What to Do When You Are the Cheating Spouse

cheating-spouse-surveillanceYou are having an affair.  This wasn’t intention, you didn’t even see it coming but here you are anyway in   the middle of an affair.  It started off easily and innocently with a glance when you noticed the other person and got noticed back; it felt good to have someone look at you like that way again.  The other person took an interest in you, in your problems, in your frustrations, and in your successes without judgment, resentment, or selfishness.  It began with an occasional face-to-face conversation then the conversation became more private through texting and emails.  You found yourself looking for opportunities to meet and to touch casually noticing their smell, their look, and their eyes longing for the next meeting.

Finally it happened, the connection that began as emotional became physical.  It seemed so natural, so comfortable, and so normal that you hardly noticed something was wrong.  But something is wrong because you are married and the other person is not your spouse.  Mixed emotions of guilt, fear, excitement, anticipation, worry, anger, and anxiety flood your body leaving you with a complete lack of clarity. Now you are stuck, not knowing what to do without anyone to talk to, knowing that no matter what someone is going to get hurt.   You know that having an affair is wrong, but here you are.

Lie #1:  No one is going to get hurt.  The truth is everyone will get hurt.  Your spouse will get hurt when the affair becomes known, a promise of fidelity is broken, trust is destroyed, and intimacy is denied.  The person you are having the affair will get hurt when reliability is forbidden, stability is deprived, promises are broken, and intimacy is one way.  You will get hurt when forced to make a decision, lies become standards, secrets become gossip, promises broken, and intimacy becomes a farce.  Your friends, family, and God all become hurt as well since your marriage was a promise of commitment in front of all and now that promise is broken.

Lie #2:  It’s my spouse’s fault I’m having an affair.  The truth is both of you are to blame for the affair but you more than your spouse.  Pointing fingers is not going to accomplish much right now, it’s kind of like Adam and Eve in the garden when each blamed someone else for the reason they sinned.  What is done is done and blaming someone else is not going to more you forward.  Own your own mistakes; this is adult behavior instead of childlike blame shifting.

Lie #3:  There is nothing I can do.  The truth is you have many options but all of them are far more difficult than the decision to have the affair.  Once you recognize that you are really hurting everyone by having an affair and you own up to your responsibility in the affair, then you need to take action.  Remaining in the same place and continuing on with your life as it is now will cause significant anxiety and lead to panic attacks and depression.  Having an affair is lying.  So begin the process by not lying anymore and then confess previous lies.  It will be painful of there is little doubt but continuing the lying is even more painful.

No one likes to admit that they have done something wrong.  It is painful, revealing, exposing, and humbling however nothing can be resolved if the affair remains in secret.  Get some counsel, ask for help from a non-biased person, and take action.  In the end, you are responsible for your actions and the decisions that you make both for good and bad.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

What can you do when you are hurting?

There are times in our lives when things happen that hurt us.  Perhaps it is the disappointment of our children, the broken trust of our spouse, the betrayal of a friend, the abandonment of a family member, the failure of a business, or the rejection of a neighbor.  Whatever the incident, we have a choice to either deal with the hurt or bury the hurt.

Often the reason we bury our hurt is because we don’t want to feel the pain.  We instead turn to some sort of medication to stop the pain as if the pain is the problem instead of a symptom of the problem.  Medication does not necessarily come in the form of drugs, some medicate themselves from pain through excessive shopping, eating or drinking or perhaps fantasy thinking through gambling, pornography, television or video games.  Whatever the medication, the goal is the same, to dull or distract us from the pain and hurt we feel.

But we can choose to deal with the hurt instead.  The process is threefold beginning with recognizing the hurt has occurred, than responding constructively to the hurt and finally restoring the damaged relationship.  With each step, the hurt diminishes over time allowing the stress of the incident to fade.  However this process is not easy as many get stuck in one of the stages thereby not fully completing the steps and allowing the hurt to continue far longer than needed.  Let’s examine each of the steps more fully to better understand the process.

