podcast 113 "Q&A: June 2016"
Counselors Tim & Sharon Tedder answer affair related questions submitted by listeners. This episode includes questions about staying healthy with a spouse who is openly cheating, how to deal with an affair partner, how to deal with the strong feelings of betrayal, what to think when you hear "I love you but I'm not in love with you and want something new," and considering the role of the brain in an affair attraction.
- Articles: Obsessive Focus: Relentless Thoughts or Conversations About the Affair (8 strategies for relief)
- Recommended Book: The Truth About Love by Pat Love (understanding the different experiences and stages of love)
Quote from a Community forum member, a betrayed wife, posted in 2015:
Any questions that form a comparison or a competition (Was sex better? Was she prettier, thinner, smarter, wealthier? Did you enjoy talking with her more? etc.) are not necessary in my opinion. I know why we ask them. The affair wounds our self worth. It takes over like a monster.
I'd like anyone feeling the pain of those questions to try this exercise: Write down all your spouse's positive points, attractions, and best qualities. Then consider them and ask yourself if no one else is as good or better then them in those areas. Chances are there are many people in the world, or even people you know, who are more attractive, thinner, wealthier, better at sex, smarter, or more interesting than your spouse. Do you think less of your spouse because so many people are better than them at those things? Probably not.
This isn't about putting down your wayward spouse. It's about realizing marriage isn't a competition. You didn't marry them because they were "the best." You chose them because you loved them. They didn't marry you because you were the best either, but because they loved you. They didn't cheat because you got older, softer, too familiar, or because they found something better or because you were lacking anything. They cheated because of something lacking in themselves.
If [satisfaction in a relationship] means finding something better, trust me, they will never find it. Real long term love will elude them forever. There is always someone better at something. Someone will always be younger, more attractive, or more educated. That doesn't make YOU any less. Marriage isn't about trading up for bigger, better, and newer models.
I wondered for a long time if the sex was better with the affair partner Then one day I realized I could probably have better sex with someone else. I just didn't. There were many men more attractive than my husband. I just didn't care because I was married. There were men smarter or more educated than my husband. Does that mean my husband was less than other men? No. He was just him. And I married him. I wasn't faithful because he was the best at everything. I was faithful because I chose to be and because I wasn't lacking something inside me that I thought could be filled with something on the outside.
Don't demean your worth with comparison questions. If you compare yourself to others, you can always find yourself lacking something. You don't have to be the best; just be the best you. The best you is worthy of love and honesty and faithfulness and so much more.