What The Heck Are They Thinking?
"What do you mean it's not okay, my dad did it, his dad did it...it's what I know"
Translation: I've never had anyone to show me how to truly love and cherish another person. This is incredibly sad. They might never have a chance to get close to anyone and really share their full self.
"All I'm doing is looking at pornography, it's normal, everyone does it..."
Translation: Everyone I see on television views pornography. Society and culture says that pornography is healthy and normal...if I don't look at other naked human bodies with lust I might not be "normal" and I might disappoint you. I might not know how to feel or perform. You might not really love me.
"Everyone is entitled to something on the side...it's no big deal...you're blowing it out of proportion."
Translation: You're feelings don't matter. Human dignity doesn't matter. You and everyone else exists for my pleasure and for no other benefit but to make me happy.
What Is The Philanderer’s Affair?
The Philanderer’s Affair occurs because the betrayer believes that having an affair is “normal.” These betrayers are different from sex addicts and those who have one night stands. They believe that cheating is a way of life. They were probably taught cheating is okay by a parent, coworker, or friend. They live by the motto, “As long as no one gets hurt, it’s okay.” Often times couples who have clearly defined “roles” as a husband and wife, (such as the man is the provider and the wife is a stay at home mom), can easily fall into this trap. As distinctions between roles diminish and spouses share roles affairs of this type will be less likely. This type of an affair feeds off of their being an unequal share of power in the relationship.
Characteristics of the Philanderer's Affair:
- The betrayers want to stay in the marriage.
- Betrayers will have multiple affairs.
- They want to feel attractive to the opposite sex and know they still “have it.”
- They experience low self-esteem.
- Cheating is morally acceptable to them—as long as it isn’t done to them.
- Some cultures have an unsaid expectation that men will have women on the side.
What You Can Do Now
If you feel that your spouse is cheating on you then you should listen to how you feel. It's not up to anyone else to tell you how to feel. That is for you to decide. Some clients we see believe in open marriage. Science says we are hard wired for monogamy. We find that open marriage doesn't work and someone always ends up hurt. But that is for another blog post to hash out.
First, decide where you stand. What do you believe about marriage and relationship commitment? Once you decide what your beliefs are then talk with your spouse firmly about how you feel. Decide what you will not accept. Let your spouse know that it is not okay with you that they are unfaithful.
They need to understand how it makes you feel when they are unfaithful. Be prepared to take action. Most people struggle to have the necessary conversations with their spouse on their own. That is why couples therapy is the best way to have these conversations.
What If They Refuse Couples Therapy?
If they refuse couples therapy then you can do a few things. First, you can make an appointment and tell your spouse when and where it is and let them know they are welcome to show up. Let them know that if they don't show up then it means they are not interested in making the marriage or relationship work and you will not stick around to be cheated on any longer.
Come on you can do it! You are worth so much more than this treatment. You are human and worthy of real love. So don't let anyone disrespect your dignity by betraying your trust and personhood. We can help you with this. We have helped thousands of couples all over the world regain their trust and hope in their life and marriage. This rule applies to you as well!