Affair healing Blog
Last weekend, a clicked on a documentary that showed up on recommended watch list, expecting to be inspired by a story of one man's triumph over adversity. Charged: The Eduardo Garcia Story.
Charged was that, but so much more. It was also a story of infidelity, of family wounds, of the purpose of our lives. The documentary can be rented using most services, but is currently streaming for free on Amazon Prime Video if you happen to have an Amazon Prime account.
In my work with men and women who have had affairs and are confused about what it means to live a meaningful and fulfilling life, we often discuss the difference between lives motivated by doing (meeting expectations, satisfying others, doing the right thing) or getting (attaining outward goals, achievements, satisfaction) and why those legitimate motives should be secondary to a focus of being (the story we tell with our live, who we are and who we are becoming).
If you had an affair in your past, I would recommend watching this documentary. The traumatic event in Eduardo's life can be seen as a dividing point in his life experience. Think about this division as the Eduardo Before and the Eduardo After. Some things will remain constant in the before and after; some things will change. After you watch the video, consider these questions:
This is an edited copy of the letter one woman wrote to her husband after her affair. It is used with her permission. The entire letter is included as an extra resource in the Understanding WHY course.
If you had told me seven months ago that I would be writing this letter, I might not have believed it—not because I am not profoundly sorry and regretful for my actions in the past, but because I never believed I could survive telling the truth, that you would survive hearing it, that we could survive its aftermath, or that you would even be willing to offer me the chance.
After reading my earlier post, But My Affair Is Different, I talked to a woman whose husband continued to describe his past affair as a special loving relationship. This conversation occurred during a recent Open Care Q&A session. Listen to the entire conversation using the player below. Here's how the conversation started:
Caller: Your latest article, But My Affair Is Different, resonated with me. That's what my husband has said about his affair. He's recommitted to the marriage and cut off contact with the affair partner, yet he still says, "It was real love. It was something different. Mine was special..." Does that ever go away? Because it hurts me to hear him say that.
In preparation for attending a Marriage ICU Retreat (private couple's retreat) with me, I ask participants to explain some of the ways they have been changed by the affair. Here are responses to those questions from an unfaithful husband. They are published with his permission.
What have been the most significant things you have learned in regard to your personal and relationship recovery?
Here are some of the things I've learned:
1. I’ve learned what real pain looks like. My past work involved me with family/marital crises, funerals, and personal tragedies, but I’ve never witnessed the kind of pain and distress that I’ve seen in my wife since the day of discovery. It’s going on 4 months since discovery and the sobbing and tears still have not fully subsided. Just yesterday a deep sadness came over both of us and the sobbing (tears doesn’t describe it) began. my wife keeps saying she won’t cry anymore…but she does and the tears come from deep in her spirit. It’s heartbreaking to watch and know that I caused that. My heart is to help heal the pain I’ve caused in her and restore my marriage.
After my affair, I could never attend a wedding without being reminded of the promises I once made and eventually broke. The marriages of my own children, however, have always been particularly thoughtful occasions.
My children love me and have forgiven me for the affair that broke their family twenty years ago. Their grace washes away the shame that would otherwise spoil the celebration of their marriages. But the past is always present, and so in their vows I hear echos of my own.
I don't try to hide the story of my infidelity from my children. I hope that maybe they, and their spouses, will learn something from it and avoid making the same mistakes. And so recently, the week before another daughter was about to be married, I wrote the following letter to her fiance, my soon-to-be son-in-law.
Unless otherwise noted, articles are written by Tim Tedder, a licensed counselor and creator of this site and its resources.