Ask Affaircare: How Could You Be So Heartless? Have a Little Sympathy!

AskAffaircare

The Ask Affaircare Series started because our readers have questions. About Affairs. Reconciling. Marriage. Divorce. Christianity. The Bible. And God.  Initially, we tried to answer each question through e-mail, but we quickly realized that there were many people asking many similar questions, so we started this weekly series!

It’s not our goal to make you agree with us, but rather to explore what the Bible says in thoughtful, and clear manner. Additionally, we try to write our answers in a loving but truthful manner (Ephesians 4:15) because we know there is a real person – with real struggles and dreams – behind every single question. Thank for you visiting Affaircare. Keep those questions coming!


Our question today comes from a lady who commented on our “Sample No Contact Letters” page.  She writes:

Wow … Yes, I know that we can disagree, but your response is just about the most heartless thing I’ve ever read. The truth is that the cheating partner has deeply hurt BOTH the spouse and the affair partner. In my case, I was wooed and pursued relentlessly. Yes, I should have resisted and I did try numerous times to end things from my end, but every single time, this man came after me full throttle with beautiful words, love songs, everything he knew to wear me down to opening my heart to him again.

I gave SIX YEARS of my time, my emotions, my heart, my love to this man. Yes, it was wrong and I take full responsibility for that. But to encourage men (or women) to chop someone off without ONE WORD of kindness or apology or at least a simple well wish for the future is heartless. The affair partner is a person too … there is incredible (almost life-threatening) pain on our end too. Many of us are good, loving people who made a terrible decision. I feel that the cheating partner owes us at least a tiny recognition for the fact that we hurt too. That he/she wronged us too by making promises they wouldn’t/couldn’t keep, seducing us with many thousands of hours of communication and love and affection.

In my case, I understood completely (and supported) the decision to end the affair and return to his wife. But the pain inflicted at the end (by the approach you are recommending) caused me to feel so completely worthless that I have considered suicide just to end the pain. I was tossed aside as if I were a $50 whore that he’d spent a night’s fling with … not someone who invested six years of my life, built a strong friendship above and beyond anything sexual, stood with him emotionally through some really challenging times and truly loved him.

As a Christian, I would challenge you to rethink the statement that “all empathy should be toward the spouse.” I believe it is possible to make it clear that the affair is over without dehumanizing and treating the affair partner like a worthless piece of shit. In my case, HE PURSUED ME RELENTLESSLY up until two nights before he ended things. He was pressuring me for video-chat sex two nights before … and you’re telling me that I don’t even deserve a simple acknowledgement or apology that he wronged me as well? I cannot tell you how far that would have gone to heal my heart.

I never see Jesus treating someone with such complete disregard. I agree with no contact .. but not with the detached cruelty expressed in these letters. What would be so wrong with simply saying, “I am so sorry for the pain I’ve also caused you and sincerely apologize for the selfishness that I showed in creating a relationship with you that I should not have. I hope that you will find healing from the pain that I’ve inflicted on you I wish you all of the best for your future” That simple kindness would at least acknowledge that this woman/man is a person too.

To pretend there is no emotion involved in severing a six year relationship is ludicrous. To pretend that the only woman’s heart that matters at all is the wife’s is very simplistic. This man wronged TWO women and we both deserve the decency of that pain being honored … at least with one small sentence of kindness and warmth.

PLEASE reconsider this … I have spoken to so many other “other women” who have also been devastated by this approach. The manner in which our affair was ended is truly the most crushing, demeaning thing that has ever happened to me …. even though I was wrong and sinned, I have value and worth as a human being.

Dear Ms. Have a Little Sympathy,

This is Cindy writing from Affaircare, and I wanted to respond to this one today because this issue is very important to me, personally. The first thing I do want to let you know is that I, myself, was a formerly Disloyal Spouse, so I do not write to you as if I am a blameless, perfect person. I do understand that as human beings, we do sometimes make poor choices and do the wrong thing, as I did it myself!  I also realize that often when we make a poor choice, that the consequence is excruciatingly painful. The second thing I do want to let you know is that we, at Affaircare, do not not want anyone–Loyal Spouse, Disloyal Spouse, or Affair Partner–to believe there is not HOPE. We are nouthetic counselors so that means we engage people in biblically-directed discussions so the Holy Spirit can bring about change in personality and behavior. We use the Bible, and not “psychology” or the popular opinion as our guide.

That being the case, I’d like to start this letter by talking about feelings. Feelings are the perception of a bodily state as pleasant or unpleasant; they are responses to judgments made about the environment or oneself. These judgments trigger body chemistry to orient our body to meet the situation. The body chemistry accounts for “feelings” or “emotions.” Some examples of feelings would be that you feel “happy” or “sad” or “good” or “bad.”

However, one does not “feel” inferior. That’s not an emotion brought about by body chemistry. It’s an expression of a judgment, attitude or conviction about your own self–“I AM inferior”–a conclusion reached about your own behavior, attitudes, character or capabilities. You wrote that you felt like “…a $50 whore that he’d spent a night’s fling with … not someone who invested six years of my life, built a strong friendship above and beyond anything sexual, stood with him emotionally through some really challenging times and truly loved him.” Since it is a self-judgement, though, there is HOPE because the Holy Spirit can bring about change in personality and behavior!

doing-judgment-feeling-doing

It’s important to know what a feeling is and isn’t because when the Disloyal Spouse married their Loyal Spouse, they made very specific promises such as forsaking all others. The entire point of marriage is to say to one other human being “I willingly volunteer to give you 100% of my affection and loyalty, and I willingly volunteer to spend the rest of YOUR LIFE getting to know you deeply and treating you in a loving way.” Because of this promise, Disloyal Spouses actually morally and legally have a duty to their Loyal Spouses. They do not have a moral or legal equivalent to any other human being on the planet.

