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Suzie Johnson, cpc

Marriage coach & Affair Recovery expert since 1999

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WELCOME!

This website is designed to be a two-way conversation. Where you can ask questions, read or listen to my answers, advice and insights about love, trust & overcoming infidelity.

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Testimonials

I WILL DEFINITELY BOOK SOME MORE COACHING WITH HER

It was a great session I had with Suzie, more than exceeded my expectations and was of great help. Thank you very much for organizing this and I will definitely book some more coaching with her.

donna,

an Affair Partner

How to Survive Your Husband’s Affair

7 things every woman needs to know in order to survive his betrayal (while still keeping her self-respect intact)

Answered by Suzie Johnson

Updated:

How to Survive Your Husband's Affair

From the moment your husband's affair was exposed...

There’s no doubt, from the moment your husband’s affair was exposed… life instantly started to feel a bit like he was working at Burger King… as you watch him delivering one whopper after another.

Once you’ve learned about his affair…

You can either allow yourself to curl up into a ball and become a victim, or you learn how to survive your husband’s affair more like a highly skilled Kung Fu master. You can learn to redirect all of the negativity present in this situation to your advantage.

    Good news!  

This article was specifically written to introduce you to my methods on shifting to that survivor’s mindset and teach you the empowered strategies you need right now to help turn up your personal power so that his mistakes have zero power to control you. It’s your choice.You can use the menu below to go directly to any section or simply start at the beginning and read along at your own pace.

When Jen came back from soccer practice with the girls that Saturday morning, she had no idea what was waiting for her.

By all accounts, it had been a typical Saturday for the Campagnano family.  Jen had made breakfast for the family and then taken the girls to soccer practice, while her husband, Tony, went to work as a general contractor for the highly successful construction company – they had built up from scratch.

After setting the girls down in front of the TV, with juice boxes and snacks, Jen decided to take a quick shower, telling her eldest – Isabella (9 years old) to watch her younger sister. Leaving her with her cellphone – in case there were any calls while she was in the bathroom.

And then the phone rings.

Little Isabella, looking at the phone, see’s that it’s her daddy calling and answers the phone.  “Hi, daddy!”  But there’s no clear response from her father – only strange noises and muffled sounds. Not understanding what she’s hearing and why her daddy is not responding to her… she runs to the master bathroom “mommy! mommy! I think Daddy is on the phone but I can’t understand what he’s saying” Jen, steps out of the shower, takes the phone from her daughter and puts it her ear “Hey Tony?” 

At first, Jen was confused about why he wasn’t responding; but she could hear his muffled breathing in the background. 

And then it dawned…

The rhythm, the breathing, the smacking sounds she was hearing is the very last things that any wife ever wants to overhear her husband making; because, what Jen was listening to the sounds of her husband, having sex with another woman.

 “I Couldn’t believe what I was hearing” Jen later told me. “I sat there and listened for over 2 hours. They had sex two more times and I was absolutely sick to my stomach. It was like the realization of what he was doing ripped a hole in my soul – letting the nothing but darkness come in”.

Secrets revealed

Turns out life reveals secrets in the strangest ways.  Because while Tony had been busy getting it on in the front seat of his new fancy pickup truck (with built-in cell service). You guessed it. While having sex, somebody bumped into the redial button. Guess who was the last person he called? That’s right. His wife!  

So instead of his tryst being kept a secret, through a random stroke of fate – life had given his wife a front-row ticket to the show.

A few weeks later

She had told Tony to come home and pack his stuff and get out. But then after reading several of the articles on the GoAskSuzie website, Jen booked a session me – just 4 days after the date of discovery.

When I asked her what she was hoping to get out of the session – she said:” She said, I want you to tell me everything I need to know about surviving this.”

And that’s exactly what I did. 

I spent the next 90 minutes with her going down the list of insights, do’s, don’ts, checklists, and key insights. I gave her everything I thought she was going to need – to not only survive – but survive with her self-esteem still intact.

And, I want to do the same for you.

Coming up next,

Coming next is a condensed version of what we discussed in that session. Everything has been distilled down to the 7 essential things you need to know, integrate and embrace – if you want to not only survive – but to survive with YOUR self-respect still intact.

If that sounds like it would be helpful to you… let’s get started.

01

Fast-Track the Stages of Suffering

Just like how there are stages of grief – there are four stages of suffering – that a betrayed wife goes through after the discovery of the affair. The good news? There are specific things you can do to help fast-track your journey through the different stages of suffering.

