rebuilding your marriage after an affairTherapist Mark E. Smith, LCSW has a somewhat unique take on what is required for rebuilding your marriage after an affair.  At least it’s a unique perspective for me since I was completely unfamiliar with it until just recently.

Smith’s theory all stems from this whole notion of abandonment.  I have to admit, that up until a week or so ago my assumptions about it were very simplistic.  Not until I read a few articles and listened to some audio on the subject did I gain a greater understanding.

So first of all, what exactly is abandonment?

The basic premise of abandonment is that many people have at some point been abandoned in some way, shape or form – usually in their childhood.  These feelings of abandonment then are carried forward into adulthood, and based on many experts views, responsible for seemingly every aspect of our lives.

Smith says that you do not have to remember the abandonment, think it is important or give any credence to it at all for it to continue to dominate your life.

Smith says…

“Since I was never really connected to my father I never dreamed that his distancing and unavailability would affect me so strongly as an adult. Children are extremely needy little creatures but when those needs aren’t met during childhood then the core of the adult, years later is basically an irrational infantile abandoned little kid. Obviously that will cause serious problems in an adult relationship. You cannot run from your wounded childhood, my friends. The more that you try to bury your wounds the more you attract significant others who treat you in very much the same way that your parents did.”

A person who has abandonment issues will have an oversensitivity and overreaction to loved ones when they back up or seem to back up for whatever reason.

Some examples of abandonment

Psychotherapist Susan Anderson, an abandonment expert and author of The Journey from Abandonment to Healing: Turn the End of a relationship into the Beginning of a New Life,  says that abandonment is…

  • A feeling
  • A feeling of isolation within a relationship
  • An intense feeling of devastation when a relationship ends
  • An aloneness-not-by-choice
  • An experience from childhood
  • A baby left on the doorstep
  • A woman left by her husband of twenty years for another woman
  • A man being left by his finance for someone ‘more successful’
  • A child left by his mother
  • A friend feeling deserted by a friend
  • A father leaving his marriage, moving out of the house, away from his children
  • A child whose pet dies
  • A little girl grieving over the death of her mother
  • A little boy wanting his mommy to come pick him up from nursery school
  • A child about to be ‘replaced’ by the birth of another sibling
  • A child needing his parents but they are emotionally unavailable
  • A boy realizing he is gay and anticipating the reaction of his parents and friends
  • A teenage boy with his heart twanging, but afraid to approach his love
  • A teenage girl feeling her heart is actually broken
  • A woman who has raised a family now grown, feeling empty, as if she has been deserted, as if the purpose of her life has abandoned her
  • A child stricken with a serious illness or injury watching his friends play while he must remain confined to braces, wheel chair, or bed
  • A woman who has lost her job and with it her professional identity, financial security, and status. Now she is left feeling worthless, not knowing how to occupy her time – – feeling abandoned by her life’s mission
  • A man who has been ‘put out to pasture’ by his company, as if obsolete
  • People grieving the death of a loved one report feelings of abandonment
  • The dying fear being abandoned by their loved ones as much or more as they fear pain and death
  • Suicide is an excruciating form of abandonment
  • Abandonment is all of this and more. Its wound is at the heart of the variety of human experiences, and is found in the uniqueness of each person’s life.
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This made me think…

While writing this, I started to think about this whole abandonment thing and if it had any effect on my own life.  Certainly I have been rejected a time or two by girls in my younger days.  I’ve lost a job – more than one actually.  I’ve had a pet die. My father was always around and he was a very honest, hard working, good man and a good father, he and I are different people and were never really that close in the true sense of the word.

So I guess I’ve been abandoned. 

Haven’t we all in some way?

If having an emotional affair is any measure as to the degree of abandonment, then I guess I’ve been abandoned more than I realized. 

I assume that the degree to which we have all been abandoned has a direct  correlation to the issues we have as adults. If that were the case, a person whose parents left them at the orphanage steps should have more abandonment issues as an adult than someone whose pet hamster was eaten by their cat.

