re the one that cheated, don’t put all of the blame on yourself.
Remember, there is a path and a way to move forward.
The second key takeaway is in order to rebuild trust, there’s got to be relationship and communication. You have to address issues or, after addressing issues, actively and proactively work together to bring accountability into the light and have good communication about moving forward.
The third key takeaway I have is you also have to start by changing your thoughts and where your mind is going, especially since all of our callers today were women whose husbands had had an affair. In that situation, start working on yourself. Don’t let your mind wander and worry. What if it happens again, be proactive about doing something about yourself.
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