The bad news? The opposite is also the case.  There are things you might wind up doing (not on purpose of course) that will substantially slow down – and in some cases – totally halt your progress altogether.

The sad news? Most people can’t tell the difference between things that fast-track and the things that prolong stages of suffering. 

But here’s the very best news of all.

That’s not going to be your story. Because coming up next is my printable chart that spells out the four stages of suffering for you – along with my important do’s and don’ts that will help you fast-track YOUR stages of suffering.

The 4 Stages of Suffering - Post Affair Discovery
The 4 Stages of Suffering
Stage 01
Stage 01

Disbelief / Denial

(This can’t really be happening to me!)

The first phase of disbelief hits you right after the moment of discovery.  “No, it didn’t happen. No, I can’t believe this! This can’t be happening!” Emotions associated with this stage: Shock, denial, fear, anger, and heartbreak. (This is when nausea bubbles up and a sense of dread and despair starts to sink in.)

Fast Track Stage One
Fast Track Stage One
Avoid This
  • Avoid talking to the wrong people (those who aren’t truly helpful)
  • Avoid listening to others or taking poor advice from well-meaning people
  • Avoid self-medicating (drugs or alcohol)
  • Avoid making rash decisions
  • Avoid trying to go it alone
Do This
  • Do seek professional help (if you feel you need to)
  • Do only talk to people who are  supportive and who you truly trust
  • Do go see your OBGYN / family doctor and get a full check-up
  • Do read my article on First Aid: Surviving the First 30 Days
Stage 02
Stage 02

bargaining

(I can make a deal to make this go away.)

After denial and disbelief, comes the bargaining phase. This is when you start to “make deals” and “offer bargains” as you negotiate with yourself, your partner and the universe.

Classic Bargaining examples:

  • Bargaining with yourself: If I change myself then I will get them to change.
  • Bargaining with your partner: I will forgive you if you promise to do these things.
  • Bargaining with God: “Dear God, if you will only make this pain go away, then I promise to go to church every single Sunday.”
Fast Track Stage 02
Fast Track Stage 02
Avoid This
  • Avoid making deals you can’t keep
  • Avoid assuming that God makes bargains
  • Avoid assuming you’re responsible for fixing things
Do This
  • Do educate yourself about what to expect in the coming days
  • Do learn all you can about the affair
  • Do separate the facts about the affair from the feelings you are having 
Stage 03
Stage 03

Resistance

(If I resist it – then I control it.)

After the bargaining falls through (as it inevitably does) then comes the resistance stage. The resistance stage is made of two key emotions – anger and resentment.

The Bad News/Good News

The bad news is that the resistance stage is the stage where most people are more likely to get stuck in. The good news is that it’s also the most painful of all the stages and eventually being in resistance can become a powerful catalyst that propels people out of suffering altogether.

Anger-resistance shows up as…

  • Indignation (How could they do this to me?)
  • Frustration (Why did they?)
  • Outrage (How dare they?)
  • Revenge (I’m going to make them pay!)
  • Passive-aggressive (I’m going to get even – but hide it better)
  • Contempt (They deserve anything and everything I do to them.)
  • Self-Righteousness – (I’m entitled to any level of bad behavior because they hurt me first.)
  • Victim-mindedness (I’m powerless without my anger)

Resentment-resistance shows up as…

  • Displeasure (I’m going to use negative emotions to punish them)
  • Despair (Nothing I do will make a difference.)
  • Disgruntlement: (Im being unfairly treated/singled out.)
  • Disgust (I find nothing redeemable about them.)
  • Discouragement (No matter what I do, it’s never enough.)
  • Indifference (It’s too painful to care anymore.)
  • Antagonism (I’m going to do the opposite of anything they want me to do.)
Fast Track Stage 03
Fast Track Stage 03
Avoid This
  • Avoid reading/watching anything that ignites anger or resentment
  • Avoid talking to people who are cynical or bitter
  • Avoid treating anger as a power source or problem solver
Do This
  • Do watch or read comedies and light-hearted content
  • Do talk to people who are high on empathy and compassion
  • Do see anger for the power-drain and guilt-maker that it is
Stage 04
Stage 04

The Seeking Stage

(I can learn what worked for others in my situation.)

Eventually, there comes a time when you realize that nothing you have tried so far is working. When this happens, it often triggers the seeking/learning stage.