Unfortunately, with Hollywood showing us that love is a “feeling”–something like “star-crossed lovers who see each other across a crowded room and overcoming all obstacles they fulfil their destiny”–most people have no idea what Real LOVE is. It’s not having another person “complete you” or having your needs met by someone. It’s definitely not looking at your lover’s spouse as an obstacle to overcome either! Real Love is not “love yourself” or “self-esteem” or supporting sin or offering sympathy by feeling bad for you. In fact, Real Love is not a “feeling”! Feelings change and are not dependable! Think about it: day-to-day you can “feel” different just because you’re hungry, tired, or it’s a time of the month. So “feelings” come and go, wax and wane, and roll in and out like the tide, but Real Love is like I Corinthians 13. Real Love is FOREVER–so it just couldn’t be talking about a “feeling.”

Real Love is the ultimate answer to all problems of living–Love is our goal, here at Affaircare! But Real Love is serving and is obedience-based. Real Love is an ACTION–a choice. Between human beings, Love is when you choose to treat another person in a loving way. Between humans and God, Love is obeying God. So if I really and truly love you, I’m not going to encourage you to continue to sin–I’m going to treat you in the most loving way I know, and that’s to encourage you and help you in every possible way to obey God. I’ll only say this once: disobeying God comes with some excruciating consequences. If you disobey and repent, that does not automatically mean that God will take away the painful consequence of the disobedience you chose! So if I love you, and I do, I will do my very best to support you in your obedience.

Finally I know you wish I would support you, and from what you wrote, I don’t think you wish I would encourage or endorse the affair. It sounds like you wish I would tell the Disloyals to send one last love letter to their Affair Partner to say goodbye…or maybe at least offer one last bit of tender kindness to someone who loved them well. I would like to let you know why I DON’T endorse that. It’s for two reasons:

1) Disloyal Spouses have a duty to their Loyal Spouse not to their Affair Partner. Now, I’m not saying that any human being has the right to treat another human being with hatred and harm, but rather that when it comes to consideration, a spouse owes 100% to the person they married. Not even 1% is theirs to give away! Think of it like a person who has had their leg caught in an explosion. There are chunks of leg still hanging there, but the damage is so extensive that the leg can not be reconstructed. So is it more compassionate to cut off the leg in one, swift slice with a scalpel? Or is it more compassionate to gradually cut off a little bit at a time every day over several days?

It’s the same here. The Disloyal Spouse gave away what was not his/hers to give. Taking it away and returning to their spouse is going to cause DEEP pain to the person they have injured (you)! You may wish he gradually cut off a little every day, but that actually just extends the pain. It’s more compassionate to have one swift cut-off and then you can be on your way to healing and learning how to live as an amputee. That’s why I encourage Disloyals to send a letter that cuts it off 100% thoroughly and that gets them back in the habit of giving 100% to their spouse again rather than prolonging the sin of giving some portion to someone else.  But make no mistake, the Disloyal’s and the Affair Partner’s choices  cause harm just like an amputation.

2) Offering “support” and “sympathy” by just feeling bad for you is not a help. A nouthetic counselor will never support sin, but rather point out biblical principles and use kind, concerned, confrontation to bring repentance, faith, and hope. The aim is HOPE through change. It’s not sympathy to stand back and feel bad for you; it is sympathy to ACT. Look at the Good Samaritan. He didn’t see the wounded man and just “feel bad for him”–he ACTED, bound his wounds AND took him to a place that could care for him AND PAID FOR IT! He showed mercy and love by acting. If I were to offer support or sympathize, that would mean there are no better options, and I’d be standing by while you suffer. Instead of standing by, I’m rolling up my sleeves and jumping in to actually offer HOPE–doing something concrete.

So I do understand that indeed you hurt tremendously and that you felt deep feelings and that losing someone you loved is very hard. But I want you the hurt to end. I want you to recover and feel “good” again, and the fastest way to do that is to encourage you to discontinue all connection with your Disloyal right away, and to return to obeying God and living in a way that pleases Him, even if it’s not easy for you.

Faithfully,

 

~Cindy J. Taylor

Help Your Kids Survive an Affair #3 – Common Pitfalls

How do you help your kids when your spouse is having an affair?  What is the ideal? What do kids need? What are some common pitfalls that parents make? And how can God heal broken hearts–yours and theirs?

In this week’s episode, we continue our series “Helping Your Kids Survive an Affair” by examining examining some common pitfalls that parents make when their is a major crisis in the family. There are nine common mistakes that parents make when their children are struggling, and we go over each downfall to identify the error and make more healthy suggestions.

