Agony Aunt for Mums

Problem Corner – Inappropriate relationships No2

Agony Aunt for Mums
Agony Aunt for Mums

I’ve had a long email from a wife asking for some more help having read my previous post about ‘Inappropriate Relationships’.

My answer is basically ‘Yes’ that woman is a wrong un, but I thought I’d include the whole email with my comments all the way through in red to help guys understand the general nuance when dealing with situations like this:

Email 1

I came across your website when looking for information on cross sex relationships as my partner of 25 years has recently struck up a friendship with a female co-worker, he has known her for couple of years but has only just recently got to know her better and she has also recently confided in him with a lot of her emotional problems. When the friendship first became known to me I wasn’t sure what to think as I did not know this girl he has befriended but he told me that she was confiding in him about her marital troubles and was telling him personal things that she did not share with her own husband.  He also told me that she confided in him at work about her life and problems initially also and that they had the occasional work lunch out of the office, although my partner tells me he does this occasionally with other work colleagues too.

OK so generally it would be crazy to say that our guys can’t have female friends, plus there is some sense about talking to a guy about marital problems for their different perspective.  But there is a limit to it – so it’s about the quantity of the asking for help that starts to fall into problematic waters here.  

Lunch out – hmm I would say that as a one off that’s OK, but frequently it would be odd to go out with only ONE person for lunch regularly if they were of the opposite sex.

The biggest NO NO is that she is confiding in him and NOT her own husband.  Without meaning it your husband is therefore worsening the problems with the husband.  She should have been talking to her OWN husband.

My partner has said that he has best advised her on her marital problems as best he could but has learnt that he can only say so much and now says that they are past those issues and have more of a normal friendship now that doesn’t involve so much talking about her problems.  In the meantime though, they both text message each other regularly and have struck up a friendship separately from me because they go running together after work, where they go for a casual run and chat and then a further chat and drink after before he comes home to me.  A few weeks ago, I did meet this girl and her husband and we all went out for a meal together and since then have also been on another night out but my partner arranges to do ‘runs’ with her and then includes me or me and her husband for the rest of the evening to do something all together.

Running I get, but going for a drink with a woman – again is something I wouldn’t be comfortable with.  If he wants to go for a drink with her, I would wonder wether it would be an idea for you to ‘pop down’ to meet them.  Show her that you are aware that he is of value – just a very gentle ‘female territory marking’ situation.

I like the fact that you have all been out as a foursome though – but that isn’t any kind of ‘protection’ from trouble.

Re the text messages, if it is every day, and first thing in the morning or evening, then it definitely isn’t quite right.

I just wanted to obtain some advice on whether I should be worried or not about this relationship that has formed between this co-worker or not, because initially I felt this woman was vulnerable because of her marital problems and the fact she has confided in my partner.  He was also trying to make her feel better by the way he spoke to her in text messages and I felt it should be her husband talking to her like that and not my partner.  I have told my partner that I feel uneasy by some of the words he was using and he has said he will be more careful about that.  I did read up about emotional cheating also though and did feel and wonder if that was what she was doing by befriending my partner in this way.  To give you some ages, I am 42 years old, my partner is 48 and the married co-worker is 29.

Hmmm that’s a big age gap. 

I have felt like the text messaging has become way too invasive, she and him would text every couple of days and felt like he was always checking his phone for messages.  He would tell me this is how you maintain friendships though and she was just a texty type friend.  I have since asked him to share what the messages contain so I do read them now and although they are just chit chatty messages a lot of the time I don’t fully understand why she has to text him quite so much and often late in to the evenings, in the mornings and have found it annoying when I’m out with my partner for a meal and he is there texting back to her all the time.

OH NO PUT YOUR FOOT DOWN HERE!  I don’t care who is texting him, he doesn’t reply when he is out for a meal with you! 

When I confront him about this, he says it is not harming our relationship though and she is simply a friend.  In my head I have been worried that by letting him have one on one time alone with her though, that this could develop into something more.  I used to see him come back from doing his runs with her and he seemed to be on some sort of emotional high, he would then text her and says what a great time he had enjoyed with her.  I felt hurt when he said this, even though he says she is just a friend.  When I ask him about the risks of having such a close personal female friend, he says that he is in control of his feelings though and knows what he wants (that he would never ‘go there with anybody else because he is happy and secure with me’,) and that although he thinks she is an attractive woman, he would never let anything happen and says he doesn’t get any vibes off her whatsoever that she has any romantic interest in him either.  He is therefore telling me that I should have faith and trust in him and that it wouldn’t be fair of me not to let him have a female friend because of what happens to a lot of other people who do become romantically involved through similar friendships.  I have said to him I would be fine to go out in group situations, but that I don’t like it when they arrange to perhaps have lunch together at her house and I still don’t really like the fact that she asks him to go for these runs with her and he seems to have all these happy fun times with her.

The whole ‘you should trust me thing’ – that’s messing with your head, so suggest he doesn’t say that one again.  Tell him instead that it just means that you are not taking him for granted, and that it is healthy for you to be aware of the fact that he is an attractive man.

Lunch at her HOUSE – no no no!

He is not understanding the female rules of territory – this woman is crossing them big time!  Explain to him that she is dodgy – no woman would think that it was OK to do this.

Am I being unreasonable and paranoid for no good reason.  My partner is a good man and I do trust him, but I still feel uneasy about this for reasons I can’t explain, my partner just thinks I’m being jealous of their friendship!!

That’s fine – a bit of jealousy is wise.  Just own up to it and don’t try to pretend that you are not.

Thanks for any help…

Other info as requested on your site about me:-

I am 42, reasonably fit, gym 2 or 3 times a week, my partner is fit too although losing lots of weight through his gym work and running…

I don’t work but my partner works full time, we don’t have any kids, just our house-bunnies!!

This concerns me a little, as it leaves you very reliant on him.

Have been in relationship for 25 years, sex life has been difficult as I’ve had some issues and got an awful condition called ‘vulvodynia’ a few years ago which has been a battle to get over, I believe I am doing well at the moment but not completely cured yet.

Ahh I can understand you being a little insecure due to this.  I would concentrate on yourself and getting healthier.

We are  ok financially, neither of us excessively drink, we do drink lots of water, sleeping patterns usually fine and both healthy except for the above condition for myself and my partner has medical condition called ‘Colitis’.

He needs to be careful with the weight loss and the Colitis – that’s a tricky illness.

