The un-chumped people of the world sometimes think I exaggerate The Reconciliation Industrial Complex. When my book was first being pitched to publishers, this came up.
Leave a cheater? Well, DUH.
No, you see all the infidelity resources are predicated on reconciling with cheaters. There isn’t a single “leave the jerk, you’ll feel a lot better” book out there.
Yeah. “My Husband’s Affair Became the Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me” was a BEST-SELLER.
(Look of incredulity)
That was five years ago. I flatter myself to think we’ve moved the needle a bit. We’ve kicked some hopium-snorting, victim-blaming unicorn ass.
The Mayo. Fucking. Clinic. comes out with: Infidelity: Mending Your Marriage After An Affair.
Yes. The MAYO CLINIC. Fine if you’re googling pancreatic cancer. Not so great with the relationship advice.
I could not kick the Universal Bullshit Translator into gear for this. It took a solid week of cajoling and leibkuchen bribery.
Grok! Too depressing.
You are a bullshit translator! This is your JOB. DO IT.
(Rolls its sprockets at me.) Snork. (sigh)
Few marital problems cause as much heartache and devastation as infidelity, which undermines the foundation of marriage itself. However, when both spouses are committed to real healing, most marriages survive and many marriages become stronger with deeper levels of intimacy.
Few problems cause as much heartache and devastation as shooting off your kneecaps. Which undermines the foundation of your tennis game. However, if you are committed to real healing, and think happy-intact-kneecap thoughts, your tennis game will improve, and become STRONGER because you had magical thoughts about your kneecaps.
What? You can’t walk and your kneecaps are shattered bone dust? I don’t think you’re committed to real healing, sir.
Infidelity isn’t a single, clearly defined situation — and what’s considered infidelity varies among couples and even between partners in a relationship. For example, is an emotional connection without physical intimacy considered infidelity? What about online relationships? Each person and couple need to define what constitutes infidelity in the context of their marriage.
We can’t define it, but let’s forgive it.
Why affairs happen
Infidelity can happen in happy as well as troubled relationships. Many factors can contribute to infidelity, including:
- Lack of affection
- Loss of fondness and caring for each other
- Imbalance of give and take in the relationship
- Physical health issues, such as chronic pain or disability
- Mental health issues, including depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder
- Addiction, including addiction to sex, love, romance, gambling, drugs or alcohol
- Unaddressed marital problems, such as fear of intimacy or avoiding conflict
- Life cycle changes, such as the transition to parenthood or empty nesting
- Stressful periods, such as when partners are separated for long periods of time
- Personal dissatisfaction and low self-esteem also can play a role in causing infidelity.
Lack of affection
Loss of fondness and caring for each other
You’re not as cuddly as you used to be. You can be replaced.
Breakdown of communication related to emotional and relationship needs
My “I want a pussy buffet” conversation broke down.
Physical health issues, such as chronic pain or disability
Your cancer compelled me to fuck randos.
Addiction, including addiction to sex, love, romance, gambling, drugs or alcohol
Being married to me is a GREAT idea! Our marriage can be stronger with addiction! Let’s buy a hooker!
Unaddressed marital problems, such as fear of intimacy or avoiding conflict
I wanted to tell you about the pussy buffet, but I was too shy. #timidforestcreature
Life cycle changes, such as the transition to parenthood or empty nesting
The children made me cheat. The lack of children made me cheat. Two decades of chicken nuggets, sticky countertops, and middle school sports banquets made me cheat.
Transitions make me cheat. Also dangling participles and Oxford commas.
Discovering an affair
The initial discovery of an affair usually triggers powerful emotions for both partners, as well as a sense of loss. The partner who has been cheated on might feel traumatized by the betrayal of trust and obsessively think about the details of the affair. The partner who committed the infidelity might fear being punished forever. It’s usually difficult at this time to think clearly enough to make long-term decisions. Consider the following:
The partner who has been cheated on might feel traumatized by the betrayal of trust and obsessively think about the details of the affair. Or might not! They might look at their STD tests and decimated finances and sexual humiliation and think “Gosh! This is an opportunity for relationship growth! I can work with this!”
Don’t make rash decisions. If you think you might physically hurt yourself or someone else, seek professional help immediately.
You’re a little insane and angry now. Don’t make any rash calls to lawyers or forensic accountants. Just seek professional help for your irrationality, K?
Give each other space. The discovery of an affair is always intense. You might find yourself acting erratically or unlike yourself as you attempt to grasp what has happened. Try to avoid emotionally intense discussions as you begin the healing process.
You know who needs space too? Schmoopie. It’d be great if you could just, like, back off. Maybe pay the rent for the crash pad and not ask any questions?
Seek support. It can help to share your experience and feelings with trusted friends or loved ones who can support, encourage and walk along with you on your healing path. Avoid people who tend to be judgmental, critical or biased.
Avoid people who recommend lawyers and STD tests. They’re so judgy.
Some spiritual leaders have training and might be helpful. Consider seeing a well-trained, experienced marriage and family therapist alone or together.
You know what’s great for pancreatic cancer? Leeches! Send me $399 and I’ll affair-proof your leech.
(Sorry, the UBT is experiencing technical difficulties.)
Mystic crystal revelation! And the mind’s true liberation!
Take your time. Even though you might have a deep desire to understand what has happened, avoid delving into the intimate details of the affair initially. Doing so without professional guidance might be harmful.
Avoid delving into the intimate details.
If untreated, STIs can increase your risk of acquiring another STI such as HIV. This happens because an STI can stimulate an immune response in the genital area or cause sores, either of which might raise the risk of HIV transmission. Some untreated STIs can also lead to infertility, organ damage, certain types of cancer or death.
Organ damage can make a marriage stronger!
There’s more. But the UBT has overheated. Read the whole blame-shifting, catch-a-unicorn mess here.