Signs of the Seeking/Learning Stage

  • You no longer deny that what happened – can’t be made to unhappen. (You’ve taken a big step towards acceptance.)
  • You realize that punishing and persecuting him is not bringing the relief you thought it would. (You’re questioning your previous tactics.)
  • You realize the price of anger is your peace of mind and you’re no longer willing to make that trade (You’ve raised your self-worth.)
  • You’ve finally figured out that healing pain and tolerating pain are two completely different things. (You’ve made a transformational insight.)
  • You find yourself thinking: “There’s got to be a better way.” (You are seeking better ways of coping.)

Perhaps the most important sign

  • Instead of tolerating the suffering – you are actively engaged in a genuine search for answers, explanations, education, and strategies that provide lasting relief from the stages suffering.
Fast Track Stage 04
Fast Track Stage 04
Avoid This
  • Avoid help that only treats symptoms but ignores causes
  • Avoid short-sighted advice, memes, cliché’s and platitudes
  • Avoid content, advice or strategies that trigger victim-mindedness 
Do This
  • Do seek help that addresses both symptoms and root causes
  • Do read or watch content that educates as well as empowers
  • Do only trust that which points the way back to happiness (not bitterness)

Putting It All Together

Review the four stages of suffering I just described and ask yourself the following.  

In the past seven days, which stage have you been predominantly been in?”

And regardless of which stage it was for you… may I suggest?

You do everything in your power to move out of that stage and avoid doing anything that would prolong your suffering in any way. Do you think you can do that? I know you can.

Once you found out about the affair – it was no longer a matter of if you were going to experience suffering – the real question now is how long is the suffering going to last?

My Hope for you.

Just like how a river can move forward without knowing exactly how it’s moving forward, my hope is that you too will find yourself moving forward through all the stages of suffering without knowing exactly how you are moving forward.  

02

Don't Listen to All the Voices in Your Head

From the first moment you discovered his affair, there have been two voices arguing in the head, trying to tell you how to handle the situation.  You might notice that the two voices sound a lot like two opposing attorneys. Each one is advising two different approaches and two different styles on how to deal with him and cope with your situation.

The good news/ bad news/ sad news

The good news is that one voice is trying to help you fast-track through the stages of suffering. The bad news is the other voice is wanting you to take the long way out of the suffering.  The sad news is that many people don’t realize when they are listening to the wrong voice.

Let’s change that right now.  

Coming up next, are 2 key things you need to know about those two voices in your head – along with some great tips on helping you to correctly choose which is the right voice for you.

The voice for the victim vs the voice for the survivor

The voice for the victim vs the voice for the survivor

One of the two voices arguing in your head represent the voice for the victim. The other one represents the voice for the survivor.

  THE VOICE FOR THE VICTIM  

This is a harsh voice that argues for vengeance, retaliation, punishment, and finding a way to settle the score. This voice is quick to list all his past mistakes, flaws, and imperfections. It has convincing arguments for unforgiveness, contempt, and holding on to every ounce of resentment.

  THE CORE PROBLEM  

The voice for the victim is the one that continuously points out how, when and where you are being unfairly treated while at the same time blame-shaming you for allowing others to treat you unfairly.

Signs you are hearing the victim’s voice:

  • Tone: harsh, scornful
  • Volume: loud, screaming
  • Content: Suspicious or vicious
  • Advice:  punish them (security through retaliation)
  • Primary Tools: Fear, guilt & a sense of inadequacy
  • Archetypes: “The brat”, “the damsel in distress”, “the martyr”, “the bully”

#1 consequence of listening to this voice?

An emotional drain (fatigue) that comes from feelings of inadequacy, helplessness and unearned guilt. 

  THE VOICE FOR THE SURVIVOR  

This is a gentler voice.

It pleads for you to show leniency and compassion, and to pause and take a look at the bigger picture.

This voice brings up a list of his achievements and good qualities.

It presents arguments for mercy, forgiveness, saving the relationship, understanding, and courage.

This voice speaks more softly. It is kind, gentle, calm and confident.

Signs you are hearing the survivor’s voice:

  • Tone: Gentle, Firm
  • Volume: Quiet, Soft
  • Content: Gracious, optimistic
  • Advice: Forgive them (peace through release)
  • Primary tools: love and faith
  • Archetypes: The warrior; The sage; The angel

#1 consequence of listening to this voice?

An increase in vibrant energy that comes from a sense of empowerment and possibility. 