Email 2

Firstly, my partner is still very much friends with this female co-worker, but last week he told me she confided in him again and told him she had been having an affair quite recently.  Apparently, she had been talking about the male in question previously and kind of sub-consciously told my partner that this is what she had done but without saying the actual words.  She went and told him he was absolutely correct in his thinking and that she had in fact had this affair with another man (who is married also and with kids).

SEE!!! Sorry I didn’t reply before your second email – SERIOUSLY – she is a VERY Selfish woman if she has messed around with a married man with kids.  I think that she is a bit of a victim.

I was horrified to hear this and told him what I think about her, ie, that people like this are out to potentially destroy other peoples marriages and although he agrees how awful it is, he seems to be able to put all this negative aspects of her aside and still says he likes her and wants to be her friend.

Fair enough, but hope he now sees that there are reasons for you to not trust HER and that there should be clearer boundaries on where and when they meet.

She actually came round to our house last week also as my partner still does ‘weekly’ running sessions with her (one-on-one time) and in the morning on the day she was coming round, I discovered a note my partner had put in our bathroom cupboard for her.  The note read ‘ How well do I know Thee’….  I felt my blood boiling up and the note annoyed me so much to think he had put this in a cupboard in our bathroom for her to find.  He knew she would be using our shower later after they had done their run.  I rang him up at work to explain the note and he said it was a jokey note to make her laugh as she had previously said how she apparently goes nosing round other peoples cupboards, so, the thought it would be funny.  I felt so mad with my partner, not only for writing what he did but for then also saying he wanted to make her laugh or whatever as it’s like he wants to have this private joke thing going on.

The note is funny, it’s the use of the word ‘Thee’ that is worrying.  I do think that he is overly fond of her.

He is on a work course this week and parks his car at her house and walks to the course with her in the morning, he said yesterday she confided in him again and wanted to talk about her problems.  I have a big problem with this as it just sounds like she is pouring her emotions into him all the time.  A while ago, my partner said that bit was over and they were more just friends again, but this is clearly not the case because of what she has just told him and how she keeps confiding in him.

Hmm she is relying on him a lot – where are her female friends?  Why doesn’t she have any?

On top of all this, she invited him to stay over at her house this Thursday as both her and my partner are attending a Works Christmas Party and they are getting taxi back from the place to hers.  Her husband is apparently there too, but I also hate the idea of them both having fun, drinking etc and then going back in a taxi to her place as I do not trust her and not sure I even like her that much as a person now anyway… She also gets repeatedly drunk and told my partner she was hungover this weekend also after attending a party on Saturday night.

Alcohol is a real problem.  I know of people who managed to be unfaithful in the same house as their partners.  He needs to come home honey. 

I’m not sure I see her situation improving as my partner tells me she is still in contact with this married man she had an affair with (although she thinks he won’t leave his marriage and kids) and she’s not happy with her husband and apparently threatened to leave him at the start of this year.

To be honest, I’m not sure there is much to like about her and I don’t like her hanging around with my partner, but he still declares he likes her and because of their shared running bond still wants to continue their friendship.  He says he is being even more guarded with her because of what happened but I just feel uneasy about it all.

 

OK so to summarise …

Tell him that she is really crossing lines that women know not to cross.  It is very worrying that she doesn’t have girl friends to rely on, and she has shown herself as lacking a value on marriage.

So if he wants to remain friends with her fair enough.  But he needs to make it MUCH clearer that there is no chance of the friendship changing by being clearer in his ACTIONS.  So no meetings for lunch alone or drinks – that is unsuitable.  Reduce the texting and make sure that it isn’t interrupting your conversations.

What could you two do in the evenings that might curtail his time with her?  It sounds like he wants to be needed and looked up to.  How could you fulfil that need in him?  Could you guys do more together?  What exercise could you enjoy together?  

Also, I wonder wether you are sitting at home for him a bit too much?  What do you do for your fulfilment?  I would like you to concentrate on you a bit more – show him how valuable you are, and that he wants to come home to YOU.  Be a bit less available for him honey – he is taking you for granted a bit.

Also stand up for yourself a bit more.  It’s OK for him to say that he feels a bit unhappy about you questioning him.  But he is not allowed to make you question how you feel – that is a no no – he is making you question your sanity and that is NOT allowed.  In fact he owes you a bit of an apology now that she has shown herself to be untrustworthy.

I really hope that this helps?

Please can you update us in a little while to tell us how you are doing?

 

 

Is it possible to have romance and kids?

Is it the Mum’s responsibility to keep the romance alive?

Is it possible to have romance and kids?I was asked to pop onto the breakfast show for Heart Wiltshire the other week by the lovely Molly (check out what I said here on her blog)

She guessed I might have strong feelings about husbands complaining that they don’t get any attention any more and that the romance has gone out of their marriage!

And I do!

It’s not that I don’t think that Dads are as important as kids.

It’s not that I don’t think that they deserve to feel loved and get attention and sex.

But I can’t bear all the theories about how the wife should make an effort to make sure he doesn’t feel left out, poor thing.  Seriously!!

In the majority of homes the Mum will be juggling a pile of stuff, and has very little left to worry about romance.  It’s not that she doesn’t want it, it’s just that she’s concentrating on what has to be done, and that is taking up all her time, energy and brain space.

The Dad is a grown up, he can look after himself, manage his emotions and do a pile of stuff the kids can’t (or he should be able to, and can certainly learn to).

And there is NOTHING MORE OFF PUTTING than a bloke adding to the pressure of being a Mum, by whining about not getting any attention or romance.

 

You are probably quite right that your wife has put the kids first.  It’s called nature; our hormones give us little choice, and even if they did, practically speaking the kids need us and you are a grown up.

The question is can you man up to the task?

 

1) Make the effort to add a bit of romance in yourself.

Can you take over dinner time, tidy the kitchen and put the kids in the bath while giving your wife an hour to relax once in a while?  Put a film on that she’ll enjoy, make some pop corn, get a bottle of wine out and cuddle up to her on the sofa.

Talk to your parents or get a baby sitter and find somewhere that she would like to go.  If the kids are too young for you to go out at night, go out for coffee or a romantic picnic.

DON’T add extra pressure by pushing her to leave the kids for longer than she wants to.  It’s meant to be fun for her remember!

 

2) Find the romance that is there and make the most of it.

