I came across this article about steps to take to stop an affair. I would like to hear your opinions, and especially of those who are in the marriage counselling business. I am really interested about the part that talks about exposing the affair to friends and family and the way this article approaches that subject. http://ezinearticles.com/?Is-Your-Sp...ow!&id=1869007
Is your spouse caught up in an affair and they won't quit? Are they on the fence and bouncing between you and the other person? Would you like them to stop seeing the other person for good?
You should look at infidelity as an addiction and treat it as such. An affair is just as destructive as an addiction and it harms everyone it touches. You can apply many of the strategies that addiction recovery programs have used successfully for years. Many spouse's, when faced with their partners affair, make mistakes. Sometimes huge mistakes but this is normal and to be expected. This is such a devastating time in your life and your emotions are running in huge overtime. The thing to do is put all these emotions on hold and use sound necessary steps that are from a rational, educated and compassionate place. Trust me, this is the hardest thing in the world to do because I know that your world is crumbling at your feet and your heart is torn to pieces and you feel like your soul has died. If you let your emotions take over, your marriage could end up sliding towards divorce even though that isn't what you want.
Almost ALL affairs end. Less than 1% of affairs go on to be real relationships. Most all those who stray want to reconcile the marriage. The problem is, if they stay in the affair too long, the betrayed spouse gets fed up, loses all feelings of love toward their spouse and end up leaving. The say things like "I don't even know this person anymore!" or "This isn't the person I married." There are steps you can take to end their affair.
Just like you do with someone addicted to alcohol or drugs, a good ole intervention! Where all their friends and family are there telling them that right NOW they have stop what they are doing and get help (marriage counseling or coaching). The family and friends also set firm boundaries with what they are willing to put up with now and in the future if this person wants to stay in their lives. This is a form of "Tough Love". You're saying that you love them and the life you both have together very much and that you're willing to make them uncomfortable and angry in order to end their destructive behavior. You're also saying that you care enough about yourself to set boundaries about what you are willing to accept in your life if they continue on in this affair.
Stop the Madness!
You need to stop screaming, yelling, fit throwing, arguing, and blaming. I know this seems impossible because they deserve all of the above but you want to look good to them and a screaming manic doesn't look good to anyone. You must learn to keep your emotions under control. If you can't then find a support group, yell and scream about it to a counselor but do everything you cannot to direct it towards your spouse. You want to be someone they want to be with, remember that.
Stop Annoying Behaviors
Are there things that drive your spouse nuts and are very irritating to your spouse? Stop doing them! Just know that nothing you have done or haven't done is any justification for your spouse's affair. But since we are on a mission of saving the marriage these things could be coming in between you both and they need to end. You don't need to become the perfect spouse and personal change takes time so don't start blaming yourself for the affair and don't fall for the "if I'm just good enough the affair will end". This all leads to you thinking you have to be perfect and that isn't true. Some things would be poor hygiene habits, too much time in doing things like TV, computer, talking on the phone, shopping, etc., talking about your spouse in poor light to others outside the marriage, losing control and going into rages, things like this. I'm sure you get the idea.
Make Your Spouse's Life With You Peaceful, Respectful
Do not go crazy and smoother them, this will drive them away. You don't need to get presents, spend every minute of every day next to them, and hover over them. This is annoying and we are trying NOT to be annoying. You need to uphold your own dignity. Be polite, respectful, and friendly but do NOT smoother! This is all about honoring both yourself and your spouse. This has nothing to do about you becoming a doormat and allowing the affair to continue on without standing up for yourself. This is about having good manners in the face of a very bad situation. Don't be mislead into thinking that you are saying that the affair was in a any way okay. What you are doing is stopping the harm being done to your marriage by intervening.
Confronting Your Spouse
Before confronting your spouse be sure to have rock solid evidence so they can't start denying it and then try and get you to feel "crazy" and that it's all in your head. When you are confronting them you are not blaming, accusing, or being disrespectful. You are making factual statements about your evidence. Like, "I have found your cell phone records and I have seen you two together, I have these pictures from the P. I." Things like this. You just state what you have against them. Then you tell them how you feel about it. "I am totally devastated and hurt beyond your wildest imagination. My world fell apart when I found (fill in the blank). This will destroy our marriage if this continues on. You need to end all contact with (other person) and commit yourself back to our marriage.
You may think that you can't confront your spouse because you are supposed to be friendly and respectful but this has nothing to do with that. This is about saving your marriage. Being friendly and respectful doesn't mean that you are going to hide your head in the sand and pretend everything is okay when it's clearly not. Your goal is to make the affair extremely uncomfortable. You are to keep your dignity during this confrontation though. Draw your boundaries and stick to them.
