Sunday, September 05, 2010

Cheating in Relationships and Marriage, Part 2, What To Do When You Know She's Cheating

Part 2 of a 3-part series: A man writes to me because he knows his wife is cheating and wants to know what to do about it. Good question! Do you know what to do? Better yet, do you know what causes it, and how to avoid it?

To continue our series, we’re going to talk about what to do when you know she’s cheating. That may seem a bit out of sequence at first glance, but if you learn this first, the odds of you handling the worst-case scenario correctly are better if you happen to be one of the unlucky few who discover an affair in progress as a result of reading tomorrow’s edition on how to detect an affair.

This letter describes a scenario all too familiar to need an introduction. We’ve all either lived through it or watched someone we know live through it. Meet Kyle:

Hello David,

I am writing in hopes you can help me to understand how a woman can change so much after 6 years just by making a new friend. A couple of months ago my wife met a woman at a high school football game and they fell right into being best friends. It quickly came to the point that they are together at least three nights a week and are always on the phone with each other for hours a day. I have never been the kind of man who cared if Cindy had friends to hang out with or not and I really believe it’s a good idea for a woman to have other women to share things with, but I also believe there is a line into each other’s personal relationships that should not be crossed.

Allison, my wife's friend, is also a married woman and her marriage is on very rocky ground. She would frequently go out of town for entire weekends and has been begging my wife to go with her so they could “have some time to be alone and talk,” like they don’t do that all day long while her husband and I are at work and three evenings a week. I did some detective work of my own on these trips out of town and was not at all surprised at what I learned. Allison was traveling several hours to spend the weekend (pretty much in bed) with a man she had met months ago.

She wants my wife to go with her because the man she was seeing has a friend that wants to “spend time” with my wife. I also found out the two women, at the age of 39, had not been going out to dinner as I was told, and were in fact spending hours sitting in local bars flirting with other men and acting like they had just come of legal age and could buy drinks for the first time. Besides being dangerous and possibly causing a car accident, the two would flirt and carry on with the men in the bar to the point I was sick to my stomach. Yes, I did follow them out a couple of times just to see what level Cindy would let things get to.

Last night Cindy told me that she and Allison would be going out of town next week to spend some time with friends of Allison in Nashville. That is straight into the arms of other men, and I am sick about this. What I need to know is how to break up these two women without losing my own wife. Allison is the worst kind of woman, always wanting men’s approval and willing to sell herself to get it and do whatever they ask to keep it. I see my wife falling down that hole and I am not sure if I can still reach her to get her out of it. If I try to talk with her about it she just laughs and tells me my imagination is working overtime. I know for a fact this time she is being set up to spend the weekend with another man and I have the conversation recorded.

How should I handle this? I could leave it up to Cindy, but this would not be the first time she has been in the arms of another man since we’ve been together. I love her and have forgiven many things most men would have never put up with, but if she does this again I am gone. I would like to be able to stop this from happening if I can so what do you suggest?

Kyle


My reply:

Well Kyle, you’re in a jam and a half. Do you know how you got there? I do. No mentally and emotionally healthy woman who is feeling attraction for a man she’s living with is going to be sucked into this situation; she won’t risk losing what she has if it’s working. About the only chance you have of this not being the case is if she’s so emotionally damaged that she would be seeking all men’s approval like her friend Allison, and you make no mention of that.

I hate to break it to you, but you’re being a wuss or ignoring her needs, and she’s either looking for excitement elsewhere or testing you to see if you’ll be a man and step up to the plate. It’s going to be very difficult for you to know which because you don’t have the communications skills to pick up on the hints and signals that would tell you. Otherwise you would have already picked up on everything she gave you that would have told you that you weren’t being enough of the alpha male and creating variety, mystery, excitement, adventure and authority in her life that protects her from boredom, her worst of all antagonists. That’s two strikes against you right there. Then we have to address her problems as well…

It doesn’t appear that she’s necessarily in an approval-seeking mode, more like thrill-seeking, but she’s lying to you about what she’s doing. Why is that? Is it because she lacks the self-respect and respect for you to tell you the truth, or because she’s tried to tell you the truth and you’ve been so deaf to it that she gave up? The fact that she’s had other affairs really doesn’t give a clue, because the affair is the symptom, not the cause, and multiple affairs are often symptoms of the same cause.

Then we have the issue of why you are still together if she’s had other affairs? Did you work something out that has since failed, or are you just a doormat who let her back in the house after she had her fling? Is she in mid-life crisis? I see that you say that this is the last straw and that’s understandable, but have you considered whether the last straw should have been several straws before? Have you considered that forgiveness in the past may have set the standard for future expectations and behavior? Or that she’s seeing how far she can push before you step up?

Right now, you’re in more trouble than any other reader who has written me, not because of where you are, but because there are so many unknowns in your equation. I’ve helped several snatch their relationship right out of divorce court, and helped others find their way to it by helping them see that they were hopelessly mismatched or with a parasite or a predator who was sucking them dry of life (and assets) with their abuse, but in the face of all these unknowns, I can’t answer your question. Mid-life crisis with information to process would be easier for both of us to handle than this information vacuum.

A real man would immediately stand up and tell her that he knows what she’s up to and that she can stay at home and be part of the family as you work out your issues or she can leave and never come back, but without knowing whether she is worth keeping, you can’t know if you want to do that. Until you can sharpen your communications skills to the point you can correctly interpret the things she tries to say to you, most of which will be either non-verbal or verbal but indirect, you can’t assess how she feels, because you can’t understand what she’s saying and can’t know if she’s telling you the truth. You have too much work to do before the decision can be made. You also must reach a level of communications competence for her to see that you are hearing and understanding her before she’ll think it’s worth the trouble to tell you everything again that she has already told you many times in the past and try to work with you. But these are merely obstacles, not barriers. You can easily navigate them with a little help.

In “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” you’ll find a fairly extensive system for determining whether your relationship with this woman is worth saving, a great course on how to communicate with all women, including a lot about how to distinguish between truth and lies (see also this archived article on lie detection), and the low-down on attraction – what it is, how it works, how to create it, and equally important, how to kill it, and why its absence from your relationship breeds affairs and divorce. Go right now to download it at http://www.makingherhappy.com. There’s no excuse for waiting, because it’s fully tested and guaranteed to work, so go get busy and start getting your house in order.

Take care,
David


What else can I say? ;-) Well, there is more, actually. We’ve been discussing this in depth, including the mid-life crisis issue, on our forum at http://forum.makingherhappy.com. Real experiences of real people, some of whom are having to make the difficult decision to stay or go right now. Come join us, and read their stories, feel their pain, fears and frustration, and learn from it. It may save your marriage, and even your life.

In the meantime, live well, be well, and have a wonderful day!
David Cunningham

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