Philosophically speaking nothing goes away totally, it just changes.  You just aren’t looking for the romance in the right places.

Romance is about warmth, closeness, intimacy and fun.  Try to ignore the kids and they’ll kick off.  But create family romance by including them and you can still have it.  Picnics, walks in a forest, sand castles on the beach, family film time; all of those have that lovely romantic feeling to them.

Don’t ignore the kids wanting to give you hugs when you leave or at bedtime.  Have fun with it.  Have family hugs, instead of 1to1 hugs with your wife.

Bear in mind, if the kids are her number one priority, then the way to get up to number 1.5 is to go with it, rather than against it!  (Hint: this is how you get more sex with your wife).

 

3) Be Patient

Remember that this will pass, the kids will get older and she’ll have a chance to breathe, and come back to you.  Make sure you’re worth coming back to!

Don’t fall for that ‘My wife doesn’t understand me’ way of thinking and find some other woman to have an affair with; she’s just looking at you as someone who has already proved they can commit, and will do exactly the same thing to you eventually.

Get an interest that you can be passionate about during the few years the kids are little.

Get interested in the kids!

 

What do you reckon?  Am I too harsh?

Have you managed to keep the romance alive despite the kids?  Does your other half complain?  Did you come out the other side and manage to rekindle the love or did you find it was wrecked by the stress?

BTW I’ve written lots about sex and being parents, if you liked this post, you might want to read some more.

 

Agony Aunt for Mums

Problem Corner: 15 Signs a friendship could be inappropriate

This question was logged by one of my male readers (I know I’m the ‘mummy whisperer’, but as I’ve been talking about Sex a lot, I’ve gained quite a lot of male readers too), and I have to admit that at first I kind of thought ‘well isn’t it obvious?’.

Then I realised that firstly we aren’t all socially savvy and secondly even when we are, we can be naive as well, including us women who are meant to be much more capable of understanding these sorts of things.

Plus, women have rules of engagement that we understand, like lionesses marking our territories, however men probably don’t notice these subtleties at all.

The question I got was:

‘I keep having friendships with women that seem to cross some kind of invisible line that my wife can see, but I don’t see.  I really don’t want to be upsetting her, but I’m not as capable of seeing what is obvious to her.  Do you have any tips for recognising when a friendship is just that and when in female terms it goes too far?’

So reading between the lines a bit, I suspect that hubby is a flirt, and wifey knows that he is too naive about the intentions of the women he is encountering, as one of the key attractors to a women is not being single but being with someone else.  Athol Kay describes it as ‘pre-selection’; i.e. that the fact that someone else has already vetted them and thinks them Ok relationship material.

Now don’t shout at me ‘but what about sisterhood’ or ‘but they shouldn’t’; I deal in realities and the reality is that pre-selection exists and women can be very determined to get what they want.  Other people will shout at me ‘but you should be able to trust your man’; again I point you to reality and the fact that trust can very easily turn into taking for granted;

So here is my answer, feel free to add any more tips you might have from your own experiences.  On their own, none of them are obvious signs, but they are all potential markers of a friendship that could change in nature and if many of the points are true, then it’s much more worrisome …

 

1) If it was the other way around:  

The first big rule is what would you think if your partner was having the same friendship with someone else?  So if the shoe was on the other foot.  This is one of the best measuring methods of whether the friendship is inappropriate.

2) Opposite sex:  

I’m not saying don’t have friends with the opposite sex, but this is a good clue to their being a potential problem ;o)

3) Many years age difference:  

Having a close relationship with a girl many years younger, or a guy who is much older (and of course it can go vice versa in this new world of the Couga!) is definitely a bit of a red flag, as it goes against normal social

4) Time of the messages:

Text/facebook (or whatever social media you use) messages first or last thing at night are a big red flag, because they show that you/they are the first or last thing on each others minds.

5) Frequency of the messages:

If you/they are in touch a great deal more than with other people, then it shows that the friendship has greater significance.  For example, if you are in touch with them more than your own partner, then that’s definitely not a good sign.

6) Degree of innuendo:

It’s often considered quite normal for their to be innuendo within the office or social situations, and peer pressure can mean that people ignore what may be crossing the line, so I refer you back to the ‘shoe on the other foot’ rule!

7) Discussing partners:

You might think that this means that the friendship is safe, because you are clearly pointing out the fact that you are taken.  But in fact it is a sign of pre-selection.  If they don’t know your partner and you haven’t or wouldn’t introduce them, then you need to think twice about the friendship.  Plus, if you are discussing things about your relationship with this friend and not your partner, then it is definitely going in the wrong direction.

8) Slagging off partners:

This is a big no no.  If you are talking to someone of the opposite sex, they might be sympathetic to you because you are friends, but they should also be giving you an insight into the mind of your partner.  If they are slagging off your partner, then this friendship is definitely detrimental to your relationship.

9) You/They are not happy in your relationship:

If there are already problems in yours/their relationships already, then be really careful.  This friendship could be really helpful and give you insight into the other side of the story, or it could be with someone who will eventually take advantage of the problems.

10) Excitement about talking to them:

Now we get to the more obvious signs, which are when you miss talking to someone or look forward to talking to them.  This should be highlighting the question as to why you are’t sharing this with your own partner.

11) Arranging to meet in a different scenario:

A friendship normally starts in a particular social setting, e.g. with friends or at work.  So it’s a sign that there is a change in the air if you arrange to meet elsewhere for example coffee outside of work or lunch without your partners.

12) Fancying them:

If you ‘would do them’ as a male mate of mine used to say, then I can pretty much be sure that your partner won’t approve of the friendship.

13) They have a history of affairs:

If this person has a history of having affairs with other people, then a big red flag is waving at you!

14) You already have a history with them:

If they are an ex, then they could easily become a ‘present’!

15) You are tempted to keep it secret:

If you are tending to keep the conversations and meetings secret for some reason, then you know that internally you think your partner wouldn’t be happy, at which point I direct you back to point 1!

 

I’m all for having friendships of both sexes, because it helps to give us insights into the opposite sex, and because they will give us such a different viewpoint and approach to life.  The key is to make sure that the boundaries are kept in place and that you aren’t naive; you know the saying ‘never say never’.

Of course, it is only inappropriate if you or they are in a relationship, if not, then heh ho!

If you are worried a friendship that you have could be crossing the line, or you are worried about your partner’s friendships, feel free to get in touch or pop a comment below (it can always be anonymous).

