POST 40: PHASES AND SHOWING LOVE

I decided after long deliberations to make a starter on this post and all who have ideas and who are working on this process, or have been successful, please contribute….I am very well aware that in the majority of cases, the faithful spouse does most of the work and definitely emotionally the hardest work. To be even more honest, that is in particular the case, when the faithful spouse is the female.

Post 40 was about doing the work…and it is NEEDED when you messed up. The work is important. As all those who went through the heartache of the pain of infidelity will tell you…it takes a long time to even come to terms with:

  1. THE REALITY of the UGLINESS and the ACCEPTANCE that it indeed happened…and “yes” it happened in YOUR marriage.
  2. Going back-and-forward form #1 to short-lived stages of “honeymooning” during which both partners think they can overcome the pain. Often there is intense love making, following by crying and yelling, some good evenings are ending in a fight.
  3. The intensity of the emotions including rage and deep sadness which is something many have never experienced before.
  4. The reality that sinks in deeper and deeper when more filth comes floating upward and it cannot be ignored. Many betrayers remain lying in all shapes and forms. They use justifications, rationalisations and even have the guts to tell the faithful spouse that they were part of the problem or that they [the cheater] did all the work and that their spouse needs to seek help :(.
  5. The long time to make some sense of what has happened and the longing to see some progress. Some professionals state that two years is the minimum. Four years and longer is more realistic depending on the degree of deception and whether the betrayer does the work: ALL of the work! (taken into account that most of the work is initiated by the faithful spouse).
  6. The option to split up and have a divorce or the decision that there is enough goodness to remain together.
  7. The taking of every step. There is no fast tracking. This is trauma and this is grief (DO THE WORK FIRST, see POST 40). 
  8. The years it takes…to heal. Not all is only ugly…couples go from bad to worse to about to break-up to making amends.
  9. The secrecy of the process ..which makes things so much harder…but it prevents ugly gossip.
  10. The realisation that the healing process is fragile.

IMPORTANT: everyone is different and therefore has different preferences. These preferences can be mildly or strongly and certain things turn certain people absolutely off, so, you’d better check this out before making things worse. I placed “each other” or “them”…in the posting but if you are the person who has to step-it-up…you know who you are……

We show love by BEING OPEN AND HONEST AND BY NOT LYING…(yes, that can be done!) and by…

  1. Respecting each other.
  2. Trusting each other.
  3. Being willing to keep on working on the relationship.
  4. Placing each other first.
  5. Being very well aware of possible triggers….for the spouse who had an affair: Do not screw this up! E.g. avoid doing something special for your spouse when you did something similar for any AP.
  6. Being very careful with hotel surprises and care packages. Communication of plans prior to an evening or weekend away is important to avoid pain related to the negative memories of the past.
  7. Creating time (without distractions). Agreements on phone use and setting clear boundaries.
  8. Using effective communication, using “I” statements.
  9. Sharing what happened throughout the day. Telling funny stories from work. Talking about things that need to be shared e.g. the employment of a new female at the office, a business trip, etc.
  10. Hiding things is no longer an option it is lying.
  11. Listening and letting the other know that you have truly listened by responding in verbal or non-verbal ways.
  12. Asking questions out of interest and to remain tuned-in for the answer.
  13. Asking questions when you are not sure about something.
  14. Doing things (giving) and these can be very small. In particular doing things for your partner that you know are not their favorite (filling up the car, cleaning the litter box, brushing dog hair off the couch, washing the car, weeding the garden, vacuum cleaning, cleaning the stove).
  15. Making sure to avoid doing things that the other person prefers to do themselves….or which you suck at…It means listening and communicating well.
  16. Listening for cues when you have a conversation about doing things in the near future….this is crucial…..as some people spell out everything concretely while others describe their wishes in more global terminologies. Remind yourself …ask when not sure…do not assume…
  17. Coming up with ideas you can really please as well as surprise your spouse with. Be aware of personality differences and preferences (e.g. extroverted versus introverted). It is about your spouse and not about you!
  18. Looking each other in the eyes.
  19. Being aware of non-verbal communication and how to show attention.
  20. Having fun, making jokes.
  21. Touching and hugging each other.
  22. Doing her/his back with body lotion.
  23. Suggesting a massage but do not make it sexual.
  24. When intimate MAKE IT ABOUT THE TWO OF YOU and about your spouse. Make sure that the faithful spouse feels that you make love to her/him. Use her/his name, find the spots that are most sensitive and pleasurable to her/him. Be careful with what you say if you were the one who was cheating. Many things can be triggers.
  25. When active, suggesting to do some fun activities: running, attending yoga, gym class, walking the dog. Go for a swim or the spa.
  26. Leaving notes handwritten rather than text messages which get lost and have totally lost its magic due to its frequent abuse.
  27. Starting neck massaging each other’s shoulders and observe whether it is liked, ask how it feels.
  28. Sleeping holding each other. Touching each other gently throughout the night to show that you are home with her/him.
  29. Making breakfast or coffee in the morning when this is liked (or rather a smoothie).
  30. Knowing each other’s preferences and their preferred routine. Respect their routine.
  31. Changing your passwords into something special about your partner. Be careful with this. It is to be very special, cute and sweet.
  32. Asking what they need. Sometimes this is a quiet hug and at other times a favor or a talk. At other times a headache tablet and a glass of water.
  33. Telling each other what you love about each other. Writing things down. When creative make a picture.
  34. Validating and acknowledging your spouse’s feelings and thoughts. Paying attention to concerns. Do not come with “easy” solutions as that can be insulting!
  35. Turn-taking when coming up with ideas what to eat and where to eat and being creative.
  36. Knowing how to please the other using communication, observation and deeply caring for the other.
  37. Giving the gift of an evening off.
  38. Coming home early (discuss this first to see if it is working with the other’s schedule) and doing something special. Keeping it between he two of you. It is not about showing the office what a great partner you are.
  39. Making a list about each other what you like most about them and including funny things.
  40. Wearing your wedding ring when you both value this.
  41. Having a family or couple picture in your wallet, or on your phone or I-pad.
  42. Being loyal. When in company and a guest has not been polite or kind to your spouse, show your spouse your awareness and avoid the person in question to demonstrate where your loyalty lies.
  43. Support your spouse and children at all times, they are closest to you. No matter where and when.
  44. Becoming aware of situations when your spouse repeats things. This is because you have not heard it or have not responded.
  45. Introducing your partner and add something to the conversation about your spouse at work functions.
  46. Avoiding work talk at dinners with colleagues that include spouses.
  47. Letting colleagues know your boundaries around phone calls and messages during the weekend and holidays. Urgent messages are well-defined (what is urgent) and should be an exception. Do not allow colleagues to cross your boundaries. Family and couple time is often scarce, enjoy it!
  48. Asking your spouse to join work trips when they include some fun time. There need to be a clear distinction between work and fun…and fun per definition is not a work thing!
  49. Keeping “work dinners” short and avoid alcohol. Keeping your relationship safe!
  50. Being aware of your behavior when not with your spouse. Imagining your spouse is with you.
  51. Telling your spouse BEFORE the event that you are having lunch with a work colleague, the reason and where and when.
  52. Doing things for the other that are less important to you, because you care and because loving is giving in the first place.