Or perhaps the accumulation of  multiple yet smaller instances of abandonment have some sort of a compounding effect on us over time and cause similar issues that a single, large instance would.

What does abandonment look like?

Smith says that when someone suffers from abandonment issues they can manifest themselves at some point in ways such as these:

  • The husband whose neediness makes his wife want to throw up
  • The lawyer who clings on to her clients
  • The wife who weeps uncontrollably all throughout a therapy session due to her husband’s distancing
  • The girlfriend who has a complete meltdown due to her boyfriend hanging out with his buddies for an evening
  • The parent who can’t let go of their adult children
  • The husband who freaks out when his wife so much as jokes with another man 
  • The wife who verbally abuses her stepchildren because she is profoundly jealous of having to share her husband with them
  • The spouse who shuts down and can’t talk unless their mate gives them their 100% undivided attention.
  • The victim-like and pouty husband who silently sulks around for days because his wife wasn’t in the mood for sex when his neediness demanded it
  • The reactive wife who completely ruins a family get together because her husband was 10 minutes late
  • The boss who cannot fire an employee who should be fired due to his neurotic inability to let go
  • The depressed and raging husband who simply cannot forgive his wife for her affair after years of dialogue even though his lack of relationship with her was a major contributing factor in her behavior.
See also  Do You Want to Be Independent or Codependent?

He says that…

“The main problem with abandonment is that when it comes up inside you, it is very much like becoming instantaneously drunk – impaired, reactive, defensive, out of control, non-objective, stubborn and absolutely impossible to speak rationally to. Abandonment issues cloud and distort reality. What you see seems so real, but it is actually a projection from within your own deeply wounded and abandoned soul.”

What I found really interesting is that a person with abandonment issues will only be attracted to someone who basically has the very worst (disguised) qualities of the person who abandoned them.

It then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy…

“At your core you are utterly and completely terrified that your spouse will abandon you, then they eventually do, in some way shape or form because it is their nature to do so; then you spend the rest of the relationship unintentionally but quite obnoxiously chasing them away due to your insecurities. It is a vicious cycle that can easily continue to replay itself until it completely destroys the relationship.”

Abandonment and rebuilding your marriage after and affair

In the video below, Smith details his thoughts on rebuilding your marriage after an affair based on the theory that the affair was in some way a result of one or both partner’s abandonment issues.

Some of the points he addresses:

1. There are absolutely NO victims in marriages, even if your spouse cheats on you! Affairs do not occur in highly emotionally and sexually intimate marriages. They do occur with startling regularity in marriages that are distant, emotionally cutoff and lacking in intimacy and commitment.

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2. Playing the victim role will destroy whatever chance you had left of saving your marriage. Victim-like reactions have caused more divorces than affairs ever caused. You need to own your 50% part of the marriage.

3. It is natural to try to grovel and to cling to the betraying spouse, but it is the exactly the wrong thing to do. The knowledge that your spouse has been with somebody else brings up powerful feelings of abandonment. However, clinging, pursuing and prematurely forgiving are all wrong moves.

4. Therapy is an absolute must.  I’m not surprised to hear him say this since he is a therapist, but it’s hard to argue with the notion that you have to fix the underlying problems that caused the affair to begin with. The affair isn’t the problem; it is a symptom of a bigger problem.

Resource mentioned in the video: “Love Must Be Tough” by Dr. James Dobson.

Mark Smith’s and the Family Tree Counseling website:   Family Tree Counseling

Here’s the video…

In closing, Mr. Smith says that recovery from abandonment issues should include intensive work in group therapy that focuses on childhood abandonment memories, the ability to learn to hear your significant other even while “under the influence” of abandonment, and the developing of the ability to observe situations much more objectively rather than having a knee jerk reaction to the misperceptions and distorted realities caused by abandonment wounds.

In essence, a person will have to learn to see the world as it is without the tainted cover of insecurity, jealousy and childhood abandonment.


    42 replies to "Abandonment and Rebuilding Your Marriage After an Affair"

    • Gizfield

      I dont see that number one is backed up statistically in any way. One of the audios on here said that the MAJORITY of men who cheat are happy and love their wives. It’s not YOUR issues causing it, it is their issues. We’ve seen many, many instances on here where people cheat when they have every reason not to.