If you liked this Problem Corner, then you would definitely be interested in one two years later, where a wife was concerned about the friendship between her husband and a co-worker.

 

 

Never Say Never – Just In Case

So last night twitterville took off whilst watching Cutting Edge’s program on 8yr old girls going to boarding school.  Now I admit that I’m way too hormonal (No2 is more than imminent, she’s literally seconds away!), so I only managed 5 minutes and had to turn off.  But I chatted to a couple of Mums and thought it through a little afterwards, and regained a more balanced perspective, because there are Pro’s and Con’s to all options.

For one thing ‘Never say never‘;  It does tend to come back to haunt you!

I remember saying that I thought it was pointless to pay for Primary School education, when there was perfectly good state education available, and that I would ‘never’ pay for a 4yr old to go to school!  Ahem – oops!  So what am I about to do, oh yes, you know it, I’m totally about to send my 4-5yr old to a private primary.  Now thats a whole other story, as the the whys and wherefores, which I’m not getting into now.  However, it’s a good example of this very old and wise saying.  Whilst searching through all the local private schools, many of which are part boarding, one headmaster waxed lyrical about their very flexible boarding system.  He looked at all our rather naive and horrified faces, and rather wisely said ‘I know at this moment it is the furthest thing from your mind, however, in another 4yrs time that very well might change!’.  Then in the process of chatting to a mum on twitter last night, I remember actually requesting to become a boarder as a child.  Now I was older than eight, so it would obviously have been less difficult for me.  But still, looking back I can see that if my parents had gone ahead with it, I would have been gained a more stable environment, with much less heavy responsibility.  I wouldn’t change my childhood now for all the tea in china, but I can see how a ‘strong’ parent would make a difficult decision and sacrifice what they might prefer for the sake of a child’s stability and education.  It gave me an interesting and different perspective; after all, we all do things that make our children cry, because we know we have to in order to protect them from something else.  There are those of us who refuse to ever hurt or challenge our children, but does that work?  Nope, it creates spoilt, over-protected monsters, who are dependant and incapable of coping on their own.  So I go back to my rather repetitive advice of balancing support and challenge to your child.  If you find that you do end up boarding your child, then rather than panic with guilt, instead look for proactive ways of ensuring that you are creating a balance elsewhere.

These last couple of weeks have been full of husbands in the media having affairs as well, it’s been quite bizarre how many have been found out: From Tiger Woods, to John Terry, to most shockingly Vernon Kay (sorry mate, skype and texts do count), and potentially Ewan Mcgregor.  Of course, loads of husbands have been saying ‘I would never do that’.  But I warn them to think again (plus read all my blogs about affairs), because if you are naive about the potential for temptation and the predatory nature of some ‘other women’, then you are not going to be prepared for trouble.  There is no doubt that this is what happened to Vernon, who probably trusted himself as much as Tess did, and then when he got into trouble, it just spiralled out of control, partially I suspect because he couldn’t work out how come he had ended up there.

I remember warning one wife, that if she didn’t get her head around her husbands infidelities totally, then within a couple of years, she would find out how come it happens.  Have you ever noticed that?  You find yourself thinking ‘I would never do that, how on earth did they get themselves into such a situation’, to find yourself there within a few short blinks of an eye.  It can be anything from affairs, to drinking/eating unhealthily, to making ridiculous business/financial decisions, to picking the wrong relationships.

This is because of a very ironic rule of life that I was taught by my mentor, which is short and not very poetic, but the ramifications are huge when you really think about it: ‘Whatever you condemn, you breed, attract or become‘.  What it means is that judge someone or something, and you will either end up doing exactly the same thing yourself, or a close person in your life will do it, or your children will.  It’s as though life is trying to teach us the other side of the story, and because we weren’t open to learn about it ourselves, it provides us with the opportunity of experience instead. I’m not even suggesting that this is a ‘punishment’ or ‘karma’ gig; just that it is purely about seeing both sides of the story and gaining more understanding for life.

The other thing about ‘never say never’, is that however shocking it seems, we all have our price.  The price might be massive, and often not financial, but instead an alternative type of price that matches our value systems (our values are what we really love about life); but there will be a price.  Here’s me pregnant with No2, talking about not being available for work for a long time after she is born, and thinking about ways of making sure that she gets as much time with me as No1 did.  But then the phone rings, and someone offers me something that would absolutely catapult my blog, my book, my business, my mission, everything, and so yes, I am totally considering it and looking for ways to achieve it and balance out the potential ramifications.

If there is no price that can push us, there can be pressures.  Many people are terribly shocked the first time that someone who is close to them succumbs to depression, or a break down, or any kind of mental illness.  They wonder how on earth someone could let things get so bad that they would prefer to commit suicide (often considered a ‘selfish’ act).  But I can totally understand how suddenly it can feel as though your life has fallen apart, and your head becomes so full of noise that you can’t think straight.  I can’t imagine how parents can go one step further, either from anger or desperation, to take the lives of their children, but I suspect that it is similar, just magnified.  So next time you hear of someone struggling with mental illness, remember that the official statistics are that 1 in 4 of us will experience some kind of mental illness during our lives.  So rather than judge, you might want to think ‘there but for the grace of God go I’.

So remember, be careful when you find yourself say ‘I’d never do that’, because it might just come back to bite you in the butt!

Swap Guilt/Pain From Affairs For A Bright Future

Blimey, what’s going on with the celebrities this month, we have Tiger Woods and his addictions, John Terry and the girls desperate to become WAGs, and now Vernon Kay with his daft texts.  I feel for anyone who discovers that their partner has been unfaithful in any manner, but I particularly feel for these women, as the whole drama will get played out infront of the media.  It must be much harder in some ways, because they also have to face the most massive public humiliation.  The only upside is that so many of their compatriots will be able to help out, whereas in a more ‘normal’ life these things are often kept secret.  So as BabyNo2 is still preferring the warmth of my tummy, rather than the snow outside, I’ve written this blog, for those women who find it when they are in pain, to show them that there is a chance of a pain free future.

Lets play the ‘Society Says’ game …

  • Society says that affairs are wrong.
  • Society says that the ‘adulterer’ should feel guilty.
  • Society says and the poor ‘victim’ left behind will feel devastated.
  • Society says that ‘other person’ was a predatory horrible person.
  • Society says that if you stay together the relationship will never be the same again.
  • Society says that if you don’t, all your future relationships will be tainted by the pain of the past.
  • Society says that the guilt and bad start means that if the affair continues, it will eventually dissolve disastrously.