The difference between being a victim and surviving comes down to listening to the right voice. You know you are listening to the right voice when the story it’s telling you begins and ends with the “The princess saving herself.” 

My suggestion? 

Don’t listen to all the voices in your head (some of them are not your friends). Only listen to the voice for the survivor within.

03

Go tell it on the mountain & other bad advice to ignore

The internet is full of advice on how to handle the discovery of infidelity. And I’ve always thought it best to approach to the advice like a doctor approaches Bacteria – Knowing that some types are helpful, some are harmful, and others are harmless.

The challenge? It can be difficult to tell the difference between the three. Why? Because misguided (harmful) advice can sound like good (helpful) advice.  And on the flip side, good advice can easily be mistaken for bad advice.

Let’s clear up some of that confusion right now.  

Coming up next are three of the more common – but often misguided –types of advice – that sounds pretty good in the beginning – but actually becomes harmful in the long run – along with my reasoning for why you should probably ignore them.

3 common Types of misguided advice you should ignore

Go tell it on the mountains!  This is the advice that recommends you go tell the whole world about what they did to you. For example, post the proof of their indiscretions on social media, make sure that everybody knows what happened (workers, boss, friends, family, etc.)

The Message? It’s okay to get revenge by exposing their flaws both publicly and socially.

Why you should ignore this: The reality is that we live in a society with a strong double standard. While we may feel a strong empathy for the betrayed women, society tends to secretly judge her as well.

So, although you might win a temporary boost from retaliating like this, you will surely trigger judgment from others.  If you don’t want others to secretly judge you – don’t take pleasure from exposing the weakness of others to them.

Kick him to the curb immediately!  This is kind of advice that tells you that you should immediately divorce, reject or dismiss your husband for cheating on you. The Message? Termination is the only option for dealing with an affair.

Why you should ignore this advice:  Two key reasons to ignore this advice (1) The discovery is such an emotional time, the last thing you want to do is make instant decisions when you are emotional (higher chances of regret) and (2) the reality is that many couples do recover from affairs and go on to have successful marriages. My advice? Take your time to look at all the options.  If you’re needing help in sorting out your options on whether or not to get a divorce and stay and try to save your marriage, then I suggest you read my article called Rebuild or Divorce It will help you get some clarity before you make any decisions.

Once a cheater always a cheater! This advice suggests that even one act of infidelity is a sign of serial cheating pathology (the compulsion to cheat) and there’s nothing you can do about it.

The message: Cheating is hardwired and cannot be overcome.

Why you should ignore this: I think it is unwise to stereotype people. Even though we all have a lot in common, we are also individual people.

For example…

Just like how getting drunk once doesn’t make a man an alcoholic, just because a man strays once doesn’t mean he’s hardwired to become a serial cheater.  And yet, just like how there are some men who are alcoholics there’s no denying that some men are in fact, serial cheaters. The question facing you is which category accurately describes YOUR man. The probabilities point to him NOT being a serial cheater.

My advice?

Don’t treat him like a stereotype. Instead, look to his history, his past choices and who you know him to be for guidance about what he’s likely to do or not do in the future. Note: If this is something you would like some more information on, then you can read my article Once a Cheater Always a Cheater

Advice about how to deal with infidelity can be helpful, harmful or harmless. You must be mindful of the advice you are willing to accept. Only accept the kind of advice that guides you towards those things that are truly helpful; and not just in the short term but in the long run as well.

04

Why taking the road less travelled is often much faster

To cope with betrayal, there are basically two mindsets you fall into (a) A victim’s mindset or (b) A survivor’s mindset.

Your road to recovery is going to be either long or short –depending on the mindset you approach recovery with.  If you take a victim’s mindset – time and pain seem to drag on forever (only because it does).  Adopt the survivor mindset? And time goes much faster.

You might be wondering…

Isn’t it just a no brainer that we should all just adopt that survivor’s mindset in the aftermath of this discovery?  That’s true and yet, here’s the twist.

The twist.

In the aftermath of emotional trauma, we humans often go on autopilot mode and default to the victim’s mindset without even realizing we’re doing it.  And this is why part of my job as your coach is helping you notice when it may be happening and give you helpful strategies for overcoming that kind of counter-productive mindset.

To help you do just that…

Coming up next are the top 3 reasons why we may default to that victim’s mindset – along with some suggestions about what to do about it and when it happens to you.

