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Answers and Advice for Wayward Partners

NEW QUESTIONS ANSWERED WEEKLY

How Can We Rebuild After Double Affairs?

Question

I’ve been married for a little over 4 years to my husband. I cheated on him a couple of times in the past, and he recently found out about it. I know the reason I cheated was related to the fact that I was raped when I was younger, and I never did anything to help me deal with what being raped had done to me emotionally. When I cheated, it had nothing to do with wanting pleasure or the men I cheated with. My husband was away from me for extended periods of time (6 months to a year) when I cheated. I regret what I did with every ounce of me. I love my husband very much. After he found out that I had cheated on him, he cheated on me to get revenge. It was with one of his ex-girlfriends. I just found out about this 3 days ago, but I knew something was going on when it happened. We have talked about divorce, but we want to try to get past this and make our marriage work. We haven’t really been able to spend much time with each other in the past 4 years, we have probably only been together for 2 of them. We wanted to know if you had any ideas on where we should start to try to rebuild our marriage and trust for each other. Thank you for your time, and for listening. Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve. I’m sorry to hear about your past experiences and how much they appear to still be influencing your life. The bad news is that, you encountered violence at such a young age.

The good news is, although you can’t undo the past, you do have the power to create your future. Believe me… that’s the very best news a girl could have.

About the merry-go-round you are on:

Whenever a human being encounters such a horrific experience (especially at a tender age), that event can sometimes leave an “emotional imprint” — almost like it becomes a “living shadow” that haunts you. Some people refer to it as a “pain body”. Meaning, the memory is so intense and violent that even though years have passed, the emotional “intensity” doesn’t really go away, but rather, it just gets repressed in the unconscious mind — being too painful for the person to deal with.

The good thing about “repressing trauma” is that it helps you to survive in the immediate days, nights, and weeks following the event. The bad news about repressing trauma is that, even though it helps you to function, laugh, smile and even experience sporadic moments of happiness, beneath the surface of your daily life, “IT” (the repressed trauma) lurks like the Loch Ness monster… sucking energy from you, causing you to be afraid, causing random bouts of unhappiness, and YES, even causing you to “ACT OUT” in harmful ways.

Keeping all that in mind, it’s my opinion you have two great things going for you.

1st Great Thing: the level of intelligence you have been gifted with (good for you!)

This is what has allowed you to be aware of how much this ugly event from the past is still affecting your present. It’s this keen level of intelligence that has made you aware that you need to put it behind you once and for all. It’s this same voice of intelligence that tells you… maybe you haven’t really given this man or your marriage a fair shot. Keep listening to it.

2nd Great Thing: Your resilience.

Despite the rape and aggravated violence that was perpetrated against you… despite being a witness at such an early age to what ugliness lies within the human soul… despite all the reasons you had to “give up” or to become an “ugly soul” yourself… you  haven’t.

To me, that’s amazing. You are amazing. And inspiring as well. For that, you should pat yourself on the back! Many women never get to the level you’ve been able to get to. Many do NOT come out of the same kind of situation with as much of their hearts intact as you have. I’m not sure if you’re a prayerful person, but it seems to me, somewhere along the way, you’ve gotten some miraculous help.

In case you’re wondering…

The reason I’m taking the time to list clearly for you two of your greatest assets, is simply because I believe that these gifts — “intelligence” (shown by your insight into what caused you to act out) and your “loving heart” (shown by your willingness NOT to abandon ship when things get tough) — are EXACTLY what you’ll need to finally heal that hurt from your past.

Here’s what I mean:

You’ll need your high intelligence to help you release the past. That past experience might’ve hurt you, but there’s no reason to allow it to continue to hurt you — and it’s also no excuse to let it hurt others (you can clearly see the intelligence in that).

Here’s how your other strength helps:

You’ve obviously got a big heart. And that’s a strength, not a weakness because it’s that big loving heart of yours that will allow you to take the next step in your journey.

What’s the next step? Embracing true forgiveness.

True forgiveness is the door that unlocks all the demons of the past and sets you free. It’s what frees you from suffering. It’s what wipes the dirt of the past clean.

The question to ask yourself then is: who would you be if you were dragging around the negative horrors of the past with you? What kind of wife would you be? What kind of lover? What kind of woman?

If you’d like to find out, then here are your next steps:

1. As soon as possible, go and find yourself a counselor who has experience healing sexual traumas. BE SURE they have specific experience dealing with rape survivors (even if you’ve had hundreds of hours of counseling before, it’s now time to go back and finish the healing process).

2. Read my article about The Astonishing Power of True Forgiveness (you’ll be glad you did).

3. Print the following mantra and keep it with you. Read it aloud as many times as needed.

I wish to remember that I am innocent. Today and forever.

I wish to forgive — not because it’s the right thing to do, but because I love myself enough to do it.

I wish to be released from the past so that I can embrace a better future.

I wish to know (beyond a shadow of a doubt) that I am love, and I am loved.

May wishes be granted, now and forever.