Are you planning on playing a life like the game ‘Simon says’ from our childhood?  Do you know how much conditioning of how we are meant to feel affects us?  Hows about ignoring what everyone else says, and instead look for the potential that could come out from the events of your past?  Someone once told me ‘Out of great destruction, comes great creation‘, maybe that would be a more useful mantra?

Now don’t get me wrong; I am not belittling the pain of feeling like your life is falling apart, or the shock of discovering that your partner is not who you thought they were.  There is the feeling of being a total fool, either because you didn’t guess, or because you did, but were willing to be persuaded you were wrong.  There are so many painful thoughts that go through the heads of the people involved, that I couldn’t possibly do them justice here.  However, I don’t need to, because the market is jam packed with books and material about ‘victims’, ‘surviving affairs’, and pain, pain, pain, pain.

My plan is add to the less frequent voice of people suggesting that there can be opportunity, miracle, transformation and an extremely bright future once the storm has passed.  The reason that I go for this camp, is because what I care about is that everyone involved in the affair is able to have a life full of potential, where they can see the opportunities ahead of them.  There are the couples who could remain together, and go on to have a relationship which is stronger and more fabulous than before.  There are the couples who could split up and go on to have the most incredibly relationship of their lives.  There is the opportunity to mentor to our kids that they will survive even the toughest of challenges, so that there is no need to fear pain in the future.  There is the shift in the people involved reminding them of their potential to create outside of the relationship as well.  All of these opportunities will be stifled by fear and guilt.

I’m suggesting that this is possible, not just because it sounds like a ‘nice’ idea, but having had 10yrs of training, loads of clients, and my own experiences.  Some people are able to achieve this all on their own, which is a truly brave and courageous feat.  However, because of the heavy pressure of ‘society says’, many will need some assistance, and it might take some time.  But, that time will be little in comparison to the amount of potential years ahead, so I thoroughly encourage you to be open to the fact that maybe it won’t do us any good to berate the ‘guilty’ or sympathise with the ‘victim’.  I’ve used those terms in my previous posts I admit, so that I could win over your trust and hope that you would continue to listen to me when I got a little more controversial.

Now how I help people through this process is a little complicated to discuss in a post, but I’m going to give you a little insight into some of the steps involved.

  1. It’s important to be sure about why we feel guilty or are upset.  People assume that everyone who experiences the same problem feel the same, but actually we don’t.  If we dig deeper, we’ll find out that we have a very specific description of how we feel about it.  (This is not about the story, but about the character traits or description of the actions of the parties involved).
  2. The other thing that blanks us is to imagine that we ‘would never’ or ‘have never’ done the same thing and that the ‘guilty’ party is totally guilty.  What helps is to see that no one is ‘totally’ a particular characteristic in every area of life, and neither are we quite as perfect and untainted as we might imagine!  Some people call this ‘reflection’; it is the theory that the reason one thing upsets person A, but not person B is because person A is reminded of themselves and by something they have done somewhere in their life.
  3. The next most vital steps in the process are looking for those ‘opportunities’ that I mentioned before.  These are the ‘silver linings’ behind the clouds, and the reasons why we didn’t just gain from the experience, but when we look at reality, we actually don’t want to change the way it worked out.  (Now, don’t throw things at me and say ‘how could you say that’; just imagine how it could feel if I proved it to you!).

Now, I don’t really think that you need loads more complicated detail about the steps involved, but if you would really like to know a load more about the methods I use, then there is much more in depth information on my ‘Dance of Life‘ website and blogs, which are all purely focussed on the Demartini Method.  I can also recommend a book called ‘The Heart of Love’ by Dr John F Demartini.  I also recommend that you read the rest of my blogs under the category of affairs; there will be more to come too!

For the rest of you, I hope that I have opened you up your eyes to the potential of hope and an extremely bright future. You don’t have to fear it happening to you, because if you believe I might be talking sense, you know you will be OK.   For those who have experienced an affair; It’s Ok to be a miserable mess or still held back from either guilt or pain, but if at some point you would like to have a future free of the past, I’m here to tell you that it is possible.

What's The Motivation Behind The 'Other Woman/Man'?

So why do people go for someone who is already ‘taken’ when there are so many single people available?

Well, I’m going to explain some of the most obvious reasons, but basically the motivation for anyone’s behaviour is their value set (the hierarchy of what they love to get from life and do in life).  So the ‘unfaithful’ person will get involved because it appears that the new person matches their values more than the old one, and the ‘other person’ will get involved because it basically works for them.  If you would like to know more about working out your own value set, or that of the people around you, I give a free introductory ebook and audio when people join my email list for my newsletter.

The problem is that society puts such a lot of charge onto affairs, that people look for HUGE reasons why they happen, and often there is no obvious answer or problem to explain it, so it can be confusing (see my other blogs). Also, people are so sure that it is ‘bad’ to be the ‘other woman/man’, that they don’t look deeply into how come often very ‘nice’ people can get themselves into a difficult situation.  Mind you, there are also the less ‘nice’ reasons for it too ;o)

Infatuation: What Is It?

The reason why ‘nice’ people get all twiddled up in an affair is purely because they become so infatuated that they are totally controlled by their passion.  Ironically, I could ‘cure’ them of this within a few hours given a chance, because all I need to do is take off their rose tinted glasses (and I have the cruel tools to be able to do so!).  They will only see the fabulous things about this new person in their life, and will completely ignore the things that the partner sees; like snoring, farting, looking rubbish in the morning, being grumpy, being lazy, or being high maintenance (the list is endless, because we all have less attractive sides to us!).  Then they will be totally convinced that this person is bringing something to their life that they have either never experienced elsewhere or could never experience elsewhere.  So it is just a matter of showing them that they already have everything that they think they are missing, they are just not appreciating where it is.  I bet the partner would love to be sexy too, given the chance, or spend loads of time at the gym and become gorgeous.  Given a bit of caring attention, the current partner would probably be up for being less grumpy and more fun to live with as well (or whatever the complaint is about something being missing)!  Plus, there is always a hidden cost to the infatuation.  For some it is the loss of pension or half their savings.  For others it would be the loss of regular contact with their children, or losing friends or the disappointment of relatives.  It’s always there!