3 reasons why we default to the victim mindset (and what to do about it)

Feeling like a victim is a knee-jerk reaction.  Monty Python said it best. “No one ever expects the Spanish inquisition.”

It’s the same with infidelity.  

No wife ever expects her husband’s infidelity and so she is almost always completely blindsided by the discovery.

What is our knee jerk reaction to being blindsided? (to feel like a victim)

Notice I said, “our reaction”.

Pay close attention to those two words. Because in the face of adversity, feeling like a victim is about being reactionary. It has nothing at all to do with being responsive. And the two are not the same thing.

The Reality check:  While feeling like a victim might be the first reaction you have – continuing to feel becomes a choice and it’s not an effective coping strategy.

Feeling like a victim feels justified.  There’s no doubt that what happened to you was extremely unfair.  And when you take in to account the lies, deceptions and gaslighting that went on – there are plenty of reasons to justify those feelings of victimization.  And yet, it’s also because we have so much justification – why defaulting to victim mindedness feels right and justified

The reality check: While it might feel justified to feel like a victim – that doesn’t mean that its beneficial for you to see yourself that way.

Victim-mindedness feels more familiar. Think back to your own childhood. How did the women in your expanded family handle marriage issues like cheating, betrayal, and infidelity?

Were they the forgiving type or the condemning type?

Do you recall them reacting with anger or with compassion?

Which mindset do you think they were likely to fall into?

These are important questions to ask yourself – because as Virginia Satyr once said – The strongest urge is not to survive but to do what is familiar. 

The strongest urge is not to survive but to do what is familiar.

- Virginia Satyr

And I would add…

Sometimes those two are incompatible.  In other words, that which is familiar is not always compatible with that which helps you survive.

What this means in your case, is that if the defaulting to the victim mindset is what’s been familiar to you because it what was modeled for you in childhood or in society – then chances are the urge to do the familiar might override the urge to do what will actually help you survive. 

  Reality check: Just because doing a thing feels familiar, doesn’t mean that it’s the right thing for you to do. 

Although defaulting to the victim mindset is by far the most popular way of initially dealing with betrayal by a spouse, it also keeps you wallowing in a lot of pain and suffering much longer than necessary.  

My hope for you?  

I see you overriding that impulse to feel like a victim and intentionally adopt a survivor’s mindset.  Because I am convinced that although it is the road least traveled – it’s the fastest route out of suffering. 

05

The 4 key mind-shifts you need to make

The key to surviving the pain of his affair that has been unleashed in your life, is not just a matter of time and it’s not a matter of luck; it’s a matter of making certain key psychological adjustments or mind-shifts.

What do I mean by mind-shifts?

I am talking about a type of psychological adjustment that changes your perception in such a way that it transforms the way you respond to a situation.

Here are some other words for the kind of “mind-shift” I’m referring to.

  • A miracle
  • Aha moments
  • A paradigm shift

Coming up next – are four key Mind-shift’s that I believe every wife has to make if she wants to not only survive his affair – but come out on the other side with her self-esteem and her self-respect 100% intact. 

4 mind-shifts You Must make

From seeing yourself as a victim to seeing yourself as a witness: First fundamental Mind-Shift you need to make is taking control of how you see yourself in this situation.

Here’s what I mean.

If his affair were a hit and run accident, there would be two ways for you to look at yourself. A) You could look at yourself as the poor victim (the pedestrian hit by the car.  Or B) You could look at yourself as the witness – the person sitting next to him – watching make a wreck of his life. 

Please listen.  

To survive you must have a mental shift in the way you see yourself in this drama. You must stop seeing yourself as the victim and start seeing yourself as the witness.

You know you have made this shift when…

  • You see yourself as the witness to his poor choices – but not the victim of those choices.
  • You see yourself as a witness to his immature coping strategies – and allow him to be accountable for them.

You see yourself as a witness to his loss of integrity – and not the cause of his loss of integrity.  

From a story that disempowers into a narrative that empowers. The second fundamental shift you need to make is reframing the story you tell yourself about this situation.

Here’s what I mean.

One of the signature stories, the victim’s voice likes to tell, is the story of inadequacy.

It wants you to believe that because your trust was betrayed, and because you didn’t detect the deception sooner, it means you are inadequate, or defective in some way.

Nothing could be further from the truth. 

And if you want to survive this – with yourself self-esteem intact – you will need to stop believing the voices that disempower you and start only trusting in the voices that empower you.

