Kimberly Holmes: When you have a spouse that’s cheating, it can be completely overwhelming because you don’t even know where to start. The questions to ask. Your heart is hurting. You’re scared. There are so many emotions that go into that.
Kimberly Holmes: Two of the main questions that we hear at Marriage Helper when people find out their spouse is in an affair, is they want to know why it’s happening and they want to know how they can stop it.
“When people find out that their spouse is cheating on them they want to know why it’s happening and how they can stop it.”
Kimberly Holmes: My name is Kimberly Holmes. I’m the CEO of Marriage Helper. And I’m joined today by Dr. Joe Beam, the founder and chairman of Marriage Helper. And today, we’re going to spend a couple of minutes talking about this topic specifically because it’s one that we get so many questions about: “How can I stop my spouse from cheating?” But more than that, “How can I know why it happened so that we can keep it from happening again?”
Why Is My Spouse Cheating?
There Are Two Main Reasons Someone Would Have An Affair
Kimberly Holmes: You see if you want to start with that first part: “Why is this happening? Why is my spouse cheating?” There are actually two reasons that we see at Marriage Helper that someone would have an affair.
- One is that there might be a sexual drive for it.
- And the other is that there might be an emotional drive for it.
Kimberly Holmes: Now, let me explain what that means. There are different ways affairs can start. Sometimes, they know someone at work. Sometimes, they go to a nightclub and they get involved in the wrong kind of situation. When we look at how affairs start, we can see which kind of affair it kind of is.
Kimberly Holmes: The one that’s primarily sexually driven, where someone’s looking to fulfill that physiological need. They’re just wanting sex primarily. And that’s what the affair ends up being mostly about.
Kimberly Holmes: And then that second one is the emotional one. Now this one typically starts as a friendship. Maybe the two people work together. They see each other at church. I mean, however, it might be. They start by first forming a relationship, a friendship of some kind. And from that, the person, the married person, maybe your spouse if you’re in this situation, begins to open up to the other person. They feel feelings about this other person that’s listening to them or treating them with this respect. This friendship is that they haven’t felt in a while. And they begin to open up even more. And over time it evolves into what we would call at Marriage Helper, an emotional affair.
Kimberly Holmes: Now the specifics of why these things happen, I mean, you could really go in-depth for many of those. And we don’t have the time right now to navigate and explain how all of those situations can happen. But if we’re going to sum it up, it would be those two instances that lead to an affair- sexual or emotional.
But Don’t Beat Yourself Up About It.
Kimberly Holmes: Now I don’t know that me just telling you that is going to make you feel any better. Maybe it would, but sometimes people hear that… And especially if they know that their spouse is in an emotional affair, it can make them feel even worse by saying, “Well, I could have done something to prevent this.” Or, “Why didn’t I do something to prevent this?” Or, “If I was a better husband, if I was a better wife, then maybe my spouse wouldn’t felt the pull and the drive and the need to have an extramarital relationship apart from me.”
Kimberly Holmes: And what we know at Marriage Helper is no one is perfect. There’s no perfect wife. There’s no perfect husband. And while you can look back and think of a hundred things that you wish that you would’ve, could’ve, or should’ve done differently, none of that matters. Today, you can change what you’re doing going forward.
Kimberly Holmes: Even if you can’t change what you did, there’s still value in knowing the things you’ve done in the past and what you should change. But you shouldn’t beat yourself up about it because that’s going to inhibit you from being able to move forward.
And, Don’t Solely Focus On “Stopping The Affair”
Kimberly Holmes: And what we know, Dr. Joe Beam, at Marriage Helper is the best thing we can do when we’re trying to move forward. When our spouse is having an affair… well, let’s maybe put it this way first. What is the worst thing we can do? Dr. Joe Beam, when we find our spouse is having an affair, with your many years of experience, what do most people first do when they find out their spouse is having an affair?
Dr. Joe Beam: Let me try to answer it this way if I may. When people focused on trying to save the marriage, they ended up doing the wrong things. They wound up clinging, whining, begging, or confronting. They ended up thinking they could somehow manipulate their spouse out of this. Some even tried punishing their spouse enough to stop this.
Dr. Joe Beam: And so we say that the worst thing you can do if you want to save your marriage from an affair is to focus on trying to stop the affair.
The Motivation For An Affair Isn’t Always Sexual
Dr. Joe Beam: Now, as you heard Kimberly and understand, and I’m going to use a little different words here from may. The first motivation for an affair is not necessarily sexual. It manifests itself sexually, but the motivation might be that somebody wants to violate the rules. Motivation might also be someone saying, “I want to punish my spouse for whatever he or she did.” And so it manifests itself sexually, but it’s not always motivated by sex.