  • Leaning on your children as if they were peers.
  • Loyal Spouse: Speaking badly of the other parent.
  • Disloyal Spouse: Thinking your kids “will be happy for you”
  • Not allowing your kids to express their feelings.
  • Not keeping your word–lying to them so they aren’t hurt.
  • Spoiling your child to “make up for it”
  • Not taking time for touch.
  • Setting unrealistic expectations.
  • Failing to pray for your children

If you’d like to learn more about “Helping Your Kids Survive an Affair,” join us next week when we’ll be discussing how God can heal broken hearts.

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Help Your Kids Survive an Affair #2 – What Kids Need to Do

How do you help your kids when your spouse is having an affair?  What is the ideal? What do kids need? What are some common pitfalls that parents make? And how can God heal broken hearts–yours and theirs?

In this week’s episode, we continue our series “Helping Your Kids Survive an Affair” by examining what kids need to do in order to deal with a parent having an affair. There are five areas in which your children will be struggling, and we go over each one of the areas to describe what they need.

  • Understand what’s going on
  • Deal with losses
  • Deal with anger
  • Deal with guilt feelings
  • Accept the finality–it will never “be the way it was”

If you’d like to learn more about “Helping Your Kids Survive an Affair,” join us next week when we’ll be discussing some common pitfalls that parents make when their is a major crisis in the family.

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Ask Affaircare: Is Showing All the Signs Proof of Infidelity?

AskAffaircare

The Ask Affaircare Series started because our readers have questions. About Affairs. Reconciling. Marriage. Divorce. Christianity. The Bible. And God.  Initially, we tried to answer each question through e-mail, but we quickly realized that there were many people asking many similar questions, so we started this weekly series!

It’s not our goal to make you agree with us, but rather to explore what the Bible says in thoughtful, and clear manner. Additionally, we try to write our answers in a loving but truthful manner (Ephesians 4:15) because we know there is a real person – with real struggles and dreams – behind every single question. Thank for you visiting Affaircare. Keep those questions coming!


Our email question today comes from a lady whose spouse thinks she is showing all the signs of infidelity.  She writes:

Since the end of spring of last year, my husband has accused me of having an affair. Although I did not, I understand that he is scared. I was on my phone a lot … playing games and he hates games, so I hid my playing from him.  …I bought new underthings, but didn’t show him. I did this because our marriage was already in trouble and I knew I was pulling away. I needed to feel better about myself, so that was one step that I took. …I had a really tough year and found myself putting up walls because I didn’t know how I was going to get through the year. These factors made him buy a GPS tracking device and a camera, and he took pictures … then accused me of cheating. Although I have been able to prove that some (most) of the things he was using as proof were not true and that he was mistaken, he still refuses to believe me. He tells me that no matter what I say, he has more proof, and that he will always believe that I had an affair. The problem is that now I don’t trust him. Not even a little. I have nothing to hide, but refuse to live like I do. We have lost friends because of this. I think he should have spoken to me about his feelings prior to going to the extremes that he chose to take. He shared with me a guide from this site titled – “All of the Signs Your Spouse May be Cheating” and told me that the signs you listed were reasons to believe my infidelity, even though he can only check off a few things. I figured if he trusts in your site so much, maybe you could give me some advice. Am I wrong for thinking he should have spoken to me about his feelings first?

On the same topic, another husband writes that his wife is showing all the signs of the infidelity:

I feel it in my gut that my wife is cheating. She gives off all almost all the lines listed above. but every time I confront her she denies it. I want to catch her on the act how can I do it.?

Dear Ms. Showing Some the Signs and Mr. She’s Showing Signs,

We are so sorry to be meeting under these circumstance of suspicion and distrust. You are both in our prayers that your marriages will be restored and filled with love and godliness. For Ms. Showing Some Signs, we bet it feels HORRIBLE to be suspected of something you didn’t do–and for Mr. She’s Showing Signs, we bet your intuition is just SCREAMING that something is wrong and you feel sick all the time. Even though you two are kind of at opposite ends of the spectrum, we have chosen to write to you both in this blog because actually your two emails address the same issue:

“If my spouse is showing some of the signs of infidelity from your page, is that proof that they are cheating?  How do you KNOW FOR SURE if your spouse is having an affair?”

We want to answer both of you, first. by quoting what’s right at the top of the page we wrote about all the signs of infidelity.  We wrote:

“These behaviors are only  indicators of a cheating spouse and are not absolutes!  If your spouse has one or two of these behaviors, and there is a legitimate reason and a mutual agreement (such as, you two talk about it and agree to try to lose weight…and they’ve gone a little obsessive about it), these signs do NOT prove infidelity.  But when you observe several, or maybe MOST, of these behaviors, your marriage may be in trouble!  Again, let me reiterate that these behaviors are only indicators of  an affair.”

These signs  do not definitively prove adultery, but even though it may not be an affair, if these signs exist, the marriage is still in trouble.  It just may not have progressed to adultery yet, and it may not be adultery at all but rather some other issues such as addiction or controlling or abuse.  But make no mistake, if more than a few of the signs are showing up–then the marriage IS in trouble!

To both Ms. Showing Some Signs and Mr. She’s Showing Signs we would specifically note that your marriages are in trouble, whether your spouses have slept with another or not.

In fact, let us start with the assumption that neither wife has  slept with anyone else. The definition of fidelity, here at Affaircare, is giving your spouse and only your spouse 100% of your affection and loyalty. Based on that definition, have they been faithful?