You know you have made this shift when…

  • You start believing the voice that tells you it’s going to be ok.
  • You start having more faith that the power within is greater than any external circumstance.
  • You start having more faith in your own ability to rise above, overcome and transcend any difficulty.

Blame-shaming to holding him accountable.  The third fundamental shift you have to make to stop playing the “blame game” to that of playing the “accountability game”.

What do I mean by playing the blame game?

Great question. Because we mistakenly assume that when people talk about “playing the blame game”, what they mean is that we shouldn’t assign blame. But that’s not what it really means. 

Here’s the real issue.

His choice to cheat was not made democratically (We know this because you were never given a vote). That means that unfortunately, the consequences of his choices are also his bear. 

However, sighting the fact that he is blameworthy is not the real issue.  The real issue is when assigning blame becomes a weapon used to shame or control him. That’s when you would be hitting below the belt and playing the blame game.

Here’s the thing. 

While blame-shaming is ego satisfying, it won’t lead to progress.

It doesn’t solve problems and it doesn’t inspire real changes. And it’s for those reasons why I tell you – in order to survive this – you are going to need to make the mental shift from blame-shaming him to holding him accountable.

Do this just as soon as you are able to and it will make a huge difference for you both.

You know you have made this shift when…

  • You realize that just because he is blame-worthy doesn’t mean he is shame-worthy.
  • You no longer use his bad decisions as weapons to “demean” him or make him feel like less of a man.
  • You criticize his decisions – you do NOT criticize him as a person.
  • You’ve stopped asking why you did it questions and are now asking “How do you plan to overcome this?” and “How do you plan to ensure you never make these types of mistake again?” kinds of questions.

From a preoccupation with the past to paying more attention to a positive future.  The fourth fundamental shift you need to make is to take control of the predominant time perspective you live in.

Here’s what I mean.

According to the time perspective theory, there are six dominant time perspectives people tend to have.  And your predominant time perspective does not affect your personality. It also impacts how much energy and resources they have available for problem-solving and overcoming adversity.  If you’re not exactly sure what your predominant time personality is, then take a look at the following graphic for some clues.

What is your time perspective?
What is your time perspective?

The good news/bad news/sad news

The good news is that people who have a predominantly positive time perspective and tend to be more resilient. (the survivors)

The bad news is that people who have predominantly negative time perspectives tend to be less resilient and more likely to default to victim mode.

And the sad news is sometimes extenuating circumstances can interfere with our time perspectives.

For example…

If something is perceived as painful enough, it can shift a person from a positive time perspective into a negative one. 

But since negativity only prolongs negativity, when you want to survive his betrayal, then you must be willing to take control of your time perspective shift. 

You need to make the shift from depressive (focusing on what went wrong in the past) to nostalgic (remembering what did go right in the past). And you will need to shift from pessimist (focusing on what could go wrong in the future) to Optimist (focusing on what could work to your advantage in the future).

Surviving is about adjusting and suffering is about the failure to make the right adjustments. And since suffering is the last thing you want to prolong – you’ll want to make these four fundamental Mind Shifts as soon as right away.

06

Unlock the power of
the GOOD “F word"

To a betrayed partner, Forgiveness is the most powerful F word.  That’s because forgiveness is the most effective technology, you have for ending suffering.

    Notice:  I’m calling forgiveness a technology and I am applying it to suffering.

I called your attention to this because, as far as I’m concerned, forgiveness is one of the most misunderstood concepts out there. It’s often because there’s so much myth and misconception surrounding this idea, why so many hesitate, resist (and in some cases) flat out refuse to deploy its healing powers in our lives after an encounter with betrayal.

Let’s clear up some of that confusion right now.

What it means: The word forgiveness comes from the ancient Aramaic language. It means to cancel, as in to cancel a debt someone owes you. Using it in this context, let’s think about forgiveness in modern terms.

Let’s say a girlfriend owes you $1,000, and she either refuses to pay it back or she’s just can’t.

Since you can’t change that – you are left with two options:

Option One: You could keep mentally and psychologically lugging her debt around for years. When you do that, every time you think about what she owes you, and how that’s wrong, it will cause the resentment you experience inside to sustain itself and probably even grow.

Option Two: You could simply mentally and psychologically and cancel the debt. When you cancel a debt, it frees your mind. She owes you nothing because you have wiped the slate clean. In your mind, it’s as if the loan never happened. Therefore, we could say, “Forgiveness means graciously canceling a debt owed to you in your mind.” 