Addiction

With Tiger Woods in the media at the moment, the subject of ‘addiction’ also comes up.  Now this is a more complicated subject that I will blog about at another point.  But it’s like the most extreme infatuation that you can imagine to either the romance of new relationships, or the lust of sexual desire.  It is totally fixable, but it would take more than a couple of hours, and would be more in depth than what I described for the general infatuation cycle.

Being Invincible

There are a few people (either the partner or the other person), who just generally believe that they will get away with anything, can charm anyone, and either won’t get caught or will always be able to get out of a situation or problem.  It’s a type of narcicism/big ego syndrome, which many famous people probably suffer from (aka a few footballers), plus a few of those people often termed ‘lovable rogues’ or ‘charming’.  If this is the problem that the unfaithful partner faces, then without help, they are unlikely to change their behaviour, and they are unlikely to ask for help, because they don’t see what is wrong with what they are doing.  Unfortunately, they need to learn from their mistakes by paying a big price, i.e. seeing one of their values hit big time.

The people who therefore have affairs with these types, are probably either easily led or easily charmed.  When in a good mood, a narcisist will make you feel a hundred dollars.  Just remember, that if they can do that, they can also do the opposite and make you feel like you are bankrupt!

They Have Already Proved They Can Commit

If the ‘other woman or man’ would like to be in a relationship, they can be pretty sure that it is also in the values of the person that they have the affair with, as they have already proved their ability to be in a relationship!  (The logic of wanting a relationship with someone who has the ability to be unfaithful as well, doesn’t tend to figure!).  Society gets very shocked when a woman gets involved with a married man with children.  However, he has already proved that he would like to commit, and procreate, so he is a good bet, especially if it is possible he could afford the maintenance and a new wife!  These people will be able to ‘sniff’ out someone who likes being in a relationship, but is currently dissatisfied with their partner, and offer themselves as a much more attractive option.

I’ve noticed similar behaviour in my coaching/therapy business!  I often assist my mentor at large events that have a couple of hundred people attending, including my own clients.  What is interesting is that sometimes I have noticed my compatriots shamelessly targeting my clients, rather than ‘fresh blood’.  It might seem unprofessional, however, you can see the logic to it, because they have already proved that they are willing to spend money to change their lives, so they are a good bet!

Outright Ambition

The previous option of finding someone who has already shown they can commit, can become a conscious and very ambitious, purposeful strategy.  These people are competitive, will have a strategy, and will make it very difficult for the committed person to resist them.  They don’t just target footballers and golfers either!  Basically, they will target anyone who could give them the lifestyle they are after, plus still afford to pay off the first partner.  In a previous post I suggested that sometimes we need to watch over our partners and almost ‘protect’ them from impossible temptations.  Lets put it another way;  If it is possible that you could be competing with people like this, then make sure you are not holding yourself back, because they will make sure that your partner knows they will do anything to get them, so are you showing that you are willing to do anything to keep them?  (I’m not suggesting you do anything that would belittle yourself, or that you don’t want to do.  But there is always a compromise, you just need to really know them well and what their values are, so that you can tick enough boxes!).

I know that you will think that this is outrageous behaviour on their part, but think about it this way; Hundreds of years ago, these people would have made fabulous adventurers, providers, hunters and protectors.  I suppose that they are frustrated predators.

Not Looking For Something Serious

Then of course there are people whose values mean that they would currently prefer to not be in a relationship that is heavy or heading towards marriage.  If someone is already in a relationship, then they make the perfect option.  It’s all about fun, and none of the boring suburban stuff.  They are obviously very attractive to the person in the relationship, because they appear to be offering ‘no strings’, and appear strong because they are not ‘needy’!  These people are unlikely to want to get found out or caught, unless they also have a high value on danger.  Sometimes, it might be because they are just trying on the concept of a long term relationship for size, so this is their half-way house enroute to finding their own partner.

Sometimes the unfaithful partner gets attracted into relationships like this because they can’t manage to see their partner as both a sexual being and a long term partner.  There are some cultures around the world, where it is deemed perfectly reasonable for a husband to have a wife and a mistress, as long as they behave respectfully.  It would be possible in this situation to help both parties to get over any ‘issues’ they have and combine the roles together.

A Word of Warning/Comfort

If your relationship fell apart due to an affair, be assured that ‘what comes around, goes around’, which is how come so few relationships survive when they start off with unfaithfulness.  Even if it doesn’t hit their relationship, it will hit them somewhere important in their lives.

If you were party to splitting up a relationship, then you might want to consider getting some assistance to work through the guilt of it, and the fear of it happening to you.  Because it is that guilt or fear that will attract the same situation back into your life.  This is not due to a judgmental ‘karma’, it is just so that you get to understand what it feels like on both sides of the story.

Are There Ways To Tell If They Will Be Unfaithful Again?

So the media will be keeping a beady eye on Tiger Woods and John Terry from now on, but if you don’t have that option, then what guarantees do you have that your partner will not be unfaithful again?

Sorry – How Much Does That Mean?

There is no doubt that the ‘injured’ party will need to hear the word ‘sorry’ from their partner, along with huge piles of remorse and possibly some explanations.  Some people find going to counselling is helpful, because it gives an opportunity to get all the anger out in a ‘safe’ scenario, with a mediator.  I must admit this is not my favourite method of dealing with problems, but for some people it would definitely be a good starting point.  (At some stage though, it is likely to be necessary to go for something more practical or involved, like relationship coaching, or the methods that I am trained in: The Demartini Method).

However, ‘Sorry’ doesn’t mean ‘I won’t do it again’.  Being willing to say it, and to listen to the hurt of their partner, definitely is a step in the right direction.  But it mainly means ‘I’m making an initial effort’ or ‘Sorry I got caught’ or ‘I’m feeling really guilty’.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

It’s great if your unfaithful partner is saying all the right things, but more important that they are backing it up with actions.  For instance, being willing to listen to your hurts (not for 20yrs, but for a reasonable while).  Potentially cutting off all contact with the ‘other person’.  Maybe even going as far as changing mobile numbers, and blocking people from their email accounts.  They might need to invest time in some relationship coaching or counselling, to show how important a change is to them.

Be warned, that many people would love to be totally faithful, and definitely mean it when they say that they will be.  BUT, they may not know themselves very well, or have realistic expectations of themselves.  So they are not purposely misleading you, they are just falling foul of romantic conceptions of what they are capable of.  Hence, the importance of them managing to show with their actions, over a prolonged period of time, that there is a change in their psyche.  (Mind you there are some people who are very manipulative and will be purposely misleading you, but I’m assuming that you’ll know if you have one of those!).