So we would respectfully exhort both of you to look at Matthew 7: 1-5:

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

and also to look at Luke 6: 37-42:

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” He also told them this parable: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit? The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

In both chapters, Jesus is talking, and He does not say that we are not to have discernment.  The word for “judge” there is the Greek word KRINO and it means “to pick out (choose) by separating” or “making a determination of right or wrong (innocence or guilt), especially on an official(legal) standard.”  God is the one who JUDGES–our job is to forgive, to give, and to look in our own eye and deal with the plank in our own eye!

So for both of you, we would remind you that you can not change your spouse.  The only person you can change is yourself, and even then it’s with God’s aid and not by anything you do.  HE regenerates us and thus the question becomes “What am I doing in my marriage that contributes to this rift? What do I need to change?”  Now we are not blaming the Loyal Spouse here–do not misunderstand.  What we are saying is that rather than pointing fingers at your spouse and saying “S/He needs to change!” we recommend that you look at your own self and ask yourself: “Could it be me?” “Could it be that I have some things that I need to stop doing?” “Could I be looking at this with jealousy and lack of trust?” “Is it my issue?” and if it is–deal with it!

For Ms. Showing Some Signs, even if we assumed that everything you wrote is 100% true (and let’s be honest here, no one paints themselves in a bad light, so we usually assume there are two sides to every story), there are many red flags that raise a warning.  You are hiding things from your spouse. Your spouse sounds controlling.  You are living life like a single person, not like a married person.  He is driving away your friends. You are not submissive. He is not loving. Your marriage is in big trouble! And the way to repair a marriage is not to be disrespectful and secretive and independent!

Does your spouse get every little bit of your affection, or does whoever you are playing this game with get some small percentage? If you hide your gaming from your spouse, then your loyalty is with the game (and whoever is in the game) and not with your spouse!  And faithfulness is 100% to your spouse–forsaking all others.

Now we are not saying that your spouse doesn’t have some things we would recommend he work on–in fact there are a couple things!–but in reality you need to work on you and he needs to work on him.  So right now our advice to you would be to stop playing the game.  That game is going to end your marriage–is a game worth it?  Whoever you are playing with–you’re playing with fire so end all contact, and never ever contact that person again nor play that game again.  For whatever reason, you have a weakness for or in that game that has harmed your marriage and you are going to have to stay away.

Likewise, you need to stop hiding things from your husband. That only makes it worse. We know you think that what he doesn’t know doesn’t hurt him, but that is absolutely NOT TRUE. When he discovers what you’ve been hiding (and he will because he lives with you), the damage will be magnified specifically because you hid it. Beginning today, be 100% transparent with your husband. That means LET HIM SEE THE REAL YOU. Let him know your thoughts and your feelings.  Let him know where you are going, when you’ll leave, when you’ll return, and who you will honestly be with. If you are having a tough year, turn TO YOUR HUSBAND for support and comfort…not others and not all by yourself.  You are married now and being married means that you made a promise to include and always consider another person in every decision and choice: your husband. Now he’s not supposed to “lord it over you” and control every little move you make, and if he were here we’d talk to him about that…but he’s NOT here and so we are talking to you about the things you can do to strengthen and repair the damage you’ve done!

To Mr. She’s Showing Signs, the first thing we’d caution you to remember is that the whole purpose of the “All the Signs” list is as an alert–a warning–that your spouse MAY be cheating.  MAY is the operative word.  That is to say, at this point, we can not definitively say one way or another if she is or is not.  If you go to a Disloyal Spouse and “confront” them with no proof and no knowledge of what is is or not going on and ask them if they are cheating , what do you think they’re going to do?  Tell you the truth?  No, of course not! They are lying to cover the affair and the affair partner, they are lying about where they are and what they’re doing and with whom…why would you all-of-a-sudden think they would tell the truth now?  That is an unwise course of action.

Instead we would point you to our article “Seven Steps You Can Take To End An Affair”   You need to follow these steps, in order, to give you the best opportunity to save your marriage.  Please note that the very first step is to Gather Evidence.  That means to keep an open heart–that she may be telling the truth and you’re just being jealous or suspicious–and actually investigate FACTS like a detective to either prove or disprove your possible theory.  Look at Ms. Showing Some Signs there–she has not slept with anyone, and she’s showing some of the signs you’re seeing in your own wife.  It may be that you will catch something just as it’s getting out of hand!  My point is that as you Gather Evidence, keep your heart open to WHATEVER you may discover.  It may not be physical infidelity but rather an addiction, or some other issue!  Let the facts show you the truth.

Also, bear in mind that the point of Gathering Evidence is not so you can throw down all the “proof” in front of your spouse and they will automatically cave and tell you the truth.  Nope, the point of Gathering Evidence so that YOU have enough concrete proof in YOUR MIND that you are convinced of what is true and what is not. We guarantee you no matter what concrete evidence you gather, at first your spouse will deny it.  That is what Disloyal Spouses do!  They lie!  In reality, if you walked in on your wife and another man naked in the act, that they would jump out of bed, throw on their clothes, and say, “It’s not what you think!” Right?  So the point of the Gathering Evidence is to find something that is not circumstantial, to find something that convinces you that it’s not all “in your mind” or you making a mountain out of a molehill, and then you will know how to proceed.

