What If Your Spouse Has Multiple Affairs?
Someone who is willing to destroy relationships by getting involved in one affair after another, may have had something happen in their past that now influences their present actions.
We can be quick to judge a person, especially a spouse whose actions are hurtful and destructive; however, it is your duty as part of a married couple to really understand why this is happening and try to empathize with your spouse, even though that may be difficult (or even very difficult) to do considering the circumstances.
The first and maybe even second were forgiven but now there has been another affair.
Some tough choices need to be made about your marriage.
Does the fact that there has been more than one affair indicate there is no hope?
That you should end it and get away as fast as you can?
Or is it possible to save your marriage and save your spouse from any further infidelity?
What does it mean when your spouse has had multiple affairs and what do you do?
There are various potential reasons why someone may stray over and over again.
Childhood or past experiences/trauma: Experiencing physical, sexual, emotional, verbal abuse or neglect can have lasting, detrimental effects on a person.
Even if the past experience is not fully traumatic, such as having multiple boyfriends or girlfriends leaving and feeling inadequate as a result, this could still bring about strong emotions and beliefs that affect future actions.
Let’s take a look at a scenario:
A married minister has had 13 affairs.
As a child, he was sexually abused by his father’s lover, who was a man, and was also physically abused by his father.
He finally became so overwhelmed by his past and his recent choices, that he left the ministry and his marriage.
Sexual addiction: Someone who is clinically diagnosed as having a sexual addiction needs to be treated like anyone else with any type of addiction.
There are reasons why the addictive behaviors originated and this person will need the help and support of his or her loved ones and more than likely a professional who is equipped in dealing with sexual addictions.
Feeling alone and needing to feel loved: Someone seeking love is another reason; maybe their spouse isn’t fully giving themselves to them, is rejecting them sexually, or isn’t paying attention to them; their priorities are skewed.
Instead of feeling alone in the marriage, they seek out affairs in order to feel wanted and loved.
Consider this: Often people who are in AA say that s/he likes the way alcohol makes them feel — this is true for all addicts and even those who engage in repetitive destructive behaviors, such as consistently having extramarital affairs.
Why do people excessively drink or do drugs?
—They want to escape from the real world by getting high.
Why do men who are happily married go to a strip club?
—They want to escape from the real world with sensuality.
Let’s look at another scenario:
Don has cheated on his wife (Chrissy) multiple times with prostitutes.
He wants to feel loved by people because he doesn’t feel absolutely loved at home.
He has a fear that his wife will leave him, which partially stems from his childhood when his parents split up multiple times.
He also had an abusive father and had to call the police to get his father out of the house after beating his mother.
There has been significant trauma, which partially explains his behavior (but does not justify it).
Throughout his young adulthood, there were many sexual relationships without any emotional attachment and many affairs; his repetitive destructive behaviors signify the experiences he had had as a child and teen.
Now Don goes to therapy regularly and is trying to figure out how to stop the self-destructive patterns in his life and how to go forward to have a healthy relationship without cheating and ruining a good thing.
Don may never get Chrissy back, but at least he is admitting his flaws and choosing to work on himself in therapy.
Each spouse needs to get past their hardened hearts and deal with the pain and primary reason why the one spouse is doing what they are doing.
With openness, communication, vulnerability, possible therapy, and absolute commitment, a marriage can be saved despite the past hardships.
How can we help our spouse deal with the pain?
Become a safe listener.
Do not judge or preach.
Allow your spouse to fully open up, even if you are afraid of what they have to say.
Use questioning (the right kind) to fully understand where your spouse’s pain comes from.
Validate what your spouse has to say no matter what they say.
It may take the help of a therapist to get to the root cause(s) of the destructive behavior that is ruining the marriage.
Have patience and realize that healing is a process.
You must decide whether or not you are willing to tough things out with your spouse and help them.
If not, you will need to move on and allow each of you to heal individually.
If you or your spouse has had multiple affairs, things are not hopeless.
If both parties are committed to continuing the marriage and can take the steps necessary in order to create a healthy relationship by replacing those destructive behaviors, it can work and you both can heal.
ALSO SEE: What Is Limerence?
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