It’s one of the most devastating things that can happen. When you discover that your husband or your wife or your partner has cheated on you. This person that you loved. This person that you believed in. You thought you knew them. You thought you could trust them.
Your life will never be quite the same again.
It’s the dishonesty and betrayal that are the worst. They’re saying “I love you”, but how can that be true when they are betraying everything that matters in your life?
Is it possible that you could ever trust this person again? Can you ever believe anything they’ll ever say to you again? Can you trust them with your life, your children, your heart?
I’ve been working with couples for many years. I was a divorce attorney in Omaha, Nebraska for 20 years and as you can imagine, infidelity was at the root of many of those divorces. Thirteen years ago, I started Sedona Soul Adventures, doing spiritual retreats for individuals and couples. I’m sorry to say that so many couples come to us as a result of one of them finding out that the other has cheated.
It’s interesting, because although it’s the finding out that causes the huge eruption and the mass devastation, there’s so much going on before the finding out occurs. Before that, the cheater has been feeling afraid, anxious, guilty, torn, confused. The interesting part is that very often, the one who is being cheated on is also feeling all those same feelings. They’re confused because they feel like something isn’t “right”, even though they can’t quite put their finger on it. They’re torn because they don’t want to bring it up and overturn the apple cart. They might feel guilty because they don’t have any real evidence, yet they’re thinking these bad things about their partner. They’re anxious and afraid because they have a knowing somewhere that something is very wrong. It’s a terrible way to live your life, feeling afraid, anxious, guilty, torn and confused, it’s devastating.
But the real devastation happens when the other person finds out. The truth comes out and the eruption happens and at that point you are at a real crossroads. What do you do? Do you stay or do you go? Do you throw everything away or try to work through it?
This is a time when you have to ask yourself some deep questions and be completely honest with yourself. What do you want? What do you need? Has this been on-going issue or a one-time, unusual incident? Have you typically been receiving all you want from the relationship?
For some people, they find they simply can’t stay in a situation where they feel they could never trust the other person again. They feel like they would be living on “high alert” for the rest of their lives. And they’re not willing to do that.
For others, the thought of ending everything is too overwhelming. The marriage is over, the family is torn apart, the emotional and financial consequences are devastating — it’s almost too much to even think about. This is when you need to ask yourself the hard questions about the impact of ending the relationship and be completely honest with yourself. What will the impact be on you? What will the impact be on your children? What will the impact be on your family? Are you willing to have your life turned completely upside down? Are you willing to try to go back into trust again?
Before you decide what you are going to do, I urge you to get help with this. This is one of the most critical times in your life and the decisions you make now will be affecting you (and your family) for the rest of your life. What do you truly want? What do you need? Now is the time to really be looking for your own healing, as well as the healing of the relationship.
In light of all this potential devastation, many people try to do everything they can to put the marriage back together and come back into a place of trust and connection. When you can talk about it, when you can let everything out into the open, you can heal. It’s difficult, it’s hard, but the healing can happen. We’ve seen it over and over again here in our retreats. There’s healing that has to happen for each person individually and then there’s the coming together and the start of re-building the trust and learning how to communicate with each other on a heart level. It’s sort of miraculous when two people can come back into a place of love and trust with each other after so much heartache and pain.
I must say, after 13 years and thousands of people, it still amazes me what can happen. People who come here on the brink of divorce and then turn it around. We just had a couple last week who came because the husband had been unfaithful. When they first came, they both told us they didn’t think there was any hope. The wife didn’t think she could ever trust him again. Through her own individual sessions, she was able to come into a level of forgiveness with him and was even able to come into compassion with him for the insecurities that had led to this. He was able to see that his wife really loves him, even though he hadn’t felt that way before the affair. Another couple who came last year and re-built their relationship after an infidelity were able to weather the storm; they are coming back again next week to celebrate and re-invigorate their healing and as they said, “to take our love to new level”. I can’t wait to see them again, it makes my heart happy.
And it’s so ironic to me that I spent the first 20 years of my career divorcing people and now I’ve spent the last 13 years helping them stay together in a more wonderful and connected way. It’s (almost) instant karma!
If your beloved has cheated on you, I want to tell you that I feel your deep pain, I’ve been there. As far as what to do, you need to ask yourself the hard questions and get some help in deciding what to do next.
When I was a divorce attorney I sent many couples to traditional therapy. And while I believe that traditional therapy can be very valuable, in 20 years I never had a marriage that was saved by it. I think that may be because therapy is about talking and about approaching things from a mental level. What’s so fantastic about our couples retreats is that they approach the situation from a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level. And certainly, relationships involve all of those aspects. When you are healing a relationship on all those levels — physical, mental, emotional and spiritual — there is some very deep healing that can occur. The couple I mentioned above who came here last year had been in therapy for over one year. Before they came to us, he told me he had hired an attorney to file divorce papers. During their retreat, everything was changed around, they came back into love and and trust and connection and had the tools to maintain it after they went home. That was a year ago, and again, it makes my heart happy.
What makes our retreats so unique and special is that they are customized for each couple and the sessions are all private sessions, not in groups. We spend a lot of time talking to each of you separately before you come to Sedona to uncover all the issues and then we custom design the retreat for exactly what the two of you need. During your retreat you’ll work in private sessions (not in groups). We have over 40 practitioners, many of whom have over 20 years experience of working with couples.
The privacy of the sessions is so key. Many people don’t feel comfortable in a group setting and they don’t want to talk about their most private issues in front of a bunch of strangers. There is also a strange dynamic that can sometimes happen in group settings, where the group seems to ‘take the side’ of one person and the other person can feel ganged up on. That doesn’t help the healing!
Also, we design the couples retreats so that you’ll work in some sessions as in individual and then others as a couple. The individual sessions are designed to help the individual heal their own issues, because everyone has different issues that are affecting their lives and their relationship. Then we’ll bring you back together as a couple, bringing you into a heart connection that you didn’t think was possible.
I’m so proud that last year GuideDoc named our Sedona Soul Adventures Couples Retreats as one of the Top Marriage Counseling Retreats in the US (we didn’t even know it until one our clients told us about it).
There is a light at the end of this dark tunnel. Amazingly, I’ve seen it over and over again where this horrible trauma and pain has led people into a brand new relationship — filled with the love, intimacy and the kind of heart connection we all yearn for.
Click here to find out more about Sedona Soul Adventures’ Couples Retreats.
Click here to receive your copy of “The Sedona Guide to Couples Retreats“