      • Recovering


        I agree! I had absolutely NO say in whether he cheated or not, yet I endured more pain than he could ever have imagined. It would’ve been easier had he shot me in the gut or something… yet THEN I would’ve been a victim!! If someone does something to you AGAINST YOUR WILL then you are a victim! I was victimized by my husband by his cheating! That doesn’t mean that I am taking the stance to feel sorry for myself and be a victim forever… I too want to live a happy life again, so I am forcing myself to do my damnedest to move forward and reclaim my life. But don’t ever say that I had a hand in his cheating! I had a hand in his unhappiness, but he held the loaded gun and didn’t express his unhappiness to me, or that this whore was hitting on him to me… I did NOT have that choice… Maybe that is overly simplifying what the article is trying to say, but I am so sick and tired of the betrayed being blamed! I didn’t take his clothes off and her clothes off and force them to do it! I would NEVER have allowed that – and he knew it yet did it anyway. Other wise he wouldn’t have had to lie and hide it! Yes, I was a victim! And now I am trying to work my way back into my life as a RECOVERING victim!

    • exercisegrace

      I agree Giz. Number one flies in the face of pretty much EVERY other book, article and research I have read on infidelity. Two people, without my knowledge or consent, caused me serious harm and exposed me to a venereal disease. Their choices nearly destroyed my marriage and my family. They battered my self-esteem. So, YES I am a victim of infidelity. MY CHILDREN are the victims of infidelity. They have lingering issues related to the fact their dad disconnected from them for over a year while pursuing the relationship with his parasite. This same parasite who stalks, bullies and harasses them and me to this day, causing us to get an attorney involved.

      Do I CHOOSE to live my LIFE as a victim? NO. I am working very hard to make this a PAST chapter of my life.

    • Broken2

      Wonder if the author has ever been cheated on? He may not feel that it’s victimless if he had. I also totally disagree that affairs don’t happen in marriages that are good only those in crisis…we all know of many people on this board that are blindsided by the affair.
      I see myself in some of this …I am over reactive to many things and I do feel a sense of abandonment at times. My father was a drunk and never did anything he said he was going to do so I can see my issues with him in my own marriage. I have always had an issue with people doing what they say they will do and we have talked about the affair in that context. I didn’t trust men in general and my husband handed me the ultimate betrayal of trust so I can see the correlation. Therapy is a must…I don’t agree with that. You can do it on your own or you can use therapy….that’s a personal choice. “Playing” the victim, I have an issue with because you are a victim…and because you are you need time and as much time as it takes for your senses and you your being to calm down, process and move on. Each recovery time is different. I do agree that neediness and clinginess isn’t attractive but at first it’s the reaction many people have until they get some strength back. Anyways good and no so good article.

    • livingonafence

      What, is Nicole back?

      Sorry, but if one could see the damage of an affair, it would be so brutal that everyone would call the betrayed a victim. Just because it’s emotional there are no ‘victims’?

      I love this guy. Does he blame murder victims claiming they weren’t living life to the fullest so they have to own 50% of their death too?

      I may own 50% of the problems in my marriage before the affair. Once the affair was dragged in, all the other problems combined equaled about 10%. I owned half, or 5%. My H now owned 95%.

      Yeah, he’s never been cheated on. I’d actually bet he probably cheated at some point.

    • forcryin'outloud

      OMG and WOW! In his poorly shot, sweat producing video Mr. Smith speaks in absolutes. Human nature does not work within a paradigm of absolutes. If that were the case we would ALL be predictable robots. I would think with his BA in Sociology and MSW he would not speak in such a despotic manner.

      I take issue first with his statement, “There are no victims in marriage, ever.” Does that include the first time a husband cold-cocks his wife or a drunken spouse says/does something damaging to the other spouse? His response to this would most likely be to expound on how we “recruit” these people to hurt us. Recruit being his word on how we chose a mate.