Please check-in often…will be continued….Additions more than welcome :)!

4 thoughts on “POST 40: PHASES AND SHOWING LOVE

  1. Hello. I’ve been a blog-lurker for awhile and I’m just now starting to post and daring to comment. I hope you don’t mind.
    I love this post. It’s all so spot-on. I do struggle with what I actually want, sometimes. I think we have reached the place where he will do what I ask, but I don’t know what to ask for anymore. In particular, one of your suggestions mentions to not do special things if he had done something similar for the AP. I go back and forth between agreeing with this and with not wanting her to have anything special from him. If he went someplace with her, I think we should go there. He can’t have that memory of her. Does that make sense? There are roads I can’t go down. Nicknames he never called me. How do we overwrite them? Or do I put those in a box and lock them away and try to not think of them? Are certain things always hers? I guess “affair” and “cheating” will always make me think of her. Maybe I want new. See? How do I not know what I want 3 years later? Oh, perhaps because I wanted a faithful husband…and everything else seems like settling. I would love to hear your thoughts.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Lucy, you and Elizabeth sound exactly like my wife, TL, when I read your thoughts. As a betrayer, I know I’ve created this heartbreaking catch-22 for TL: wanting things from me but not knowing what, wanting to ask me for things but disappointed that I can’t think of them on my own, wanting what APs got but knowing it will never be enough, and wanting to avoid things but wishing she did not have to avoid them.

      I find it helpful to read this from other betrayed spouses, even though I understand it perfectly from my own. I do, however, continue to stumble around in the dark, searching for solutions to this Gordian knot I foolishly tied.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Lucy,

    I agree with your going back and forth with either “going there” or avoiding it. I think it depends on the situation. In the case when the place was not that special and you and also your husband hates the place and/or the activity now, it might be good to wipe it out of your memory as good as you can by placing it on the pile “bad stuff”, or what you suggested to lock it up in a box and throw the key away and bury it deep.
    If it were places and or experiences that were special to you, you want to claim it back and imagine to throw the AP out of it as it is yours and yours only and your husband can make it special for you again. It helps if your husband ensures you that in hindsight it makes him sick that he spent time with the AP there etc., and that he regrets all of it.

    Other stuff….it sucks….it all goes with cheating, lying and being deceitful. Therefore I made such a big deal of the betrayer having to do penance. Only when he works hard to deserve you, you will feel that you made the right choice with staying. If you feel you are settling…it means he did not work hard enough.

    Remember NOTHING is HERS…she tried to steal it from you and she lost…..she has nothing apart from the experience to having had an affair with a married man….not something she could ever justify….pathetic really….:). Not a story she can proudly tell her grandchildren.

    Please let me know if this was helpful and feel free to ask whatever….
    Hugs
    Elisabeth

    Liked by 1 person

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