Affair healing Blog
In the introduction to her excellent book, How To Help Your Spouse Heal from Your Affair, Linda MacDonald identifies 5 options available to unfaithful partners after an affair has been discovered. With the author's permission, I've reprinted her options with my comments and added a sixth option as well.
As pointed out in an earlier post, a self-focused apology (one in which "I'm sorry" is just a way to get out of an uncomfortable situation, not bring any true relief to the offended person) is seldom satisfying to the recipient. But forgiveness-seekers aren't the only ones who can sap the power out of forgiveness. Forgiveness-givers can be selfish, too.
I hesitate when it comes to pointing out the shortcomings of an offended person. After all, why should anything be required of a victim? Shouldn't the offender carry the full responsibility for making things right?
And in the case of an affair, shouldn't the cheater be expected to do all the work of fixing the marriage?
I've written openly about my affair story. My past provides me with a particular insight into the experience of an unfaithful partner and how a person can make life-changing choices that spin the heads of confused observers.
Because they prefer certainty over confusion, the onlookers (including the betrayed partner) often seek black-and-white explanations. They do this to understand WHY this happened, or to present a convincing argument that will compel the wayward spouse toward sensibility.
One common explanation of an affair is that it is a fantasy—the experience of something that seems real, but isn't. This condition is also referred to as wandering in an "affair fog." While I agree that understanding the fantasy and fog nature of an affair may be helpful to the unsettled witnesses and victims of infidelity, it will not persuade the cheater to think differently about their experience.