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Infidelity literature

Charlotte77 posted 10/24/2019 06:17 AM


I’m looking for literature to help me (and my WH) understand the process of working through the trauma of infidelity, how to set out on the path to recovery, anything really to help us learn and better understand this confusing situation we are finding ourselves in.

We are attempting reconciliation so I’m particularly interested in any books that might give some helpful advice for people on this path.

Grateful for any recommendations! 🙏

gmc94 posted 10/24/2019 19:31 PM

I would start with the standbys:
1: How to Help Your Spouse Heal After Your Affair by Linda MacDonald (SI folks have posted it's available free online in PDF -but I've never checked that out personally).
2: Not Just Friends by Shirley Glass (interesting tidbit: mom to This American Life's Ira Glass)

After that, folks could give a ton of suggestions.
I probably read 15-20+ books on infidelity. If i had it to do over again, I would have stuck with just the above two (on infidelity) and focused (as the BW) on healing myself, esp trauma.

Folks on SI disagree, but I would NOT recommend either "State of Affairs" by Esther Perel or "After the Affair" by Janis Spring (Although I HIGHLY recommend Ms. Spring's "How Can I Ever Forgive You" ). IMHO, both of those books have a slant of shifting responsibility to the betrayed. I would never advise reading either of them in the first several months after dday or until the parties feel there has been some healing (my IC gave WH and I chapters to read about 5-6 months after dday and i was pretty PO'd after reading them). But "How Can I Forgive You" was excellent - another non-infidelity book that was super helpful after dday, but also in my life in general (wish I'd read it years ago). I'd suggest the BS reading that 1st - it has a single chapter for the "offending party" (here, a WS) to read independently.

"Out of the Doghouse" (can't remember author's name) seems to resonate with some WH. It is an infidelity book, written in pretty plainspoken language and directed at WHs.

I do not think it's a waste of time for a BS (and WS for that matter) to look into codependency. Even if a BS was not codependent before dday, s/he may exhibit signs of it after. Even if there aren't COD tendencies, the Melodie Beatty books (codependent no more & new codependence) may help set and keep boundaries needed after dday.

Many recommend Brene Brown's books on shame. I read them all. My WH read one - maybe two. I found them well written and helpful (frankly, whether I'd had a dday or not). '
Pema Chodron's "when things fall apart" has been helpful (it's more spiritual/mindfulness / meditation kind of thing - something I'd never imagine reading before dday, but after, I'd have done anything!).

There are also podcasts you can check out. I like a new one by Duane Osterlind and Melanie Breecker (google it). There are some with a more religious/christian bent.

so - I went and looked at some posts. Looks like the A was discovered, then some false R for 5-6 months to DDay2? Or did you suspect in Dec and then he denied until May? And that you may have a lot of anger.

One book I read around month 3-4 was "Resilience" by Rick Hanson. Not an infidelity book, but focus on finding joy and ways to rewire brains to become more resilient to the pain and loss that occurs in any life (with or w/o an A). I really loved it. You can google Rick Hanson HEAL steps to get an sense of his method.
I also began to meditate. Got a free app for my phone called Insight Timer. Can do guided or not, music or not, religion or not, etc. I found that listening to them every night helped a lot (esp that "twilight" time when I would get very emotional).

The anger is normal. A dday is traumatic, and a 2nd dday is a whole new layer. So, you may want to look into trauma healing books. There are tons on this topic. When my trauma IC learned I was reading "The Body Keeps the Score" her face lit up. That one is long, but I'm a research everything type, and loved learning about history of PTSD & therapies. It helped me better understand why I simply could not seem to find a way to control the emotions - esp the damn near non stop crying meltdowns (something I'd NEVER done my entire life).
There's an infidelity trauma book called PISD (post infidelity stress disorder). I read that one pretty early and TBH don't remember much of it (suspect I was too awash in emotion to take it in).