We have two blog posts on ways to Gather Evidence: “Low tech ways to check if your spouse is cheating” and “High Tech ways to discover if your spouse is cheating”  We personally recommend that you use both ways (low tech and high tech) to corroborate the conclusion.  After you are convinced of whatever the truth may be, you will know the truth.  If she is not cheating, and you try all the low tech and high tech ways but just find no evidence, we would say consider if there might be other issues like Ms. Showing Some Signs–issues like games that need to stop, living like a single person, or hiding things.  If that’s the case–address it!  And if you find she is cheating, then we would recommend going to Step Two in the Seven Steps and proceeding down that list in order.

Help Your Kids Survive an Affair #1 – The Ideal [Podcast]

How do you help your kids when your spouse is having an affair?  What is the ideal? What do kids need? What are some common pitfalls that parents make? And how can God heal broken hearts–yours and theirs?

In this week’s episode, we begin our series “Helping Your Kids Survive an Affair” by examining the biblical ideal.  This will give us some idea of what God would like our families to be like, and help us identify areas where we’ve fallen short and need God’s help right now!

Verses in this podcast:
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Deut. 6: 1-2 “Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the rules—-that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you…so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you

Deut. 6: 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”

Deut. 6: 6-7 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

Malachi 2: 15-16Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth. “The man who hates and divorces his wife,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “does violence to the one he should protect,” says the Lord Almighty. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful.

Ephesians 6:4Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

Psalm 34:11Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD

If you’d like to learn more about “Helping Your Kids Survive an Affair,” join us next week when we’ll be discussing what kids need to do in order to deal with a parent having an affair.

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Growing Together in 2014: Affaircare’s Year in Review

HNY-2015

Now is the perfect time to pause and reflect upon the work we’ve done together this year. The purpose of this post is to showcase some of our best stuff from 2014 (and there was a lot of it!). And what about 2015? We’ll share what we have planned for Affaircare and for January and the new year.

Explosive Growth

The Affaircare Community grew in 2014–and we are so thankful!  Last year (2013) we had just 135k visitors, and this year we had 735k!!!  Our likes and comments increased exponentially, and so did our Facebook page likes, our Twitter followers , and our newsletter subscriptions.  THANKS!!

You Ask, We Listen

We try to add new ways for you to connect with or interact with us and with each other, so this past year, 2014, we released several enhancements for Affaircare.  Major highlights include our YouTube Channel, our podcast available on iTunes or Stitcher, our Affaircare App so you can stay connected while you’re mobile, and our new Affaircare Forum. We also created a new program “90 Days to Save Your Marriage and Save You“.

Real Content

Building an online community is more than just creating a website—Affaircare needs people like you to return to our website over and over.  We offer quality content addressing all the various stages and questions about infidelity.  Providing the opportunity to engage in continual learning is a priority for Affaircare.

Our three favorite pages were:

Our most popular blog posts were:

In addition to our blog, we have added articles (“The Divorce Busting 180“), quizzes ( “Just Friends” or Infidelity? and Heart Chart), information (Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy worksheet) and series like “Ask Affaircare” and “Recovering After an Affair” in 2014.

WHAT’S COMING IN 2015

In January we’ll be starting an all new series on “Helping Your Kids Survive an Affair” all about the things a parent can do to help their children survive when one parent has been unfaithful.

We are going to update and improve our “90 Days to Save Your Marriage and Save You” program so that it is completely an online class you can take at your own pace.

We plan to develop a new series “Affaircare: After Divorce” to help those whose spouse had an affair and the marriage ended in divorce, even though that was not their plan.  Our ideas include addressing topics like growing, grieving, emotions, esteem, transforming, transparency, and loving again.

And in 2015 we hope to initiate a “Affaircare Gift Giveaway” program two times a year: in summer and for the holidays. We will ask fifteen of our friends and colleagues who are Christian bloggers, writers, podcasters and marriage supporters to offer you a very special gift of their choosing–a free white paper, report, PDF, ebook, or webinar–just as a way to say we appreciate you!

SO … a huge thanks to all of you: our community, partners, and team for helping us make 2014 happen. What happened in your online community this year you want to celebrate? Happy New Year from all of us at Affaircare!

How to Survive the Holidays While Hurting [Podcast]

Surviving the holidays while hurting can seem impossible. Christmas is hard enough to deal with when life is good! When you are hurting due to a spouse’s infidelity, due to losing a job or financial issues, due to physical illness, due to personal issues such as depression, due to family issues, or for any reason, how are you supposed to survive?

In this week’s episode we finish the year with a question we are asked almost every year: “How am I supposed to have a holiday with my children when my spouse just walked out on me!  They don’t even know we have no money! WHAT DO I DO?”

Verses in this podcast:
I Peter 5:7 Cast your cares on Him for He careth for you

Matthew 6:26-34 regarding the birds of the air and the lilies of the field

Matthew 10:29-31 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny ? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Psalm 143:4 I am losing all hope; I am paralyzed with fear. I remember the days of old. I ponder all your great works and think about what you have done. I lift my hands to you in prayer. I thirst for you as parched land thirsts for rain.

Next week we’ll begin our new four-week series “Caring for Your CHILDREN When There’s Been an Affair.”  We’ll talk about the ideal: what we are supposed to be teaching our children.  We’ll itemize what children NEED when one of their parents has an affair.  We’ll get into common pitfalls parents make when one has been unfaithful.  And we’ll end on letting God heal broken hearts!