Collapse of Infatuation

Many of us have never been taught how to tackle the ‘grass is greener’ temptation, or how to reduce an infatuation (I will blog about this when I get a chance) and give it a breath of reality.  Hence, we actually have to experience the infatuation, and then get threatened with the loss of what we weren’t appreciating, in order to regain our perspective.  you might think that this is very ‘stupid’, however, it is the way that many of us work.

So, are there obvious signs that your partner’s infatuation with being with someone else has been well and truly broken?  Can you now see that they had problems with taking responsibility for their lives and the bits that they didn’t like about it?  This often translates to thinking that it is the partner’s fault that they are in a job that they don’t like, or having to do boring jobs around the house.  Basically, they will blame everyone else and feel victimised for their ‘tough’ lives!  So have they gotten over it?  Do they now appreciate their lives more, and realise that no one else is making them do anything?

A Willingness To Wait For Trust To Be Rebuilt

The person who was unfaithful needs to have a reality check about how long it will take for their partner to rebuild their trust levels, plus the price that they will probably have to pay.  There will be instances when their partner will become insecure and need additional support.  Plus there maybe times when the infidelity will be thrown into their faces in arguments.  I recommend that their partner attempts to get assistance to work through their issues, so that this doesn’t go on for the rest of their lives, however it would be unreasonable to expect it to never happen.

However, there is another side to the story of trust.  We may trust our partners implicitly, but many of us have no idea of the amount of temptation out there, because it might just not be in our value or belief systems to consider getting involved in a relationship with someone else’s partner.  You don’t have to be Tiger Woods or John Terry to be attractive to another woman.  I’m going to write another blog as soon as I get a chance on the different reasons why the ‘other woman’ gets involved, but in the meantime, here is a little reality check; trusting your partner is fine and it avoids suffocating them.  However there is a fine line between ‘trusting’ and ‘taking for granted’.  Plus there is a fine line between reasonable and unreasonable expectations.  For example, put me in a room of chocolate for a day and you won’t be able to trust me not to eat some.  I’d probably be able to last 30 minutes, but not much longer!  I’m one of those people who need serious closeness with someone before I can get jiggy, so I’d be very trustworthy on a night out alone.  However, goodness knows what I would do if Hugh Jackman told me I was sexy and started stalking me!  Maybe it’s just a typical Leo’s reaction to protecting her family, but I wouldn’t be putting my husband into temptations way purposely.

How Long Can You Wait?

There is also another perspective.  How long can you wait, until they become trustworthy, and what kind of trustworthy are you looking for?  Have you got to know them so well, that you know that in their current job or at their current age, they are very unlikely to be able to resist temptation?  However, you know that you can trust them to love you, and wish to remain with you forever?  If you can manage to separate out the two sides to your partner, and maintain your confidence levels, then possibly it is worth considering waiting.  A great example of this is Sharon Osbourne, who is obviously loved deeply by Ozzy, and he is now definitely faithful, but she did have to wait a while!  Potentially, depending on who you are, and what kind of life you would love to have, it might be worth playing the waiting game.  A controversial thought I know, but if you would love to stay and are sure that you can count on their commitment to you (if not sexual faithfulness), then don’t cut off your nose to spite your face just because society says you should.

Note: Affairs are obviously a controversial and painful subject and this is just a quick blog post.  I recommend that if you are interested, you take some time to read my other posts, and subscribe to this blog, so that you know when I have written more.

Why Do Affairs Hurt Some People More Than Others?

We all assume that affairs hurt everyone, in exactly the same way, but in fact they don’t and it is NOT because one person loved their partner more than the other person did.  I remember when I lived in Lincolnshire there was a sudden flurry of partner’s being discovered to be unfaithful, followed by divorces.  I watched as some of the wives were so heart broken that their lives fell apart, whereas others seemed to have an ability to quickly find a new rythmn for their life.

There are a couple of reasons why this is so, and therefore even if you find yourself in the extremely distressed camp, you can switch to the less painful camp.

1) A Balanced Mix Of Interests In Different Areas Of Life

You can split life into 7 areas:

  • Spiritual – having a sense of purpose, bigger reason to be, or religious views
  • Mental – continuing to learn new things however old you are
  • Vocational – job or clear role in life
  • Financial – understanding of our financial value, even if we are not bringing in money
  • Social – having a strong, wide, network of people in different groups/places
  • Familial – our family and relationships
  • Physical – health, taking care of ourselves, exercising, eating well

A person who focusses on just a one or two areas of life, like their family and their physical appearance, will be hit terribly hard by the discovery of what they see as ‘betrayal’ from their partner.  Whereas, someone who has lots of interests and a perception of a degree of ability of power in more areas, will be less harshly affected.  This is the difference from feeling like the rug has been pulled out from your whole life, and feeling as though there is still a strong future for yourself.

So if your rug has been pulled, then there is something that you can do; get out there and start doing something about the other areas of your life.  I promise you that you are a valuable and fabulous human being.  I know you don’t feel it right now, but the beginning step is to fake it until you make it.

2) Having A Strong Belief/Value That Gets Hit

If you have a strong romantic streak, and belief that there will be ‘one’ person for you, it will be tremendously hard to handle affairs.  It’s amazing how many people I’ve had to help because of the new ‘Twilight’ series of books.  I love them too, but there is a significant downside with the message of love for eternity and lack of focus on the downside on that kind of incredible infatuation.  Also, people who have a tremendously strong belief in the strength of vows for either religious or moral reasons, will be not only shocked, but also deeply mortified by their partner’s unfaithfulness.

Sadly a lack of reality check is one of the biggest causes of pain for people.  We focus on how life ‘should’ be, rather on how humans actually behave.  We ignore reality, and have unrealistic expectations for the people that we love, which means that they are bound to let us down.  For instance, put a toddler in a room full of chocolate, and there is no doubt that some will be able to resist because they have a stronger people pleasing and rule awareness.  But put my son in there and he will come out with a face covered in chocolate and a VERY long story about how his invisible friend forced him to eat the chocolate because otherwise the world would have blown up!

I totally get your love of fantasy or these beliefs, but they are causing you pain.  Let them go.  The real world, really isn’t that bad, at least you won’t get shocked or distressed by it.  (Check out my free ebook on Values, which you get if you sign up for my email newsletter).

