Cheating Husbands Confess
Suzy: I don't ever want to forget. Remembering the pain that I went through helps me remember the many blessings and lessons that came with it. There is a big difference between forgiving and forgetting. You forgive for yourself. You forgive because you who harbors the anger is suffering much more than the person at whom you're angry.
Oprah: It's interesting that you say that, because I think so many women do want to forget. They want to put it of your mind, move on as though it never happened…and you're saying that you can't really do that.
Suzy: While I was going through the experience, it's so terrible, it's so devastating, I would have swallowed any pill that you could have given me that would have just instantly obliterated this whole thing from my mind. But having been through this whole process and seeing the difference it's made in me and my relationship, I'm grateful for it.
"I had been married to Linda about a year when I met the other woman. We ended up being together that first night…and stayed together for over five years. She was my best friend. She was my lover. She was just a part of me." Fred began blatantly hanging out in bars with his girlfriend, often not coming home until 4 in the morning.
Just months ago, Linda discovered that her husband had been cheating for most of their seven years of marriage. "I never had a clue," Linda says. "I guess I should have known then, but I trusted him." She hasn't kicked him out yet. Can their marriage be saved?
Dr. Gail Saltz, author of Becoming Real, says, "Linda, I don't think you like yourself very much. The reason I say that is you're saying the problem is about him. It is his problem, but he's doing it to you. It's really a form of abuse. Betrayal, rejection, repeated abandonment. … He moves out, abandoning you, abandoning your child…that is emotional abuse. If it was this problem that he hit you, it might come from something inside of him, but it would still be your problem. I don't see this as a workable situation."
"Absolutely no good. There is no marriage if there is no honesty," says Dr. Saltz. "If you are not willing to go do the intense work that it would take to change yourself, whatever it is…doing these risk-taking behaviors, and frankly not being respectful at all to women…. Unless you're willing to look at what drives you to do this, which probably, we see a common theme here, has something to do with fending off depression, anxiety. That's very common when they talk about those addictive feelings. It's a need to push away very negative disturbing feelings by doing repetitive, exciting behaviors. Unless you're willing to look at that and make real changes in yourself, there's no shot here, I'd say."
Dr. Saltz explains to Linda, "Your son is going to grow up and cheat and he's going to treat women like garbage, because that's the lesson you're giving him. You're not demanding any respect for yourself. You're not telling him I like myself and this is the way I expect my partner to treat me."
"If you [each] find a way to take care of yourself, to find love within yourself, peace within yourself, once you get there, you then can come together and find love for each other. It's a long program. It took us years and we work on it every single day. … You find first this feeling inside that you trust yourself. I wouldn't be hung up on whether you trust him or he trusts you, I would be more concerned about trusting yourself. And once you get there where you really trust yourself and you're working together, then there is an opportunity to be a couple and to be in love and to move forward."
"You need to know: Who? Why? The basic, where it happened? Do you love her? Is it over?
"The answer to 'Is is over?' really has to be 'Yes.' The person [having the affair], a man or a woman, has to give up that other person. As you hear, it can be very difficult. I hope this is a warning, to some degree, to people who are even thinking about having an affair, because there is a myth out there that some people believe it will spice up their relationship. They think that it will actually help their marriage when they are feeling bored. But it never, never works that way. And so you need to end it and, unfortunately, sometimes that means you get hurt. And that other person who is involved gets hurt."
To help the healing process, Dr. Saltz says you should only know the basic details of your spouses' affair. If you know too little or too much, your fantasies will run away. "I recommend against getting the gory details. That's not good. What that does is basically create new memory trauma. Recovering from this is almost like recovering from post traumatic stress disorder. It's a traumatic event."