Forgiveness means graciously
canceling a debt owed to you in your own mind.

- Suzie Johnson

Where it comes from:  True forgiveness is inspired and motivated by love. If you try to forgive to satisfy any emotion other than love, then that is not true forgiveness. It’s merely a form of denial or suppression (false forgiveness). If you are not sure where your forgiveness is coming from, then read my article on True Forgiveness vs False Forgiveness.

3 misconceptions about forgiveness

Forgiving him is a sign of weakness. I hear this one a lot. Sadly, it’s this myth about forgiveness that so often leads to creating even more resistance and reluctance. Think about it. The last thing any woman wants is to be seen as a weak person or someone to be used as a doormat.  And yet nothing could be further from the truth.

The beautiful truth:  Forgiveness is actually a sign of courage – not cowardliness.

When you think about it, it makes sense. Because which do you think is more common in our world today? 

Is it for people to forgive each other, or is it for them to withhold forgiveness from each other? 

If you said withholding forgiveness is more common, then I would have to agree with you. And why do you think unforgiveness is the more popular choice? I believe it’s because it’s just easier. What’s much harder to do, is to find the courage to truly forgive somebody. That’s what makes it a sign of strength and not weakness.

Forgiving him is a favor he has to earn.  This misconception suggests we’ve confused forgiveness with something it’s not.

Signs you are under this misconception.

  • When we approach forgiveness like a loan shark – expecting to have some type of guaranteed return before we give it.
  • When we give forgiveness like a governor granting a pardon – only after a certain period of good behavior.
  • When we see forgiveness as a welfare check – something to be given to others who are needy and ultimately less than us.

The beautiful truth: Forgiveness is not a favor you do for others – it’s a favor you do for you.

    Remember:  You are the primary beneficiary of your choice to forgive.

You are the primary beneficiary of your choice to forgive (not the offender).  Your choice to forgive his offense is for you more than it is for him. It’s is to restore peace to your mind and to lighten up the darkness in your own heart.  Bottom-line? You’ve got to love yourself enough to forgive their lack of love towards you.

You can heal without having to forgive him.  I get this one a lot as well. People write to me all the time asking – if it’s possible for them to heal without having to forgive.  My answer is always the same. No, it’s not possible.   

Here’s why.

As I stated earlier, forgiveness is the most effective technology we have for ending suffering. 

So, it might help to clarify what I mean by healing and what I mean by suffering.

What is healing

The definition I tend to use; 

Healing is the release from suffering.

Notice the word I used is release. (not to be confused with relief)

Healing from your husband's affair is the release from suffering.

When we talk about release, we are talking about the total freedom from suffering.

And so, we could also say that healing is…

  • The release from fear (happiness)
  • The release from suffering (peace)
  • The release from guilt (redemption)
  • The release from pain (well-being) 
Suffering through your husband's betrayal is when you allow yourself to burn emotional energy on things you can't control.

What is suffering?

The definition I use is this: “Suffering is burning emotional energy on the things you cannot change or control”. 

For example:

  • Suffering is burning emotional energy over the past (you can’t change it)
  • Suffering is burning emotional energy over the weather (you can’t control it)
  • Suffering is burning emotional energy over what people think (you can’t control them)

Making the connection

Knowing that suffering is the act of burning emotional energy over the things you can’t control or change, you are left with two choices.

  1. You can continue to burn your emotional energy resisting and resenting the things you can’t change or control (known as suffering)
  2. You can let them go (known as forgiveness)

    Notice:  You must stop burning negative emotional energy

You won’t be able to heal while still burning negative emotional energy about what happened, while still resenting him, while still cataloging his offenses, or while continuing to police the debt you feel is owed to you.

In fact, the only way to guarantee you can and will heal is to stop burning emotional energy over what you cannot change or control.

I know it’s easier said than done, but you will have to find a way to truly forgive the pain and offenses from the past, or the suffering continues.

Before we continue, look at the following infographic about the most common misconceptions about  forgiveness:

Top 3 Misconceptions About Forgiveness
Top 3 Misconceptions About Forgiveness

Forgiveness is the most powerful healing technology. It helps to bring about the end of suffering. To forgive is to heal and to fail to forgive is to delay your own healing. And since that’s the last thing you want – I suggest you deploy the healing technology of this “f” word in your life right away.

07

The “one thing” that changes everything else.

Although you cannot change what happened… what happens next is in your hands.  And knowing that you are not without power, is the one thing that changes everything else.

