Affair healing Blog
Helen Tower is one of the people I follow on Twitter and am often encouraged by what she writes. Recently, she posted a letter she wrote to her "ex-unfaithful" husband. She gave permission to post it here, too. You can read the entire post on her Sailing Through Infidelity blog.
Dear ex-unfaithful husband,
I want to thank you for sticking with me during the trying times after I discovered your affair. I am so happy this is now in the past.
We went through periods during which I was willing to hurt myself just to hurt you, in a desperate attempt to soothe my pain. You never lost focus on your commitment to do whatever it took to save our marriage.
The Dilemma: Getting to the painful truth about an affair is essential for healing, but the truth also becomes a source of endless agony for many who have been betrayed. So what truth helps? Can some truth actually harm? How can we know the difference?
We usually expect our marriage to last a lifetime. What starts with promises of faithfulness and endurance, we believe, will survive any challenge "for better or for worse." Most marriages do; some even thrive. But many die in ways never anticipated.
When the death of a marriage is a mutual choice between two partners, grieving its loss may be a short-term process. The decision to end their relationship often follows a period of prolonged suffering, making divorce feel like relief. Similar to a funeral, partners make the appropriate arrangements, pay their final respects, bury the marriage, and move on with their lives.
But a marriage killed by betrayal is not so easily mourned.
After recording episode #403 of our Recovery Room podcast, in which I answer a caller's question about sexual struggles after her husband's affair, I remembered this bit of advice I often give to couples and wanted to add it to the discussion...
Even after an affair has ended, it can continue to intrude into the marriage relationship. For many couples, this is never more apparent than in moments of attempted sexual intimacy, when the betrayed partner is ripped out of the moment with a thought: Is THIS something they shared together? If unchecked, intrusive thoughts like this can become so deeply rooted that sex is robbed of it's joy and pleasure.
The comfortable intimacy of sex might take some time to reclaim, but it can be done. Let me suggest a couple suggestions to help you find your sexual connection again.
I came across the recent photo of a full-chest tattoo on Jose, a man who seems desperate to prove how sorry he is for cheating on his wife. It's a kind of confession that can't be easily taken back. And why did he do it? "So that I can earn my wife's trust back for the pain and suffering I have caused in our marriage."
He confesses to being a liar, cheater, manipulator, deciever [sic], dishonest, disrespectful, and apparently one other descriptor deemed too inappropriate for public viewing.
At first thought, we might think: Wow! This guy is really serious about accepting responsibility and making things right. Maybe he is. But there are at least a couple problems with this dramatic declaration.
Unless otherwise noted, articles are written by Tim Tedder, a licensed counselor and creator of this site and its resources. Twitter: @TimTedder