Tag Archives: affair

A 3-Step Routine For Processing Betrayal (And Walking Away Happier) by Guest Author Dr. Jennifer Freed

"Strength and Wisdom" by Mimi Stuart ©

“Strength and Wisdom” by Mimi Stuart ©

“I’ve been cheated, been mistreated
When will I be loved
I’ve been put down, I’ve been pushed ’round
When will I be loved?”

~ Linda Ronstadt

Guest Author Dr. Jennifer Freed writes:

Sad to say, many of us have sung a version of this tune in the face of adultery and betrayal. Most people are shocked and utterly shaken by this type of betrayal because they “never saw it coming.” It’s like a meteor of misery hurling from outer space that bursts our life apart.

Reconstituting our life after deep betrayal is an arduous task but, if done well, it can be extraordinarily transformational and empowering.

So now that the inconceivable has happened, what can you do to mop yourself off the floor and heal magnificently? This three-step process is a great place to start.

1. Feel everything.

Every emotion in the book will come up during the aftermath of the betrayal: rage, grief, terror, jealousy, revenge, etc. It is essential that you have space to fully experience the intense variety of feelings in a safe context.

Pushing down this emotion or burying it with numbing substances will prolong the wound. Find friends and professionals who will support you to feel without adding any more emotional kerosene to the bonfire. Get enough support to go deep, express fully, and emerge much lighter. You know you are done with this phase when you are not obsessed with the betrayer or what they did anymore. You are ready to actually think about you, your life, and what you want now.

2. Use your new free time wisely.

After you have collapsed for a while and experienced an enormous amount of catharsis, you can begin to see the emptiness that exists where there once was the presence of your person. Emptiness is at first terrifying for most of us because we are afraid we will dissolve into nothingness and never return. The beauty of this black hole is you have the opportunity to create whatever you desire in this nascent period of vast choices.

What have you been longing to do but have been avoiding? What hobby, interest, class, can you now devote some precious time to? The vacuum inside you is really not a problem if you commit to filling it with things that will enhance your life and fill you with inspiration. There is nothing better than looking back at the period of heartbreak and betrayal and saying “That was when I really found my passion for …”

3. Forgive yourself.

The final stage of recovery is about forgiveness. Now, I’m not telling you to absolve the betrayer of their sins—they need to do their own forgiveness work and you really do not need to be any part of it. This is when you must absolutely forgive yourself for and learn from the following:

• Not seeing it coming.

• What could you have seen if you were looking more closely?

• Seeing signs of something wrong but not wanting to confront it for whatever your reasons.

• Where did you back down from real issues that were simmering? What skills do you need to not do that again?

• Any ways you contributed to the distance that ultimately led to this tortuous level of disconnection.

• How did you check out in some critical ways or put up with behaviors that were unhealthy?

Forgiving yourself is the final frontier of transformational recovery. It is the utter acceptance that we have no control over others whatsoever, yet we can always learn to be more whole and complete ourselves. Betrayal creates an undeniable break in our self-image. However, if we use that rupture to reformulate ourselves into more present, awake, connected, and fully expressed people, we will not only walk tall, but we could, one day, actually have gratitude for the brutal wake-up call.

by Guest Author Dr. Jennifer Freed, PhD, child behavioral expert, co-founder of AHA! (Attitude.Harmony.Achievement.) http://ahasb.org

Guest Author Dr. Jennifer Freed: “Well I’m not having a sexual affair!” The Emotional Affair.

"Scott Joplin's Great Crush Collision" by Mimi Stuart
Live the Life you Desire

Emotional Affairs occur when the primary relationship has become dead or cut off in some way. Often these affairs start up in compensation for some real intimacy at home.

Many big life events trigger these affairs as people feel more needy than usual. A death in the family, children coming or going, turning big marker ages 40, 50, 60, job reentry, school reentry, financial stress, illness etc……… can all be triggers for a change in the primary relationship and an opening for an emotional affair.



SIGNS OF AN EMOTIONAL AFFAIR

1- Your friendship has secrets
2- You confide in your friend more than to your spouse
3- You have more excitement to meet/talk with friend than spouse
4- You feel more your self and freer with friend
5- You take better care of yourself before contact with friend
6- You have sexual fantasies about friend
7- You hide the amount of contact you do have from spouse
8- You give your friend special gifts and treats
9- You get into fights with your spouse about your friend
10- You want exclusive time with your friend and you keep your spouse separate from your friend
11- When you think of getting away or taking a day off you think of doing it with your friend and not your spouse
12- You are defensive about your friend’s faults to your spouse and get extra heated about any criticism
13- You are feeling more and more distant from your spouse and don’t want to deal with it
14- You start talking more to your friend about your problems in your relationship
15- You are much kinder and more forgiving with your friend than your spouse
16- You find yourself telling more and more little lies to your partner

If you can say YES to more than 6 of these signs then odds are you are on the slippery slope to an EMOTIONAL AFFAIR. The best remedy is to fully acknowledge the lapse in your primary relationship and turn all attention to repairing the primary intimacy. Everyone needs close friends and close friends are not ever a threat to a truly intimate relationship.

Dr. Jennifer Freed, Psychotherapist and Educator in Santa Barbara, California, is the author of “Lessons from Stanley the Cat,” radio show host for “Freed Up,” on Voice America, & a professor.

Read “Attractions outside the Marriage.”