There Are Two Dimensions Of Relational Affairs
Dr. Joe Beam: And the second one, to modify the praises a little bit if I may, we call it a relational affair. A relational affair can have two different dimensions. One is the emotional where they don’t actually get physical with each other. And the other, while they do get physical with each other, it’s really about the relationship.
Dr. Joe Beam: And it’s either motivated by something else but it manifests itself sexually, or it’s motivated by the relationship. And if indeed trying to stop it is your motive, that’s not going to work. So what is the right thing to do? If it’s not trying to stop that, then what’s the right thing to do to stop it?
How To Stop Your Spouse’s Cheating
Kimberly Holmes: Well, first of all, I just want everyone to hear what you’ve said and let it sink in before we get to that next part. If your focus is: “I’m going to stop it.” If that is your motivation, your intention behind it, then think about this for a second…
Kimberly Holmes: If every action you take, every response you give to your spouse, if you’re primarily thinking of stopping the affair, then everything you do is going to be leaning that way.
Kimberly Holmes: Now you might be thinking, “How is it a bad thing to want to save my marriage? How is it a bad thing to focus on wanting to stop the affair?” Because if that’s your intention, you’re going to appear desperate. You’re not just going to appear desperate. You’re going to be desperate because you’re going to try and take control of a situation that you have absolutely no control of.
Kimberly Holmes: It’s going to affect the way that you speak to your spouse. It’s going to affect the way you see the circumstances around you. Everything is going to be affected. That’s why we’re saying if you make “stopping the affair” your intention, your motivation… if that’s what you guide everything around, it’s not going to work.
Kimberly Holmes: What you have to realize is that the only thing that you can control is yourself. You can’t control what your spouse is doing and you can’t control the fact that there’s an affair going on. You have no control over whether or not it continues or stops you. The only person you have any control over is yourself.
“You have to realize that the only thing you can control is yourself.”
Kimberly Holmes: That is why we at Marriage Helper teach, in this type of situation, the best thing that you can do is focus on you. Not because you have the ability to change the situation, but because you only have the ability to change yourself. And that’s why we teach the importance of the PIES of Attraction. Focusing on being the best that you can be in four areas of your life. There’s physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual. We have a ton more about that in another article.
Learn the 4 Ways To Attract Your Spouse Here: https://marriagehelper.com/the-4-ways-to-attract-your-spouse/
“But How Is My Spouse Going To Know I’m Changing?”
Kimberly Holmes: But the bottom line of it is this. You might be sitting there thinking, “How is my spouse going to know that I’m changing? Why does this matter to me right now?” Here’s why you do the PIES: first and foremost for you because it changes your focus. When your focus is on being the best that you can be, then physically, intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, you’re taking care of yourself. The chaos, the high emotions, the stress, and the worries that come with focusing on your spouse being in an affair will start to diminish. You’ll begin to feel like you can start to take control back of your own emotions and your own life.
“When your focus is on being the best you can be… the worries that come with focusing on your spouse being in an affair will start to diminish.”
Kimberly Holmes: We got an email from an international client over the weekend saying she found us on YouTube. She watched your videos of “How To Choose Between A Lover And A Spouse” and “The Difference Between Love And Limerence.” And from that, she said:
“I realized what I needed to do, even though my husband was involved in an affair, was I needed to work on my PIES.”
And she said she did that. And it’s made an amazing change! You have a person whose husband is still involved with someone else, but she’s seeing an amazing change because she is working on her PIES. She’s eternally grateful for what she’s learned. And it’s amazing.
Watch Choosing Between A Lover And A Spouse Here: https://marriagehelper.com/choosing-lover-spouse/
Watch The Difference Between Love And Limerence Here: https://marriagehelper.com/difference-between-love-limerence-lmc/
Dr. Joe Beam: If I can summarize quickly… If there’s an affair that’s occurring, it’s going to either manifest itself primarily sexually (no matter what motive is driving it) or it’s going to manifest itself emotionally/sexually but is driven by looking for a different relationship than they have with you.
Dr. Joe Beam: And so, the best thing you can do is not focus on trying to change them, but focus on you becoming the best that you can be.
Dr. Joe Beam: And you’re saying, “But I need to stop what they’re doing!” Again, the best thing you can do is to focus on the only thing you can do, which is to become the best that you can be.