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Ask Affaircare: How Do I Get through the Holidays?

AskAffaircare

The Ask Affaircare Series started because our readers have questions. About Affairs. Reconciling. Marriage. Divorce. Christianity. The Bible. And God.  Initially, we tried to answer each question through e-mail, but we quickly realized that there were many people asking many similar questions, so we started this weekly series!

It’s not our goal to make you agree with us, but rather to explore what the Bible says in thoughtful, and clear manner. Additionally, we try to write our answers in a loving but truthful manner (Ephesians 4:15) because we know there is a real person – with real struggles and dreams – behind every single question. Thank for you visiting Affaircare. Keep those questions coming!


Our email question today comes from a spouse who needs hope for the holidays, who writes:

I just read through the steps that you’ve sent me.  I just found out the truth a couple weeks ago, I’ve definitely failed in a few things. We are Christian and I’m little by little holding on to God’s promises; I’m still in shock. Definitely on a roller coaster. My failure is that I’m crying a lot; and hard to function day to day. So, my Disloyal Spouse is probably not looking at me like I’m anyone to come home to. BTW, my Disloyal came back one day after Discovery Day, and wants to work this out. So, my question is, do I ask my Disloyal to leave temporarily so I can deal with my emotions better. We have 3 children; two teenagers and one tweenager. Our oldest is coming home from college end of the week. Christmas is days away and I’m trying to rack my brain and emotions on how to have somewhat of a new normal and not destroy everyone’s Christmas because of my grief??  Hope this isn’t too much info. Just trying to cope.

Dear Hope for the Holidays,

I am so sorry that we are meeting under circumstances like this.  I’m sure it just feels impossible to deal with an affair and also deal with all the pressures of the holidays as well.  As Christmas comes around, people have SO MANY expectations and feel the pressure to have perfect travels, to have all the family get together, to get the perfect gift for everyone, to decorate perfectly, to cook perfect holiday meals, to spend more than they have, to make people happy, and to be perfect!  In real life, people are not perfect, holidays are not perfect, and spending beyond your means does not make happiness!!  So here are a few tips for you to help you get through Christmas and also cope with an affair.  Bear in mind these tips are not necessarily directly from a bible verse–they are just good, common-sense suggestions:

1) Do not ask your Disloyal Spouse to leave if they are repentant and willing to work on reconciliation. This year is going to be different than other years, and yet if your Disloyal has ended their affair, has cut off all contact with the Other Person (OP) and is actively committed to reconciliation and working hard, I would say stay in the same house and “be there” for each other.  Both of you are going to be dealing with emotions and struggling, and you can support your Disloyal, and they can support you.

If your Disloyal Spouse is still active in the affair, if they are unrepentant, if they are not committed 100% to you and the marriage, if they are still in contact with the OP, or if they not willing to work on reconciling (for example, if they are trying to rugsweep and “pretend it didn’t happen”), then I would say it may be wiser to ask your Disloyal to leave until they have ended the affair and are willing to commit 100% of their affection and loyalty to you and only you!

2) Let people know you are sad–don’t try to hide it. This is part of learning how to be transparently honest, and it’s also a lesson in letting people give to you and support you.  The truth is that you are upset.  You are struggling and hurting.  Now you don’t have to divulge every detail or use the affair to hurt or humiliate your Disloyal Spouse, but there is no reason you couldn’t let your children and/or extended family members know that this has been a tough year for you for personal reasons, and that this year you may not be as “sparkly” as you usually are. Let people see the ‘Real You’ not some fake image–that is what transparent honesty is all about: letting others in to know your real thoughts and feelings.  So practice what you expect of your Disloyal Spouse–be transparent with the people who love you–your family.

3) Ask for what you need.  Are you having a day where you just need a break–not a full stop but just a temporary halt to the merry-go-round?  Are you feeling a little insecure and a hug would help? Are you just exhausted from not being able to turn your mind off, and you need a nap?  So often we need fairly reasonable, simple things that would really help, but we expect our spouse to “just know” (somehow)! Or sometimes we just don’t know WHAT we need! This would be a great time of year to just ask for what you need. If you don’t know what you need, think about it: “What would make me feel better right now?”  My point here is that rather than expecting your spouse to read your mind, setting them up for failure, and setting yourself up for disappointment, SPEAK OUT LOUD.  Ask, “Would you be willing to give me a break?  I just need about 30 minutes to myself to re-gather my energies.”  Ask, “Would you be willing to fend off the kids so I could take a hot bath? It would really help me to relax!”  Ask, “Would you be willing to tell me 3 things about me that you love that made you want to come back to me?  I’m feeling a little insecure and I could use a little reassurance.”  Just ask!

4) Keep expectations low.  This one is SO HARD!!!  We expect so much during the Holiday Season!!  World Peace. No family fighting. Everyone getting along in a spirit of love and joy.  Endless finances. Perfect decorations.  The house stays clean all the time.  Everyone is thoughtful and finds JUST the right gift. Everyone is THRILLED when they open their present.  The cookies are golden brown or chocolatey and never ending….. AND our holiday clothing fits perfectly and no one ever gets dirty.  How can anyone do all that?  This year, you know what?  Admit your humanity.  This year, have pizza for dinner–why not!!??  Your kids will remember that Christmas FOREVER!  Stay in your jammies all day and just watch old Christmas movies together.  The point is that if you expect a quieter, lower-key Christmas, some of the pressure of those impossible expectations will give you the emotional room to deal with the affair. Plus, who ever said you couldn’t have pizza for Christmas dinner, right?

