Just a side note to start off with…How did Paul Simon ever get away with naming a song 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover, when he really only listed about 7 or 8 ways and just repeated the same ones over and over? That’s just false advertising right there I tell ya!
With Jon Gosselin and now Tiger Woods (among probably tons of others – I just don’t keep up with the media enough) in the news for having affairs I felt it was time to look at the issue with my new found perspective.
I found out my husband was having an affair when our daughter was only a few months old. He had been having the affair for probably a year or more. I spent next 2 years in shock, crying, being angry, blaming him and the other woman, and in general acting as if I am some poor victim of a random crime scene. But here are some ugly and hard truths about how affairs can happen. And you will be surprised to find that the person that had the affair may not be the only one with guilt on their shoulders.
Now – let me be clear that I am NOT condoning affairs. They are highly destructive and cause unnecessary heartache for way too many people. But I have talked to both men and women on both sides of the coin enough to see some patterns that I feel are important enough to address.
If anything – maybe this will serve as a wakeup call to someone that might need a perspective check. So, as promised, here are (drum roll please)…
10 Ways to Ensure Your Spouse Cheats on You:
10. Stop stroking your spouse’s ego.
9. Withhold affection – there is always a legitimate excuse – especially if you are a parent of very young children and or working crazy long hours.
8. Justify or condone close friendships with the opposite sex in the office or elsewhere as just business. (I am not saying to be paranoid…but cautiously aware).
7. Dismiss or ignore bragging about how someone flirted with them. Folks – this is a cry for attention. They are trying to tell you that someone else is noticing them and that they are a great catch. They are testing the waters and letting you know that if you don’t match this attention, maybe someone else will. If you really want to send them into the arms of another right away, maybe even roll your eyes or become irritated when they tell you these things.
6. Be a martyr. Become so involved in parenting or working or anything else that the real you that your spouse fell in love with actually dies somewhere along the road.
5. Don’t go on date nights.
4. Rationalize late nights at the office and increased traveling.
3. Don’t fix yourself up or take care of yourself.
2. Give them a long leash and let them do whatever they want and never question him. This shows that you are really not interested in the details of their life and could care less what they do. (Note – I am not saying to be a control freak or accusatory here).
1. Think and actually believe, “That could NEVER happen to ME”.
Note* Doing these things does not automatically guarantee a spouse will cheat, but by practicing any of the above – especially all at the same time and for prolonged periods of time, can definitely help you be well on your way towards a miserable relationship. How your spouse will actually respond is up to each individual person.
Folks, let’s get real here. There are some rotten apples out there that are just cheaters by nature or whatever, but most people ‘want’ to do the right thing. Most people don’t go into marriage thinking, “Cool! Now I can have an affair!”
I am also not saying to go flog yourself now and spend the rest of your days blaming yourself if your spouse has had an affair. I could have easily named this blog – the top 10 ways to ensure you have a miserable relationship. Because quite honestly – even if you did ALL of these 10 things – it still doesn’t condone your spouse’s cheating (or leaving). Real love is responsible and doesn’t give up.
Because quite honestly – I have had all of those things done to me and I never cheated…however, we all handle hard cirumstances differently. When things get really tough in a relationship – I chose the martyr route, and several other of these listed above just for what I felt was survival at the time. For some people – survival means other things – like reaching out to the arms of a good friend of the opposite sex…
Some people are weaker or stronger than others, and in the end, having an affair is the personal and terrible choice of the individual that did it. I think anyone that is honest about having done it can (or should) admit that it was a terrible choice that had devastating consequences and that if they could take it back, they would.
If you are going through this situation – if you are currently a victim of an affair – let me say – get help if you need it. You can feel so terribly devastated, rejected, alone, terrified, confused, among many other things. You need to address your sadness and reach out to get the support you need to get back on your feet. You do NOT need any additional guilt trips or pain. You need healing, and time to sort things out. You can’t even see this perspective clearly right now. It has taken me 2 years to get here, really.
For everyone else – I am simply saying…maybe it’s time to wake up and realize that love is a two way street. If you want a great relationship, you have to want to give that too. And if you are sitting around looking at all the ways you wish you could change your spouse…you will surely continue living in a miserable place. You never know what just might happen if you start ‘giving’ the very things you ‘want’ most, and or addressing some of your own honest needs instead of acting all helpless and hopeless.
Ironic as heck that I am sitting here writing this, as I am divorced twice and currently single. Aren’t I all high and mighty? To be very clear here – this is not an “advice” blog as much as a “lessons learned along the way from me to me”. If you happen to be reading this and getting anything out of it – great!
I have to say that I am guilty of all of the 10 things listed above at one point or another. I have plenty of excuses and reasons for some of them. My husband traveled extensively and was a bit of a control freak/manipulator. It is hard to muster up certain feelings when you feel so neglected and abandoned yourself…but man – it has to start with someone.
What sucks is when one person is finally ready to reach out and ‘try’, but the other person is not in that same place and then vice versa. That creates a downward spiral that can lead to uncertain disaster. At some point – you have to come together to both want to fix things. You both have to admit – at the same time – you have both failed each other in some places.
I don’t know if I will get to use all my new found knowledge and insight and put it into practice on some very lucky next guy or not. I currently go back and forth as to if I even want to try. I do know that both my previous husbands would have very much appreciated my new perspective. But again it is about timing and it does take two. I recognized most of these things during the counseling sessions of my 2nd separation, but it was honestly too late. He was already gone.
Maybe for some of you, it is not too late. It’s too late for Jon and Kate. Tiger and Elin’s fate is yet to be determined. But when you hear the media flapping on and on about how terrible either of these guys are…remember they are just probably hurting too, in some way, and making really horrible choices trying to fill the void. I am still very sad for the loyal parties – it is a truly devastating place to be and again, I am not condoning the cheating party. I am just saying…there are 2 sides to every story, 10 ways to ensure your spouse cheats on you or leaves you and a million variables in between.