Recognize.  Our ability to recognize and be honest with the hurt we feel greatly impacts our ability to heal.  Honest is the most difficult step because it requires us to admit to our pain and reach out for help.  We often think feeling pain will make us weak or venerable for more pain, ironically the reverse is true.    For it is in our honesty first with ourselves and later with those around us that we are able to begin the process of healing and restoration of relationships.  By not being honest, we continue to lie to ourselves and those around us thereby setting ourselves up for even more hurt in the future.

Respond. Once we recognize the hurt, our response to the hurt can either destroy or rebuild our relationships.  Angry outbursts, vengeful thoughts, ignoring others, and manipulation schemes are all examples of unhealthy responses to hurt which will eventually destroy the relationship.  Alternatively, by lovingly confronting the hurt and processing it in a constructive environment, we can work towards the next step in the healing process.

Restore.  Only after the hurt is recognized and then responded to properly can true restoration of a relationship begin.  Broken relationships continue to cause pain even if they are distant; however healthy relationships allow us to prosper.  Healthy relationships allow room for mistakes without judgment, for boundaries without control, for security without anxiety, and for safety without fear.  They provide peace in our lives which ultimately brings harmony and freedom from strife.

One of the lessons learned from giving birth to children is that from the greatest pain comes the greatest joy.  Just as in child-birth, the pain is an indication of the upcoming birth of a child so the hurt in our lives can bring about unexpected joy through restored relationships.  We are not created to feel only joy without pain; instead we feel the greatest joy after the pain.  Use the hurt you feel as an opportunity to grow past the pain and into the joy of a restored fellowship with your child, spouse, friend, family member or neighbor.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

Help for Hurting Families

There are times in our lives when things happen that hurt us.  Perhaps it is the disappointment of our children, the broken trust of our spouse, the betrayal of a friend, the abandonment of a family member, the failure of a business, or the rejection of a neighbor.  Whatever the incident, we have a choice to either deal with the hurt or bury the hurt.

Often the reason we bury our hurt is because we don’t want to feel the pain.  We instead turn to some sort of medication to stop the pain as if the pain is the problem instead of a symptom of the problem.  Medication does not necessarily come in the form of drugs, some medicate themselves from pain through excessive shopping, eating or drinking or perhaps fantasy thinking through gambling, pornography, television or video games.  Whatever the medication, the goal is the same, to dull or distract us from the pain and hurt we feel.

But we can choose to deal with the hurt instead.  The process is threefold beginning with recognizing the hurt has occurred, than responding constructively to the hurt and finally restoring the damaged relationship.  With each step, the hurt diminishes over time allowing the stress of the incident to fade.  However this process is not easy as many get stuck in one of the stages thereby not fully completing the steps and allowing the hurt to continue far longer than needed.  Let’s examine each of the steps more fully to better understand the process.

Recognize.  Our ability to recognize and be honest with the hurt we feel greatly impacts our ability to heal.  Honest is the most difficult step because it requires us to admit to our pain and reach out for help.  We often think feeling pain will make us weak or venerable for more pain, ironically the reverse is true.    For it is in our honesty first with ourselves and later with those around us that we are able to begin the process of healing and restoration of relationships.  By not being honest, we continue to lie to ourselves and those around us thereby setting ourselves up for even more hurt in the future.

Respond. Once we recognize the hurt, our response to the hurt can either destroy or rebuild our relationships.  Angry outbursts, vengeful thoughts, ignoring others, and manipulation schemes are all examples of unhealthy responses to hurt which will eventually destroy the relationship.  Alternatively, by lovingly confronting the hurt and processing it in a constructive environment, we can work towards the next step in the healing process.

Restore.  Only after the hurt is recognized and then responded to properly can true restoration of a relationship begin.  Broken relationships continue to cause pain even if they are distant; however healthy relationships allow us to prosper.  Healthy relationships allow room for mistakes without judgment, for boundaries without control, for security without anxiety, and for safety without fear.  They provide peace in our lives which ultimately brings harmony and freedom from strife.