5) Make new traditions. You can see that this suggestion follows right after the previous one.  This year things just really are not “the same” and really it’s never going to be “the way it was.”  So rather than mourning the loss, why not choose to acknowledge it and celebrate it by doing some new traditions?  Some of the traditions you used to do before the affair will only serve as triggers and reminders of the painful things that occurred, but there is no law anywhere that you HAVE TO continue those triggery traditions.  So make new ones.  Do you love music and one of the things that is helping you and your Disloyal rebuild is “love of music”?  Well go to a new symphony performance or go caroling together!  There are tons of new things you can do as new traditions, and one of them might be as funny as “wait to decorate the tree until Christmas eve, and do it together as a family” or as silly as “Eat spaghetti with our fingers for Christmas dinner” or as thoughtful as “Everyone in the family donate to XYZ charity”.  Just do some new things and make one of the new traditions a way to celebrate “our first Christmas together again.”

6) Volunteer. Right now you are hyper-focused on yourself, your pain, your marriage and your family…and probably thinking about how Christmas is ruined.  But you’ve forgotten to focus on your blessings and yes, believe it or not, you have some.  So to be reminded of all that you have, go to the nearest nursing home or homeless shelter and actually spend some time there getting to know the people.  TALK to them.  Show them you care by your actions.  And when you volunteer, you’ll forget your issues as you help others.  You’ll realize you don’t have it so bad.  You’ll connect with another person who is deeply lonely and needs a friend for the holidays.  You’ll actually be acting in the spirit of the holiday!  After all, it’s not about decorating, and traveling, and dinners, and cookies and presents is it?  It’s about remembering that God was made flesh and came to this earth as a baby so that we might be reconciled to Him.  That is a MIRACLE and we celebrate THAT!!

Recovering After an Affair: Recovery Tools [Podcast]

You’ve found evidence that proves there is an affair. You’ve done all the steps to end the affair, and now you and your disloyal spouse have made the decision to try to reconcile. WHAT DO YOU DO!!!???

In this week’s episode we finish our Basic Concepts series: Recovering After an Affair, and we tell you about the Recovery Tools we recommend for couples — Myers-Briggs Personality Type, 5 Love Languages, and REBT.

If you’d like to learn about the three modes in more detail, our new program, “90 Days to Save Your Marriage and Save You” will teach you and how your spouse how to recover after infidelity.

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Ask Affaircare: I love the Lord but this time I have proof!

AskAffaircare

The Ask Affaircare Series started because our readers have questions. About Affairs. Reconciling. Marriage. Divorce. Christianity. The Bible. And God.  Initially, we tried to answer each question through e-mail, but we quickly realized that there were many people asking many similar questions, so we started this weekly series!

It’s not our goal to make you agree with us, but rather to explore what the Bible says in thoughtful, and clear manner. Additionally, we try to write our answers in a loving but truthful manner (Ephesians 4:15) because we know there is a real person – with real struggles and dreams – behind every single question. Thank for you visiting Affaircare. Keep those questions coming!


Our email question today comes from a devastated wife, who writes:

I just heard a message from another married woman specifically meant for my spouse’s ears only telling him how much she enjoyed their <intimate moment>. I told him that because of his infidelity that I am divorcing him. He has had continual affairs in our 30+ years of marriage. Never did I get any form of confirmation; but this time I have proof. I really despise the thought of my husband sleeping with other women and with me too. He’s the only one that I have ever had sex with. It hurts so bad knowing that he’s <putting my health in harm’s way> by sleeping with me and others at the same time.
I love the LORD and I want to do his will.
PLEASE HELP ME!

Dear Devastated Wife,

I am so sorry that we are meeting under circumstances like this.  A marriage of 30+ years is a long time and I’m sure you have been through the “better, worse, richer, poorer, sickness and health” that life over 30+ years gives.  Please do know that you are in our prayers.  Discovering an affair is so painful, and after such a long marriage, I’m sure it’s even worse.

So in your email you pretty much cry out for us to help you, and you do let us know that you love the Lord.  Devastated wife, I want to remind you that we can maybe give you some tips and suggestions, but that your HOPE is in the LORD… not in us.  HE can save you.  All we do is point you to Him.

So what does the Lord say in instances like this?  Well we know that God considers marriage a covenant and He takes covenants VERY seriously.  The bible verse we use here at Affaircare as our foundation verse addresses covenants: “You shall be careful to perform what goes out from your lips, just as you have voluntarily vowed to the Lord your God what you have promised.”  ~Deuteronomy 23:23.  And we’ve all heard that famous verse about God hating divorce (Malachi 2:16) but listen to the whole paragraph that verse is in!  It’s all about breaking covenant through divorce–listen to Malachi 2:10-16:

Do we not all have one Father? Did not one God create us? Why do we profane the covenant of our ancestors by being unfaithful to one another?  …  Another thing you do: You flood the Lord’s altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer looks with favor on your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands.  You ask, “Why?” It is because the Lord is the witness between you and the wife of your youth. You have been unfaithful to her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant. Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth. The man who hates and divorces his wife,’ says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘does violence to the one he should protect,’ says the Lord Almighty.  So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful.