Most on SI (myself included) believe IC for both spouses (if financially feasible) is a good idea. MC is generally regarded as something to do after there's been a good period of healing by both parties. That was my experience, but others differ on this front. I do think it's pretty universally believed that the IC should be EXPERIENCED in infidelity - and that it's really important to ASK (it may feel awkward, but you are the 'customer' and it's ok to shop around until you find the right person. It took me a few tries and I still wish I'd pressed more on the infidelity piece - like I would want someone whose practice is well above 50% A-related treatment, or someone who has received some training/continuing education on infidelity in the last 5-10 years)

Ok. I've probably inundated you enough for one post :)

[This message edited by gmc94 at 8:15 PM, October 24th, 2019 (Thursday)]

Charlotte77 posted 10/25/2019 14:19 PM

GMC 94
THANK YOU for sharing all of these amazing resources. I don’t cry much - since DDay2 I’ve been pretty numb and all that comes out is anger, rage even, but no tears - but your reply had me filled up with tears. Thank you for taking the time to reply, I’m really grateful.

Charlotte77 posted 10/25/2019 14:54 PM

so - I went and looked at some posts. Looks like the A was discovered, then some false R for 5-6 months to DDay2? Or did you suspect in Dec and then he denied until May? And that you may have a lot of anger.

Suspected A throughout December but he kept denying it which drive me mad when all my instincts were screaming that something was wrong. I then finally discovered the A at Christmas. WH phones AP in my presence that night to break it off, promised NC, assured me over the next few months that he had not had any contact with her and I then found out in May (again, I discovered he had been lying just like the first time) that he’d started seeing her again and that they had sex earlier that week. He said it meant nothing. That he doesn’t know why he did it. That she means nothing to him. That he loves me and our family and doesn’t want to lose us.

Utterly heartbroken already from Dday1. Think something fundamental broke inside of me then, and on Dday2 I just couldn’t handle the pain anymore so honestly think it’s not been fully processed still 5 months on. I can’t bear to think about that he picked up/continued to pursue the affair after the first few months of hell that followed Dday1. Also I was pregnant on Dday 1 and 4 weeks post partum on Dday2....this breaks my heart as it’s such a vulnerable time in a woman’s life and should be such a magical, happy period. If anyone I know had been treated like this by their husband I would have (formally) been the first to say leave him, you deserve better. But now I’m the BS and I can honestly say that D is the last thing I want, and I desperately want us to come out of this stronger (and so does he, he says), but it’s just so hard.

mae19681995 posted 10/27/2019 10:25 AM

I have found alot of info at the Hope Restored Website. Please look it over and see if there is something that may help you both!
Marriage Counseling really helped us!

Charlotte77 posted 10/28/2019 03:03 AM

Thank you very much mae19681995, I’ll check it out

tikismom posted 10/29/2019 14:17 PM

By the same author as How to Help Your Spouse, this book was amazing! I gave it to my WH to read & it was very eye opening for him.

Who Will You Become? A Spiritual Wake-up Call for the Tempted or Fallen (E-Book). It is for sale on her website. You can ignore the spiritual aspect if you want; it was a great book! Highly recommend.

I am also going to pm you!

Charlotte77 posted 10/29/2019 15:00 PM

Awesome - thank you so much tikismom

looking forward posted 11/11/2019 19:07 PM


** very good **** really helpful for us

Most synopses are from the Barnes & Noble website.

**After the Affair by Janis Abrahms Spring, Ph.D. (ISBN-13: 9780061671203)
~ For the 70 percent of couples who have been affected by extramarital affairs, this is the only book to offer proven strategies for surviving the crisis and rebuilding the relationship –– written by a nationally known therapist considered an expert on infidelity.
When I was 15, I was raped. That was nothing compared to your affair. The rapist was a stranger; you, I thought, were my best friend.
There is nothing quite like the pain and shock caused when a partner has been unfaithful. The hurt partner often experiences a profound loss of self–respect and falls into a depression that can last for years. For the relationship, infidelity is often a death blow.
After the Affair is the first book to help readers survive this crisis. Written by a clinical psychologist who has been treating distressed couples for 22 years, it guides both hurt and unfaithful partners through the three stages of healing: Normalizing feelings, deciding whether to recommit and revitalizing the relationship. It provides proven, practical advice to help the couple change their behavior toward each other, cultivate trust and forgiveness and build a healthier, more conscious intimate partnership.