Expose, Expose, Expose
I know, I know, you really don't want to do this. You have many excuses why not too. I can't seem to get people to do this but it's the most important thing for you to do. If you chose not to expose the affair you are letting your spouse continue on with the affair because you are making it safe for him/her to do so. Affairs are just like addictions and they take off like fire under the cloak of darkness but bring the affair to the light of day and it like throwing gallons of water on the fire making it go right out. A lot of the time, affairs stop only when exposed.
Who to Tell
Your family, your spouse's family, your friends, his/her friends, his/her boss or work, colleagues, your church family, the other person's family and friends, etc. Just know that you are not "spouse bashing", this is not where you run and tell everyone you come across what a horrible spouse you have. That is not the point in telling people. Here is what you want to say. "My spouse is having an affair with (other person). I know this because of (tell of the evidence). I love (spouse's name) and I want to save our marriage. Please help me by encouraging him/her to do the right thing by ending their affair and all contact with (other person's name) and recommit to our marriage.
It is VERY important that you tell the other person's spouse if they are married. This will help in getting the affair over quickly. This is your goal, to end the affair and this is the quickest way to do just that. There is no hope for your marriage if the affair continues.
Most affairs happen in the workplace so it is extremely important to expose the affair where they work. Most places of employment will put a stop to an ongoing affair if they know about it. Get in contact with his/her human resources department and let them know what is going on. Remember that when you are exposing the affair to their workplace to keep it respectful and not spouse bashing. Here's what you can say. "My (spouse's name) is having an affair with one of your employee's (other persons name). I know you will want to know this because of the high risk of sexual harassment due to inter office affairs. I would hate to see this happen to your company. I want to keep my marriage and family together and I love (spouse's name) very much so I am hoping that you will take steps in stopping this affair. Thank you."
You will only be taken seriously if you remain composed and calm the whole time. You don't want to sound like a psycho going off on their spouse trying to stir up trouble. You will find that most people run away when you start talking about infidelity but if you talk about it in a matter of fact way, more people will listen to you and take you seriously.
Is Confronting Mean?
A lot of people think that exposing the affair to all these people is mean. I will tell you that your spouse will become VERY ugly when they find out about all the people you have been telling. They are this way because, number one, they don't want their fantasy to end and putting light on it makes it end very fast. Number two, they may be ashamed of what they have done and aren't proud of the fact and are upset that their mistakes are known. You cannot let this stop you. Do not just look at today! The anger will pass, you are striving for a bigger goal and that is saving your marriage at all costs! Treat this just like your spouse has an addiction and needs a major intervention to stop his/her destructive behavior. In no way are you being "mean" to your spouse, you are saving them and your family. This is where your love and commitment comes in, where you can face your spouse's anger to save something as precious as your marriage and family.
Confronting the Other Person
You are NOT going to want to do this face to face. I do not ever tell anyone to do this face to face. Emotions can really go wild and you will find yourself behaving in ways you wish you never did. It's better to either write a letter or an email. You only want to say this, "I know that you are having an affair with my husband/wife. I love him/her very much and I want to save my marriage and keep my family together. Your relationship with my husband/wife is NOT okay. This affair is coming in between us and making it impossible to heal our marriage. Please respect our marriage and end all contact with (spouse's name) forever.
Okay, so they will probably have a really good laugh over it or deny it all or say that they are going to sue the pants off you. Believe it or not the point of the letter isn't to get them to end their affair with your spouse but to through a huge wrench into the affair and really rock the boat. You want to cause major conflict in their relationship. You don't want their relationship to be all rosy and wonderful, like they think it is. Remember they are in a fantasy and none of it is real. The sooner your spouse wakes up to this the better. You are hoping that they know spend their time together talking about YOU and how horrible and psycho you are, and this is okay. It doesn't matter what they are talking about as long as it's unpleasant. Having them fight is better then having them have a romantic dinner together.
Your spouse may have also told the affair partner that they were divorced, separated or that there really is no love at home. Sending this letter will show you in a different light and the affair partner may start seeing that your spouse has been lying to them too.
Find a support group so that you can find others in the same situation that you are in. It's amazing at how much this helps because at times like these it's so easy to feel very much alone. I would also try and find a marriage coach/counselor that deals with infidelity. They really understand all the in's and out's of an affair and can really help you. This is very important because your in so much pain that you can't see beyond the right now and you need someone there to help you see the future and what moves to make so that you can save your marriage. They will help you not do things from an emotional stand point but a rational one.