So I think we can agree that God does take the marriage covenant very seriously, even if we do not.  And He HATES IT when one of the marriage partners is unfaithful and does violence to the ones s/he should protect!  WOW!

God’s purpose for marriage is to mirror His relationship with us, for spouses to complete each other and offer companionship (Gen. 2:18), and to create a godly legacy (Deut. 6:6)…a place where children could grow up to learn values, character and integrity.  Since we are sinners, we pervert EVERYTHING, and we perverted marriage too.  Rather than our relationships with each other mirroring His perfect love for His Bride (us), our relationships are broken and we are not intimately known by our spouses and instead we desire others.  Rather than our marriages completing each other and offering companionship, our marriages are broken and we hide ourselves from each other and choose spouses based on “what’s in it for me?”  Rather than creating a godly legacy, our families are broken and our children see us living with self-centered values, no morals, and dishonesty.  Clearly we are not meeting God’s purpose for marriage!

It would be nice if we could just end this blog right here and say “There is no reason for divorce ever. Husbands are to love their wives–Wives are to respect their husbands” The End.  Wouldn’t it?  But in real life husbands are sometimes unloving, and wives are disrespectful.  In Matthew 19, Jesus was asked about this and here’s what He said (Matthew 19:1-8):

“When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went into the region of Judea to the other side of the Jordan. Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there. Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They (the Pharisses) asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” “Haven’t you read,” he (Jesus) replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” “Why then,” they (the Pharissees) asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?” Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

What can we learn from this passage?  To make it easier to understand, I made the Pharisees’ comments blue, and I made Jesus’ answers red.  The Pharisees were asking Jesus if a married man could divorce his wife for “any and every reason.”  In other words, “He’s having a cranky day and she’s not pleasing him–can he divorce her?  She’s talking back. She lost her looks. She’s critical. Can he divorce her over that?”  What did Jesus say?  He says that the Creator put them together and intended for them to become ONE (very intimate with each other physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually)…so how can you separate what God has put together?  But then the Pharisees asked a pretty good question! They said “Well why did Moses tell us we could get divorced then?”  And look at Jesus’ reply!! He says that Moses PERMITTED (not demanded, not commanded, not required) divorce because the people’s HEARTS WERE HARD!  In other words, Moses “allowed” it because the people were sinful and determined to do what displeased God!!  And then Jesus really makes it clear: “Anyone who divorces EXCEPT FOR SEXUAL IMMORALITY commits adultery.”

So from this passage we can see that if you divorce because your spouse didn’t make you happy–you are committing adultery.  If you divorce because “the two of you grew apart” that’s infidelity.  If you divorce because “sometimes mommies and daddies just stop loving each other” you are unfaithful.  But look closely: the one and only righteous exception is divorcing due to sexual immorality.  Now it does not say that if your spouse is sexually immoral that you MUST divorce them, but rather that you are permitted.  It is allowed.  Make sense?

Further, let’s look at what the Apostle Paul says.  In case you haven’t noticed, I don’t look at just one verse, but rather at the whole paragraph surrounding a verse to make sure to get context.  Okay let’s look at I Corinthians 7: 10-16 (really you could start at verse 1):

“To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.  To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?”

What can we learn from this passage?  Well, do you know of a couple where one lives in “the city” and the other lives somewhere else, and they are perpetually separated and live as if they are single–dating and sleeping with anyone?  Paul makes it pretty clear that married people are not supposed to separate, unless it’s for a short time of prayer and spiritual growth, and then we are to come back together and be reconciled!  He also makes it clear that a husband isn’t supposed to destroy his marriage and family by divorcing his wife!  Then he goes into this question: “Well what if my spouse isn’t a Christian?” and he says if the non-believer wants to stay married–coolness show them God’s love through witnessing how you live!  But if the non-believer wants to divorce, what does the Apostle Paul say?  “Let it be so. The Christian brother or sister is not bound in that circumstance; God calls us to live in peace.”

So there are two instances where a divorce is “allowed” but not required: sexual immorality and if your spouse is a non-believer and wants to leave.

Now Devastated wife, you have mentioned that YOU love the Lord and want to do His will, but you do not mention if your husband claims to be a Christian, if he says he loves the Lord, or if he wants to do God’s will. I would posit that if your husband has committed adultery multiple times, it doesn’t seem like he is  repentant or acting in a way that is pleasing to God.  So if your husband IS a Christian and you are convinced that he is depending upon Jesus Christ to pay the penalty of his sin, then the first thing you would have to do is to encourage your brother in Christ to do the right thing and stop the adultery. If he has hardened his heart and will not stop doing what he knows is sin, you can use Matthew 18:15-17 for instructions on how to proceed.   We also have two resources for you: the Affaircare “Just Found Out” page and our article “Seven Steps You Can Take to End an Affair.”  You’ve already done Step 1 (Gather Evidence) and you already have proof…so start on Step 2, which matches with the verses in Matthew 18.

If you are considering divorce, I suggest that you seek God, pray about it, and take your time reaching your decision. Read God’s word and be sure to look for what GOD wants and not what you want.  I pray that my reply here has been a blessing to you.