3) Seeing the Silver Lining

The whole premise behind the methods that I’ve trained in for the past 10yrs is to empower people, not leave them as ‘victims’ of their past pain.  It’s fine to get to the point where you are just ‘over it’ or indifferent.  Some therapies can even get you to the point of ‘acceptance’ or ‘forgiveness’.  But I am ambitious!  I get people to the point where they are free of their past, and it doesn’t affect their future, apart from the fact that they would never want their past to be any different and they are totally grateful for it.  ‘How the hell do you do that’ you maybe asking?  Well, it’s not easy, obviously, but it is totally possible, and it is totally possible very quickly.  Jo Wood is a particularly good example of the first step, which is to look for the silver lining, which is always there.  She admits that she would never have left her husband Ronnie, but that her life has taken off incredibly since he left her.

So literally, it’s about looking at our lives and looking over a period of time for what we have gained, how we benefited, or how we have come out better for the experience.  By keeping stacking them up, over and over again, we will really start to appreciate our lives, get stronger, and have a future filled with potential.  When we are full of hurt and pain, we unfortunately ignore and miss the opportunities that life offers us.  Whereas when we can see that there is tonnes of stuff in our lives to be grateful for, we will be not be held back by our past, but will ready for the rest of our lives with vigour.

In Conclusion (for now!)

Affairs are a complicated subject obviously, so I’ll be blogging lots about them over a period of time.  I recommend you check out my other blogs under the category of relationships or with a tag of affair.

(Also, please note, that in most of the things that I blog about, I’m nearly always stressing how capable we are of sorting our own lives out.  But affairs are one of the things that are considered so socially unacceptable that it can be very difficult to cope alone, especially if the couple are attempting to remain together.  If you would like to know more about how I work, or people trained similarly to myself, then feel free to contact me directly, and check out my other blogs and websites).

Why Do Affairs Happen If You Aren't Bitchy or Frigid?

I was infuriated this morning by listening to some chappie on the TV saying, ‘well you never know what was going on at home, maybe it was a sexless marriage!’; PLLLLEASE!  That is such an urban myth, that affairs happen because the partner did something ‘wrong’.  I’m not saying that something was not going on in the relationship.  But because no one is taught what I’m about to explain to you, often the partner has no hope in hell of staving off the unfaithfulness of their partner.

Why do affairs happen if there is no bitchy wife or lack of sex?

Affairs are fascinating, as there really are reasons for them to occur, which explain what often appears to be totally illogical.  Take the recent captain of the english football team, with a beautiful wife and family; is he really so vacuous that he is incapable of refusing a woman who throws himself at him?  What about the famous golfer who appears to have slept with anything that walked, despite childhood distress when his Dad was unfaithful; why did he get himself into that situation?

The answer is a mixture of the points below, most of which you will never have heard of before (and I’ll keep blogging as well, to fill in the gaps and add extra information in the future, like why the ‘other woman’ gets involved, and can a relationship survive unfaithfulness).  p.s. I’ve used the words ‘victim’ and ‘culprit’ and ‘other woman’ just as convenient titles, but that is just for ease of identity, I don’t believe that it helps if you consider yourself to be the ‘wronged’ person, and I will continue to blog on ideas on how to pick yourself up afterwards, whichever role you played.

1) There is ‘baggage’ in both the ‘victim’s and ‘culprit’s emotional lives about unfaithfulness.

Either they have been unfaithful and it’s time for them to experience the opposite, or they are still upset about someone being unfaithful to them.  Often, I have found that the ‘baggage’ goes all the way back to the parents too and something that happened with them.  This is one of the key problems for the golfer, because he probably vowed he would never be like his Dad, but there is tremendous wisdom in the saying ‘Never say never’.  If we are unaware of the potential for being unfaithful, then we can easily get caught unawares.  Often, when we then discover with horror that we have done exactly that, the guilt paralyzes us, and we ironically keep doing it, because we just don’t understand how on earth we got there.

2) There is a change in the ‘victims’ empowerment levels.

It can either happen because they suddenly become disempowered or ironically because they become more empowered.  I bet this is particularly true of WAGS, because as they get more and more worried about their partner’s being unfaithful, they will become less and less sure of themselves.  If they are not sure of themselves, then they are not sure of their value, and their partner will subconsciously pick up on that.  When their partner picks up on the change they will either match it (by becoming more or less empowered) or look for someone else who matches what they used to be like.  Because of this affairs often happen at what appears to be the most ‘socially unacceptable’ point in time, because that is when the ‘victim’ is most disempowered, e.g. when they are pregnant (very prevalent).

3) ‘The victim’ is not selling themselves to their partner in terms of their partner’s values.

Values are what we think are important in life.  They give us purpose, and determine what we love to do and have.  In fact they are basically what makes us tick.  (If you would like a free ebook on values and how to start identifying yours and your loved ones, sign up for my free email newsletter).  The ‘victim’ may not be being horrid, but it could be as little as just taking their partner for granted a little or assuming that they will always be faithful.  It’s not very romantic to say this, but all relationships are a deal, where you show that your particular brand is better than all the other brands out there.  I know what you are going to say ‘but what about love’ or ‘but what about vows and promises’?  I totally know what you mean, but as a major people watcher and studier, I can ensure you that there’s no point in saying ‘but we SHOULD be faithful’, because that just isn’t the way life is, apart from a very small group of people who have an incredibly high value on faithfulness or loyalty.

Often, the person having the affair will have blamed all that is wrong in their life on their partner and assume all that is good is down to the new relationship or the high they get from the one night stands.  So they definitely have a tendency to not taking responsibility for their lives and what they are dissatisfied with.  Sometimes, they have terribly low self-esteem, and it would literally be impossible to pamper their ego’s as much as is required to keep them faithful.  Or sometimes, they have been spoilt so badly, that they literally have no impulse control or are easily swayed by people who are more important in their values (e.g. team/work mates).

Now this is obviously a complicated subject, so I’ve just started by giving you a taster in order to help you understand the rubbish behind the urban myths around affairs.  When I get a chance I will write some more, for example:

  • Why it is totally possible to survive an affair and come out of it with a better relationship (if you would like to)
  • Why it’s also OK to not stay in the relationship, but how to make sure you don’t end up repeating old mistakes
  • How come you ended up being the ‘other person’ in an affair
  • And loads more!