3 Steps Forward to Talking Again

June 15th, 2010

Take This One Step to Begin Effective Communication with Your Spouse

“After he confessed to the affair, I couldn’t talk to him,” said Clarissa. “It seemed weeks passed before I could say a simple “yes” or “no” in response to his questions or statements. We’ve been married for over 15 years, and deep down, I want to save our marriage. He has already told me he will do whatever it takes. My struggle now is with how to communicate again at a level where we can move forward. I find that when we do try to talk, it quickly dissolves into my shouting out my anger, frustration and pain. I look at him and think, after what he has done, how can I believe a word that comes out of his mouth? I don’t know how to move past that.”

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Are Mistrust Triggers Killing Your Marriage?

April 20th, 2010

How to Know Your Spouse Isn’t Lying

“I’m having a hard time believing a word that comes out of his mouth,” said Ann. “When I think back to the time before I knew the truth of the affair, and how effortlessly those lies came when I’d ask why he was late getting home, well, I don’t know how I can ever trust him again. How do I know he isn’t lying?”

Ann found herself unsure of her ability to know the truth from the lies. She struggled with the blow to her self-esteem in being unable to know she was being deceived. Believing her spouse was late coming home for the reasons he gave had caused her to feel inadequate in protecting herself, unable to spot the lies when they first occurred.

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How to Cope with a Sex-Addicted Spouse

March 9th, 2010

Maybe you cherished your “normal” sex life with your husband, only to find out that he’s been harboring dark and deviant fantasies. Maybe you have stumbled across a stash of pornographic magazines and DVDs-even though you never suspected your husband of being aroused by such graphic images.

Sex is an integral and beautiful part of a healthy marriage. Sometimes, though, sex becomes something that feels like constant physical craving rather than an expression of love. This is a form of “sex addiction,” and it can bring a lot of pain into your relationship.

Sex addiction is a complex topic. Let’s look at ways in which sex addicts try to justify their behavior. When you see these signs, you can take proactive steps to combat the addiction and possibly heal your marriage. Read on to find out how together, you and your spouse can fight back problem behaviors and rebuild honesty in your relationship.

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Can You Rebuild Trust When Your Spouse Is Miles Away?

March 2nd, 2010

“My husband works in sales, and he attends at least five conferences each year. He’s cheated on me twice with women he’s met at the conferences. I want to believe it won’t happen again, but then I picture him at the hotel bar, sitting next to an attractive woman. Two or three drinks later, he’s lost his inhibitions – and broken his promise to stay faithful.”

“Because of her high-powered job, my wife travels all over the world. She met Stephen on a trip to London, and they slept together. She confessed the affair to me, but I still feel sick when I think of her traveling to London. After all, Stephen is still there. And if it happened once..”

Do these scenarios sound familiar to you? These are just two of the many, many stories I have heard over the years. For a cheating spouse, travel can be the perfect excuse to meet up with a paramour or to have a one-night stand. For the injured party, each business trip can create feelings of suspicion, anger, and fear.

How can you rebuild your marriage when your spouse is so far away? How can you maintain honesty when you are sleeping alone at home, and she’s in a hotel halfway around the world?

It is possible to protect and strengthen your marriage – even when you and your spouse are separated by hundreds of miles. Here are some strategies that have I have seen work.

Coping with the First Business Trip After the Confession

You’ve found out about the affair. You’ve argued, cried, questioned, and slowly attempted to rebuild. But now, the calendar looks like a doomsday clock. Your spouse is going on a business trip in two days. Will he cheat again? Will he be tempted by a woman at the sales convention? Will he sleep with his sexy colleague?

You may be thinking, “There is no way I can trust him.” This is a completely natural and common thought. But let me suggest to you that there are ways in which you can rebuild trust in your partner again. First, there are probably other ways in which he has never violated your trust. This is because trust takes many different forms.

Your partner has broken the first form of trust: fidelity. That is huge. But consider the other ways in which you might still trust your partner, including:

Form of Trust: Emotional Predictability – Knowing Your Partner Will React Within Reason.
You probably have a good idea of how your spouse will react to certain situations. If you can’t attend a family reunion because of an important medical appointment, you can probably count on your partner not becoming violent. If dinner is late because you were picking up the kids at their soccer game, you feel safe that he will not scream and storm out of the house.

Emotional predictability is incredibly important – and the sad truth is that not everyone in the world can count on it. It is extremely painful if you do not have this level of predictability in your relationship. If you have never stopped to think about it, that probably means you trust your spouse in this area.

How else might you already trust your spouse? Consider:

Form of Trust: Discretion – Keeping Secrets Secret. Discretion is a key form of trust. This means that you:

1) trust that your partner will keep private information private, and

2) trust that your partner will not make fun of you in a hurtful way.

