Many of the men that I work with one-on-one have endured the terrible experience of discovering their wife’s affair. For a few of these men, the wife is over-the-top apologetic and doesn’t want to break up the family. She says repeatedly that she is committed to him and has learned from her mistakes. The husband is, of course, crushed, but he’s delighted to hear that his wife is not running off and living life with her affair partner… like so many other stories he has read online. Yes, he’s emotionally hurt by her infidelity, but he also can’t stand the thought of losing his wife. He’s torn… but his heart his leading him towards the path of reconciliation.
Discovering an affair can be a huge turning point in a man’s life. It calls into question all facets of his existence, including his own role as a man in the world. Many guys take this huge slap in the face as a springboard to a better version of themselves. He looks better, he feels better, and he suddenly returns to the OLD him that he left behind years ago (thanks to marriage, kids, job, stress, etc). That’s when it happens. The paradigm shift.
The guy that used to cry and pray to God that his wife would “wake up” and stay away from her affair partner(s) is now suddenly seeing things from a new angle. His wife could be genuinely working hard on herself in therapy, is now completely open with her phone, openly talking to her spouse about her faults and her commitment to the family… but the guy has just had enough.
He recognizes his worth.
Here’s a scenario I have heard from a few men who were actively working with their wives to start over again after her affair.
Man and wife go to counseling. The wife and therapist explain to the husband what they’ve been working on together in their one-on-one sessions without him. “Sally has been working more on her boundaries as well as her compulsive behavior. She’s had a couple of slip ups at work, though. Sally, do you want to tell Robert about what’s been going on?” Sally, with tears in her eyes, tells her husband about the handsome coworker who texted her the other day. She replied to him and admits to flirting a bit.. but eventually told him to go away and then deleted the conversation. She felt bad for not telling her husband when it happened… but she did tell the therapist who suggested that she spill the beans and reminded her that she was supposed to be open and honest and this was NOT a good example of putting up boundaries.”
The husband listens, sighs, and says, “I think I’m done. Yeah… this is just stupid. What are we doing? I really don’t need all of this in my life. I’m sorry… but yeah, I’m done.”
He had enough. He sees the months if not YEARS of work ahead of him… just to get to a baseline level of a “normal relationship”. He shouldn’t have to go through life wondering if his spouse is texting somebody inappropriately, or worse. He’s worth FAR too much to put up with such silliness.
His brain shifted from “What can I do to keep her and our marriage intact?” to “What does my marriage need to have in place to keep ME around?” See the difference? One comes from a place of neediness… and the other from a place of strength. He now recognizes his worth as a man. He recognizes that he’s a catch. When you’re a “catch”, you have your choice of people that you invite into your life. When it comes to the coveted title of “wife”, it’s going to take a lot to win that prize. A woman who shows an inability to keep away from other man and has destructive impulses…. Well, she’s not even on the radar for wife to the NEW you.
This ties in with the feeling of “abundance” I always mention. Life is so full of opportunity, joy and love… so why would you want to spend a moment of it trying to “work” on a relationship with a woman that is so obviously toxic and broken? When you have that switch flipped in your brain, the idea of hanging around for that kind of relationship is preposterous. You just wait for one little hiccup or hesitation on her part, and you’re out the door.
Her: “Yeah, some days I just don’t know about us… but I’m working on it.”
You: “Alright. You can have all the time in the world to think. I’m out.”
The key is to go into the dating world with such a mindset of abundance and high self-worth. Think of all the problems you could avoid by eliminating neediness and scarcity from your mind. Suddenly the concept of dating and "getting out there" seems fun... and staying in a relationship with an angry cheating loser seems like a bad joke.