****The Five Love Languages (How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate) by Gary Chapman (ISBN 1-881273-15-6 ~ The basic concept of the five love languages as defined by Gary Chapman is that people communicate and feel love in different ways. Dr. Chapman has observed five different categories in which people communicate or understand love.

Humans all need each of these different things, but typically there is one that really speaks to an individual heart. Without our primary need, none of the others in any combination will suffice.
Physical Touch - this person feels love when others touch them lovingly.
Acts of Service - this person feels love when others help them out or serve them.
Words of Affirmation - this person feels love when others verbally approve or affirm them.
Quality Time - this person feels love when others spend time with them.
Gifts - this person feels love when others give them thoughtful things.

****Forgiveness ~ How To Make Peace With Your Past And Get On With Your Life by Dr. Sidney B. Simon and Suzanne Simon (ISBN 0-446-39259-6) ~ Based on their popular "Forgiveness" seminar, the author of Getting Unstuck and his wife designed to help readers let go of their pain and get on with their lives.

****How Can I Forgive You? The Courage To Forgive, The Freedom Not To by Janis Abrahms Spring, Ph.D. (ISBN 0-06-000390-6) ~ Using illustrative material from her nearly 30 years as a therapist, the author outlines four approaches to forgiveness: (1) cheap forgiveness, which she sees as an inauthentic act of peacekeeping that resolves nothing; (2) refusing to forgive, which is categorized as a rigid response that keeps one entombed in hate; (3) acceptance, which is a healing gift that asks nothing of the offender; and (4) genuine forgiveness, which the author describes as a healing transaction and an intimate dance. Spring has discovered that we are all looking for "some new approach, that frees us from the corrosive effects of hate, gives voice to the injustice, and helps us to make peace with the person who hurt us and with ourselves." This self-help book is aimed at those who have done wrong and those who have been wronged.

****Living the Truth by Keith Ablow, MD (ISBN 0-316-01782-5) ~ Dr. Keith Ablow, bestselling author and host of a new daily one-hour daytime-TV talk show, presents his first self-help book. Based on more than 20 years of clinical experience and highlighting stories from his own practice, Ablow shows how ignoring or burying painful memories and experiences can negatively affect every aspect of our lives, and he presents strategies to help the reader transform the pain of the past into the power of the future. In a world where short-term talk therapy and medication are the latest trends to "fixing" an unhappy life, Ablow's message is controversial. But though examining the past can be daunting, LIVING THE TRUTH is as comforting and rewarding as it is transformative. And through Ablow's fine storytelling skills, empathetic voice, and straight-up advice, the experience of reading this extraordinary book becomes the first step to living a truly authentic life.

**Not “Just Friends”: Rebuilding Trust and Recovering Your Sanity After Infidelity by Shirley P. Glass, Ph.D. ( ISBN 0-7432-2550-3)
~ You're right to be cautious when you hear these words:
"I'm telling you, we're just friends."
Good people in good marriages are having affairs. The workplace and the Internet have become fertile breeding grounds for "friendships" that can slowly and insidiously turn into love affairs. Yet you can protect your relationship from emotional or sexual betrayal by recognizing the red flags that mark the stages of slipping into an improper, dangerous intimacy that can threaten your marriage.

