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.

Marriage Tip: Detach from the Ranting

Your spouse is going to rant about something sooner or later.  Unfortunately the ranting may even be about the same topic, the same people, or the same circumstances you have heard about a thousand times before.  In your response, you are likely to fall into a pattern of defending, explaining, shutting down, minimizing or personalizing the ranting.  None of these responses are correct and all are likely to incite even more ranting from your spouse.

So what can you do?  First recognize that you rant as well and stop pointing the finger at your spouse as if they were the only one to blame.  Second, remind yourself that you do love your spouse and that your love in unconditional, not based on performance.  Afterall, this is what you expect from your spouse so you should give them the same consideration.  Finally, detach from the ranting by reminding yourself that their ranting is their issue and not yours.  You do not need to take your spouse’s issues on like a weight to be carried around.  This is not helpful, this is hurtful.  Your spouse is responsible for their behavior, their actions, and their words; just like you are responsible for your behavior towards your spouse, your actions and your words.

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.

Marriage Tip: Get Real

So you say that you want your marriage to be better.  You read books, listen to others, pray, and talk about the importance of marriage but how committed are you really?  It is much easier to talk about communicating and the importance of it for instance, then to actually communicate effectively.  The same is true for your marriage.  It is much easier to talk about having a good marriage and the importance of having one rather than making positive steps to improve your marriage.  Strangely enough, no matter what your spouse has done, a better marriage starts with you and not the other person.  Stop looking at what your spouse is doing wrong or has done wrong in the past and start looking at your contribution to the failure of your marriage.  Get real with yourself and God before you go on the attack.  This is far more productive than blaming your spouse as Adam and Eve discovered in the Garden.

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.

Marriage Tip: Don’t Be A Spouse Pleaser

Yes, I know that this is strange advice and most likely contradicts the latest marriage book you read but it doesn’t work in the long run.  Sure you can get great results in your marriage by always trying to please your spouse short-term but sooner or later you run out of steam especially when the gesture is not reciprocated to your satisfaction level.  Pleasing your spouse ranks right up there with pleasing others which should not be the focus of your life.

What is wrong with pleasing your spouse or others?  The standard for pleasing others is constantly changing and therefore is not a foundation upon which you can stand firm.  However, going to the opposite point of view which is pleasing yourself is selfish and an equally troubling foundation for a marriage.  Pleasing others elevates their feelings, beliefs, and standards as more important as your own.  Pleasing yourself elevates your feelings, beliefs, and standards as more important than others.  Neither is good.

There is only one to please, one to praise, one to worship, one to follow, one to hope, and one to love.  God.  His standard is unchanging, unwavering, and full of grace all at once.  By setting your sights on pleasing God, you will naturally please others and yourself but not because one is elevated above the other.  Rather, you will be  more focused on His ways of grace, mercy, love, patience, kindness, order, and structure.  This is the best foundation for your marriage.

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.

Marriage Tip: Forgive Your Spouse for the Little Things

It’s the little things that count.  Too often the big things in a marriage get the most attention while the little things go unrecognized for lack of importance.  However, if you can begin the practice of forgiving your spouse for the little things, then when the big things come up it will be a much easier task.  It’s like running a race.  You train for the race gradually, increasing your speed, intensity, and distance with each practice.  Eventually you are prepared to run the race at your best because of the practice even if you didn’t feel well that day.  Yet, if you were to run the race cold, even with the best intentions at heart, you would not do as well as if you practiced a little every day.  It is the same with forgiveness.  Practice forgiving the little things each day and when the big things come along you will have your training in forgiveness to fall back on even when you don’t feel like forgiving.

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.

Marriage Tip: Be Intentionally Grateful to Your Spouse

Try it.  Don’t talk about it, think about it or put it off.  Just be intentionally grateful about something, anything will really do, which is far better than nothing.  Even if your spouse misunderstood your last comment, argued with you over something meaningless, made a thoughtless remark, or turned a casual comment into a lecture opportunity, show gratitude in a way that matters to them.  It is not about finding the right moment, because it will never come.  It is about creating the right moment in the mist of wrong moments to be grateful.  You can be grateful by making a positive comment about your spouse not a passive aggressive sarcastic remark.  You can be grateful by doing something for your spouse not doing something that you have asked them repeatedly to do and it still is not done.  You can be grateful by giving something to your spouse not by giving them something that is really for you.  You can be grateful by spending time with your spouse not by demanding your spouse spend time with you.  You can be grateful by gently squeezing your spouse’s hand not by yanking their hand.  So what are you waiting for, go be grateful to your spouse.

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.