Everyone has stories that are embarrassing or personal. In a marriage, you share things about your past that you likely wouldn’t share with anyone else. You trust that your partner will treat these issues with sensitivity and respect. You trust that he will not tell anyone else these things, because that would be hurtful. If this isn’t a problem for you, then you have just identified another area of trust in your relationship.

In my system How to Rebuild the Honesty, I discuss “The 7 Forms of Trust: Learning How You Still Trust Your Partner… Even Now.” I encourage you to read about these forms of trust. They will help you identify strengths and weaknesses within your relationship.

Once you know and understand each of these forms of trust and how to use them, it will help you:

  • Build a more transparent relationship…
  • Motivate your spouse to share everything with you…
  • Reduce suspicion…
  • Help you communicate your suspicion without igniting a firefight…
  • Create a clean slate to start over again…
  • Build a fence of protection around your relationship…

Discover how to strengthen your relationship with complete honesty.

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Transparency Part 5: Keeping the Door Open

January 5th, 2010

How to End the Lies: Learning to Be Transparent Part 5

What you want most is to develop an open, honest relationship with your spouse that you can count on. You want to open the doors of communication and trust once more and keep them open so you’re marriage can flourish.

But how do you do this?

It’s an interesting question, and the answer involves a lot of different components. But if you have started employing the techniques for being transparent you learned in the last few articles, you should begin to sense a shift in your marriage.

It may feel like it takes you forever to get there. It will surely take a lot of work from both of you. But if you keep at it, eventually the tide will turn and the environment in your marriage will go from one of deceit to one of understanding and trust.

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How to End the Lies: Learning to Be Transparent Part 4

December 29th, 2009

Has our whole relationship been a lie? Did he ever tell me the truth? Who else has she slept with? Was this really the only affair? What other kinds of horrible atrocities has my spouse committed?

These are some of the questions that torment a person injured by an affair.

If you’re the injured person, you are already well acquainted with questions like these. They may plague you day and night now that you have learned about the affair, making you suffer in ways you never imagined you could.

If you’re the cheater, you may not realize just how much was lost when you had the affair. But let me tell you, your spouse’s trust in you was shattered.

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How to End the Lies: Learning to Be Transparent Part 3

December 22nd, 2009

You no longer trust your spouse. That’s the crux of the problem. When he goes to work you wonder whether or not he is in contact with “her.” When she goes out dancing on the weekend with her girlfriends you wonder if “he” will be there.

When your spouse is home late from work without calling, it sets off a series of paranoid images that flash through your mind like a horror film. When you call his cell phone or office and there is no answer, you automatically assume he is at her place .

You’re suspicious. And it’s eating you alive.

This unwelcome change in your psyche is an unfortunate but absolutely natural outcome when you have suffered from an affair. You have been lied to so regularly for so long that you can’t help but wonder whether or not anything your spouse says or does is genuine.

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How to End the Lies: Learning to Be Transparent Part 2

November 24th, 2009

After so many hurtful lies you have not only lost your trust in your spouse, but you have grown distant from him or her. You’ve drifted apart. You no longer share how you used to, and you don’t trust anything your spouse shares with you. The intimacy is disappearing, and you don’t know how to reconnect.

One of the sad things about losing trust is that so many other beautiful aspects of your marriage go with it: Your feelings of connection and togetherness, your ability to open up and express your feelings with your spouse, and your hope and belief that he or she will do the same with you.

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How to Rebuild Honesty (Part 3): Building a Fence Around Your Marriage

November 10th, 2009

Do you want to know one way affairs often happen? Let me tell you a story.

John and Shirley were friends with Tom and Debbie. Debbie, Tom’s wife, worked in the same office building as John, so they often went out to lunch together.

These lunch meetings weren’t secret. Shirley and Tom both knew about them. In fact, no one thought much of it, because they were all such good friends and the situation seemed “safe.”

One day Debbie met John for lunch in tears. She and Tom were having problems in their marriage. To try and console her, John gave Debbie a hug. The hug went on a few moments too long and Debbie and John both felt a spark.

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How to Rebuild Honesty (Part 2): Learning to be Transparent

November 3rd, 2009

Have you been truly honest with your spouse?

Has your spouse been truly honest with you?

If you have suffered from an affair or some other breach of trust (and you are being honest with yourself), you will likely answer “no” to at least one of these questions.

The reason is fairly obvious, yet it bears mentioning: When trust is broken in a marriage, it means that at least one spouse has been dishonest.

One of the keys to a successful marriage and building trust is the free and open exchange of information or being open and honest with each other.

When the lines of communication are tampered with or closed down by lies and deceit, it sets off a chain reaction in which the person being lied to closes down to protect him or her self from future lies.

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