**Our Love Is Too Good To Feel So Bad by Mira Kirshenbaum (ISBN 0-380-97608-0) ~ We just don't know how to make each other happy any more."
'Sex used to be really good. Now it doesn't go right at all. You don't suddenly lose the ability to make scrambled eggs. So why would we forget how to make love?"
We can't seem to talk without fighting. How did we get into this? I know what we're mad about, but I don't know why things keep making us so mad."
Many of us have had experiences like these. Something's wrong—perhaps seriously wrong—but it's a complete mystery why a once-healthy relationship is now in trouble. You're tired of working unproductively on it, you're tired of feeling so confused, and you're tired of solutions that seem complicated and irrelevant. You deserve to know what your real couples problem is and what to do to solve it.
This book does something that no book has ever done before. It shows you how to sort through all the pain and confusion in your relationship, put your finger on exactly what's been causing all the troubles, and find the precise way to eliminate them. For the first time, psychotherapist and bestselling author Mira Kirshenbaum has identified ten love killers that cause all the pain and mysterious problems couples get into. By answering simple questions, you'll be able to diagnose your individual case and identify the love killers responsible for your specific problems.

****Too Good to Leave Too Bad to Stay: A Step-by-Step Guide to Help You Decide Whether to Stay In or Get Out of Your Relationship by Mira Kirshenbaum (ISBN 0-452-27535-0) ~ A psychotherapist draws on her years of experience as a counselor to offer practical advice on determining whether or not to end an intimate relationship, illustrated with case studies.

Re: Forgiveness & Love

How Can I Forgive You? The Courage To Forgive, The Freedom Not To by Janis Abrahms Spring, Ph.D.
She is also the author of After The Affair.

page 136 about encouraging the person you hurt to share her pain:

If you're a conflict avoider, her silence will seem preferable to her rage. But don't be fooled. Muffled pain is just as problematic as uncontrollable fury, and perhaps even more dysfunctional. If you don't draw her out and encourage her to talk through her injury, she'll never get close to you or forgive you.
I can't stress this point enough: no conflict, no closeness.
If you want to rebuild the bond, you, the offender, must regularly invite and embolden her to reveal how deeply you have hurt her. This opening up to you is an act of intimacy, a first step in lowering the barrier between you. Detachment may be her protection. But what may be protective to her is likely to be a death knell for the relationship.

Forgiveness: How To Make Peace With Your Past And Get On With Your Life by R. Sidney B. Simon & Suzanne Simon

What Forgiveness Is Not
Forgiveness is not forgetting.
Forgiveness is not condoning.
Forgiveness is not absolution.
Forgiveness is not a form of self-sacrifice.
Forgiveness is not a clear-cut, one-time decision.

What Forgiveness Is
Forgiveness is a by-product of an ongoing healing process.
Forgiveness is an internal process.
Forgiveness is a sign of positive self-esteem.
Forgiveness is letting go of the intense emotions attached to incidents from our past.
Forgiveness is recognizing that we no longer need our grudges and resentments, our hatred and self-pity.
Forgiveness is no longer wanting to punish the people who hurt us.
Forgiveness is accepting that nothing we do to punish them will heal us.
Forgiveness is freeing up and putting to better use the energy once consumed by holding grudges, harboring resentments, and nursing unhealed wounds.
Forgiveness is moving on.

gmc94 posted 12/9/2019 22:11 PM

Just my $0.02, but I am not a fan of After the Affair (but loved How Can I Forgive You). I also REALLY disliked the Mira Kirshenbaum books (I read two or three and felt all of them were BS blaming). Take it with a grain of salt, because others seemed to get something out of them.

steadychevy posted 12/10/2019 07:13 AM

Avoid anything Esther Perel. Didn't care for the blameshifting in After the Affair by Janis Spring. Avoid Willard Harley on adultery. I think his stuff on strengthening marriage in a good marriage is probably pretty good. I found Frank Pitman pretty good but can't remember the name of his book (Private Lies, maybe).

How To Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair by Linda J McDonald is very good. It's directed at the wayward but the betrayed should read it as well to see what a wayward that wants to reconcile look and acts like. Not Just Friends by Shirley Glass.

Goldie78 posted 12/15/2019 07:39 AM

I agree avoiding Esther. I really liked and still reread Healing From Infidelity by Michele Weiner-Davis.

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