Here’s a classic Zen story that demonstrates this point.

A young man caught a small bird and held it behind his back. He then asked, “Master, is the bird I hold in my hands alive or dead?” The boy thought this was a grand opportunity to play a trick on the old man.

If the master answered, “The bird is dead,” he would let it loose into the air. If the master answered, “The bird is alive,” he would wring its neck.

The wise master spoke: “The answer is in your hands.”

The same is true in your situation. Although you can’t go back and make him undo his poor choices. 

The answer on how to survive your husband's affair and ending the suffering is in your hands.

And although you don’t have a time machine to go back and confront the lies and deceptions – that doesn’t mean that you are powerless.  Far from it. 

    Remember:  What happens next is in your hands

Regardless of what life throws at you, be it betrayals, disappointments, loss, bad luck, misfortunes, or unpleasantness, what happens next is always in your hands. You always have this incredible power in any situation. This means that when it comes to moving forward, YOU are the one in the driver’s seat. (always)

Let’s do a little thought experiment.

As you read the following, ask yourself: “What if?”

What if… out of the pain of his betrayal, I find myself rising up from the ashes like a Phoenix rising up from the ashes… stronger than before… proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that nothing outside of me has the power to make me powerless?

What if…  having been blindsided was the exact catalyst I needed to transform me from the helplessness of the caterpillar to the unlimited power and freedom of the butterfly… forever transforming the image of what is possible for me?

I believe…

If you let it, this experience could become all of that and more for you. 

    Notice:  I did say… if you let it (a very important point).  

It’s up to you to decide:

  • How your story will end (as a tragedy or as one of redemption)
  • What role you will cast yourself in (as that of the victim or as that of the survivor)
  • If the princess saves herself or lives like a damsel in distress

My suggestion?  

Decide you have the power to save yourself.

I believe just the fact you’ve read this far; is a great sign that you are ready to do more than just survive. I believe you are ready to heal.  And that tells me that intuitively, you recognize this very truth: A brush with infidelity may hurt, but it doesn’t make you powerless.

A brush with infidelity may hurt, but it doesn’t make you powerless.

- Suzie Johnson

And knowing that one thing – changes everything else.

And as you consider that – also consider this:

The two biggest myths about healing after a betrayal is it’s either a matter of time or a matter of luck. But I am here to tell you that healing is not the result of either time or luck… it’s the result of two things:

  1. Responding to the pain appropriately
  2. Coping with the situation effectively

And I have faith, that by reading this article, you have found the inspiration and clarity you need to help you get you started on the path to doing both of those things

And, yet it’s also important to note that passively reading won’t be enough to truly lift you out of the pain and suffering. To truly overcome this type of hurt – something more action-oriented is needed.

Because healing is a lot like honey. You can talk about it, think about it, or even read about it – but until you experience it for yourself – you really won’t know what it is.

And, so if you are ready to take your recovery to the next level and go from reading to experiencing actual healing – then let me strongly encourage you to take advantage of all the help available to you via my collection of Betrayed Recovery Masterclasses.

What is my betrayed partner recovery masterclass collection?

It’s the home-study version of the exact same processes I’ve personally developed and have been sharing with my clients for more than 17 years. 

This unique process has already helped to successfully guide hundreds of betrayed partners from victim to survivor, from reacting to coping and from powerless to taking back their power… in the aftermath of betrayal.

Rest assured. 

None of the tools and strategies I teach in this class are from book theory.

When you take this course; you’re only getting the best of what works. Every module is packed with my unique strategies and techniques… not because I like them… but because they have been field-tested to work, and they continue to prove themselves over time.

Am I saying?

That rather than just learning from me, what you are in fact going to be doing is learning from the insights and experiences from the hundreds of others who have successfully walked this path before you?  Yes! That’s exactly what I am saying.

Would taking a course help you?

That’s a good question, one I believe is worth exploring, you can click here to find out more about this masterclass for betrayed partners and decide if that taking the class will be helpful to you and your particular situation.

No matter what you decide…

I have faith it will be the right choice for you. And whatever path you choose to take from this day forward, that you discover your tomorrows are much better than your yesterdays ever were.

Until we speak again…

Remember… Love Wins!

 

    Keep in mind:  I do offer a step-by-step process which is proven to fast-track your recovery

You can minimize mistakes and speed up your healing and recovery process by completing my collection of Betrayed  Partner Affair Recovery Masterclasses. I hope to see you in class! 

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