One of the lessons learned from giving birth to children is that from the greatest pain comes the greatest joy.  Just as in child-birth, the pain is an indication of the upcoming birth of a child so the hurt in our lives can bring about unexpected joy through restored relationships.  We are not created to feel only joy without pain; instead we feel the greatest joy after the pain.  Use the hurt you feel as an opportunity to grow past the pain and into the joy of a restored fellowship with your child, spouse, friend, family member or neighbor.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

What a Pain in the Back!

It was sometime during my 7th month of pregnancy with our third child that my husband found out he would be gone six weeks prior to our child’s expected birth and for six weeks following our child’s birth for a job.  Having the foresight of two prior pregnancies and knowing that my mother could not stay for an extended time, I asked for my mother to come stay with us after the birth.  But before the birth was another issue.  Our oldest child was three and he had more energy than the entire family combined multiplied by two.  He had two speeds, go fast and sleep; there was no in between.  Our second child did not have the high energy but was a bit colicky even after turning one.  She always knew what she wanted and most of the time it was mommy.  Both pregnancies were high risk due to the premature birth of our son and the early labor pains of our daughter, so by default, this pregnancy was high risk as well which meant additional doctor’s visits with the kids trailing along.

Now, I’m 5’2” on a good day with a very short-waisted so all of my babies stuck straight out making me look like I had a beach ball inside my shirt more than an unborn child.  My posture was forced to change, I could not sleep on a flat surface because I literally could not breathe, and I was often carrying around one of the other two children if not both from time to time.  On top of all that, I was exhausted trying to keep up with our son and managing our daughter’s crying bouts.  The only relief that I had been my husband coming home at night to help out with the kids and now he was going to be gone.

The back pain was the worst I ever had in my life even after having gone through two car accidents that damaged my back.  I could not take pain medication because of my high risk pregnancies, the chiropractor was nervous about continuing treatment so close to the expected date, and over the counter medications did not work with my history of ulcers.  So I had to learn how to manage the pain without the help of any medication, without the ability to lie flat (I slept in a La-Z-Boy), and in between caring for the kids.

Take a load off.  Just getting temporary relief from the pain was helpful and restored my energy levels back to my new normal.  While heating pads helped at home, the largest difference was going to our neighborhood pool for at least an hour a day and just standing in shoulder-high water.  The kids loved to play in the pool and armed with extra floatation devices to put my mind at ease, I was able to get the weight off my back.  The water took the pressure off my back and for an hour a day my back felt weightless.  On days that I could not go to the pool, the garden tub we had been helpful but did not provide the deep relief because my stomach stuck out of the water.  Taking a load off my back did help to relieve the pain and taught me the importance of caring for yourself so you can care better for others.

Ask for help. Ok, I admit it, I’m not the type to ask for help or admit that something is too much for me to handle.  When my husband first told me about the job I encouraged him to take it and never once asked him not to see the job through to the end.  I did not want to be the reason he did not do something that he really wanted to do, so I dealt with it.  My husband, concerned about me and knowing that I would not ask for help, had two friends of mine come over to help several nights a week.  They would come over, take care of dinner, watch the kids, and let me take a break in my bedroom.  I’m grateful for them and my husband and somewhere along the way I learned that asking for help is not a sign of weakness.  Allowing others to help literally carry your burden can ease the back pain.

Get some rest.  Sleeping on a La-Z-Boy night after night is not the most restful sleep but it was far better than not breathing or waking up to the circulation being cut-off in my arms and legs.  Having two young children taught me many things, one of which is to sleep when the kids sleep and the second of which is to value rest above sleep.  I honestly do not think I knew what rest meant, to me to rest was to sleep, but my kids taught me otherwise.  I learned that rest means relaxing, stopping what you are doing, letting the dishes pile up if necessary, watching a favorite kid’s TV show, or just observing them playing.  These simple things reminded me that rest does not have to be sleep and resting can alone ease the back pain.

Finding relief for back pain is not a fixed formula.  Sometimes the pain is because of a physical problem and sometimes the pain is because of an emotional problem.  In my case, it was both.  But learning to take a load off, asking for help, and getting some rest provided me with the relieve I needed.  Oh, and our third child, a girl, was born without any complications, hardly any labor, and with minimal medications while my husband was home for the weekend.  God is good.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.