An excerpt from….. WHAT’S DONE IN THE DARK: Affair-Proofing and Recovery from Infidelity-A Self Help Guide
D Charles Williams, PhD
What Is? What Isn’t?
Action Step Six: Realizing the “Whys”
Why Did This Affair Occur?
Answering this question will not make things better. Nor will it offer an acceptable excuse. However, our minds often need explanations to make sense of the contributing factors.
Processing the meaning of the affair requires examining all the variables inside and outside the marriage that contributed to the betrayal in order to come to terms with it. The variables inside a marriage refer to problems that exist between the spouses. Problems outside the marriage refer to external factors such as jobs, in-laws, friends, stresses, and finances.
First, it should be noted that there is never a justifiable reason to cheat on one’s partner. When cheating occurs, the offender is fully responsible for their actions. In some situations, the offended partner has had nothing directly to do with the actions of the other’s straying.
Secondly, however, there are many occasions where the marital bond has become so weakened that it did not take much enticement for the cheating partner to go elsewhere. It is important for both people to fearlessly look within themselves to determine anything that could have legitimately impacted the relationship. If we are not honest with ourselves and our part in contributing to this, we will not be capable of honesty with others.
Sara and John had been married thirteen years and had one son. Several years before, Sara had delivered a daughter who was stillborn. She had never recovered from the pain and grief she experienced over this. They were unsuccessful in getting pregnant after that first year. John took a second job to make ends meet and was gone a lot. Their sex life stopped because Sara had lost interest, much to John’s chagrin. When she discovered John had been having brief affairs, she became severely depressed and even more withdrawn. He admitted that he felt Sara had given up on their marriage years ago. In his rejection, he had sought the attention of other women but admitted it had been an unfulfilling experience.
As much as a couple may hate to admit it, there are things both people in a relationship could have done differently to make the marriage better before an affair. Do some honest soul searching, and look at what you personally could have done to contribute to where your marriage is right now.
What Weakened Our Marriage?
Each partner should answer these questions independently in writing and then share their opinions with each other to compare what they each believe.
- What did I do to weaken the bond in our relationship?
- What did I not do to strengthen the bond in our relationship?
- What do I believe you did to weaken the bond in our relationship?
- What do I believe you did not do to strengthen the bond in our relationship?
- What other things could have contributed to the proverbial “crack in the veneer” that preceded the straying?
- How was that issue addressed within the relationship?
- What could I have done differently to acknowledge our problems?
- What could you have done differently to acknowledge our problems?
- Do I love you enough to want to work on the marriage?