Marriage Tip: Pray for Your Spouse Daily

During times of tragedy, it is easier to remember to pray for and be grateful for your spouse’s safety, job, health, relationships, and good will.  As tragedy has a unique way of highlighting not only the sufferings but also the blessings as there seems to be no shortage of extremes.  Yet it is much harder to be consistent with prayer for your spouse during the good times; after all, your spouse may not seem as much in need as others.  But these moments are precisely the times when prayer is most needed, when it is least expected because you never know when tragedy will strike.  Pray for wisdom in decision making, discernment in associations, solid friendships, strength to endure trials, patience in work, keen focus, and understanding heart.  Praying for your spouse is not about praying that your spouse agrees with you on a decision rather it is about praying for character traits and asking for protection realizing that in the end God is in control even during a tragedy.

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.

Marriage Tip: Never Leave Your Spouse Behind

There is a saying in the military, “Never leave a man behind” which should be applied to a marriage.  There will be times in your marriage when you are growing or moving faster than your spouse for a variety of reasons.  However, if you keep your spouse in the dark or leave him or her behind then resentment has the opportunity to grow and take over your marriage.  You will then find a new resentment for your spouse for not appreciating your growth and your spouse will resent you for leaving him or her out of your growth.  As you learn more about yourself, include your spouse in your understanding and if needed help your spouse to grow with you.

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.

Marriage Tip: You are Married So Act like It

Have you ever run into someone and was surprised to find them married because he or she just spent the last few minutes flirting with you?  This is a recipe for disaster in a marriage.  Married people should act like married people meaning that when you are away from your spouse, you are a partial representation of a whole package.  The whole package is the combination of you and your spouse together where two separate people become one united in marriage.  Apart, you are representing your commitment to your marriage, not your commitment to your own selfish desires.  If both parts treated the marriage with such care and commitment then it will be a light to others around.

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.

Is Your Child Becoming Like Their Narcissistic Parent?

Woman Holding Blank FrameIt can’t be.  While the narcissistic parent is insensitive and uncaring, your child seems overly compassionate, caring, and highly attuned, almost to the point of compulsion, to needs of others.  Your child fails to see anything wrong with the narcissistic parent and believes the parent to be near perfect.  Gratitude and praise flow off your child’s lips as such a welcome change from the demoralizing comments emanating from the narcissistic parent.  So your child couldn’t be narcissistic, right?  Wrong.

There is a budding type of narcissism known as the inverted narcissist and is occasionally seen in children of narcissistic parents.  Basically it works like this.  The child idealizes the narcissistic parent to the point that he or she gets satisfaction out of pleasing the parent who is difficult to please.  Your child gives the narcissistic parent an unending supply of adoration and admiration which the parent in turn craves.  Because the child supplies the narcissist’s needs with excessive praise, the parent then becomes possessive and dependent as an addict is to a drug in an unhealthy manner.  Your child figuratively becomes the mirror which the narcissistic parent uses to view their inflated ego.

What can you do?  There really is no use in identifying all of the flaws of the narcissistic parent because it will only serve as a point of contention between you and your child possibly ending in alienation.  Instead, don’t burst your child’s bubble about the narcissistic parent but don’t lie by agreeing with your child either.  Rather listen to your child’s point of view and don’t take advantage of your child’s giving nature.  This will naturally set you apart from the narcissistic parent.

What can you say?  As the non-narcissistic parent, you might not be in the best position to bring clarity to your child’s opinions about the narcissistic parent.  More than likely you will be too emotionally involved to think clearly and present an alternative opinion.  In addition, you need to focus on non-manipulative communication with your child avoiding such pitfalls as guilt tactics or bribery.  So find a safe adult person that your child can confide in to discuss any issues related to the narcissistic parent.  This person should have a full understanding of narcissism and not be subject to the same idealization as your child.

Will it get better?  Yes but not without some hurt feelings along the way.  Eventually the narcissistic parent will disappoint the child because the facade cannot be maintained for too long; however it may not happen until adulthood.  In the meantime, don’t do anything to destroy your relationship with the child; your child needs a strong parental bond because the narcissist is not empathic.  Your child may want to spend alone time with the narcissistic parent and naturally you will want to protect your child from potential harm.  Yet, this alone time may just be what is needed to bring about clarity for your child in the difference between the two parents.

Narcissism is hard to deal with by itself.  If you are struggling with it, imagine how hard it is for your child who does not have the life experience to tell them something is wrong.  At some point in adulthood your child will confront you about the narcissistic parent so be prepared to be honest about your own struggle and successes in dealing with narcissism.

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.