      Second statement, “Every single person that I have ever worked with whose spouse has had an affair was abandoned by their parents or abandoned in some way in childhood. Did you get that?” News flash – My H was abandoned by his parents at the moment of adoption and I didn’t cheat on him. It was the other way around. So herein lies the danger of dealing with absolutes.

      Mr. Smith comes across angry, frustrated and sweaty.

      • exercisegrace

        FCOL….SAME HERE! I was never abandoned in childhood. Quite the opposite. My husband, on the other hand was raised by an alcoholic and one of the most emotionally cold, and bankrupt people I have ever met in my life.

        He pretty much has it backward in my book. I sure no one in real life listens or heeds his advice. I pity them if they do.

        • forcryin'outloud

          I agree EG. He’s a “little bit more” than off base.

        • Teresa

          Yes! My H was “raised” by an alchoholic, cheating father and a mother who is so cold and bitter, just being around her you can FEEL the toxic poison rolling off of her…and I feel sorry for her NOW, since I’ve learned that his dad is Passive Aggressive…I had NO idea what that meant, but I KNEW there was something different about his dad, when I first met him!
          And I found out in Jan. that my H is PA also….the gift that keeps on giving! BLEH!!!
          My H has two older sisters and a younger brother….and NONE of them are in happy marriages…in fact, his two sisters are separated from their husbands, and my BIL calls just to complain about his wife, who leaves him at home and goes off to their beach house for “alone time”! HA!

          And I didn’t watch the video, but I was NOT abandoned as a child….In fact, I was loved and was the apple of my grandparents eye!!
          What I am is a Pleaser…and THAT is why my H took advantage of me and my trusting nature and had his EA!
          He needed admiration to milk his own low self esteem…Oh, and BTW, the cow, now SHE was abandoned by her father…she has NO idea who he is, and her mother has refused to ever tell her anything about him!
          So lets see…she’s a cheater…and SHE was abandoned…so I’m thinking this guy has his “facts” backwards…and I stand by what I’ve always read….A cheater cheats because THEY have issues…not the other way around!

    • livingonafence

      I didn’t watch his video. So does he say in a roundabout way that if you have abandonment issues then your actions will cause an affair? Please, tell me that isn’t what this guy said.

      • forcryin'outloud

        That’s what the sweaty man said. The statements I quoted are verbatim. I listened at least 6 times to ensure I was hearing him correctly. The mocking statement “Did you get that?” was the most irritating and yes it was spoken as a condescending statement not a question.

    • livingonafence

      Not to mention, that’s an easy fit. Look at his list of ‘abandonment’. It is EVERYTHING. So therefore, every person that has been cheated on, or has cheated, or has not cheated or has not been cheated on was abandoned according to his definitions.

      Doug, shouldn’t you at least agree with these people before you post them?

      • Doug

        LOAF, No I don’t think that we have to agree with everything they say. I was just presenting another therapists point of view and everyone is free to make their own decisions as to whether or not it makes sense for them and their situation. I find this whole abandonment theory to be quite interesting but I certainly don’t agree with everything that Mr. Smith says.

        • livingonafence

          But once you accept that basically everyone has some form of abandonment issue, doesn’t that negate any real association? There isn’t a person alive that hasn’t, at some point, experienced abandonment at some level. That’s like equating having felt physical pain to cheating. We’ve all felt physical pain. We haven’t all cheated.

          What is known is that people that cheat have issues of some form. They aren’t all abandonment. And the fact that this quack claims that ALL people that have been cheated on are the problems because of their abandonment issues – well no, you don’t need to agree with every post you put up, but to willingly post something that insults those that were betrayed, as if their issues caused their spouse to become a lying cheat that takes complete advantage of the trust of the BS? That’s really inexcusable imo. This man shouldn’t be given any credit whatsoever, and he certainly shouldn’t be rewarded by having his crap used on other sites as some kind of ‘tool’.

          • Doug

            Once again LOAF, you are entitled to your opinion. I certainly did not intend to “insult” any betrayed spouses. You are more than entitled to consider this guy a quack, but I don’t think that you can argue that there is a possibility that somebody who read this – perhaps a cheater, a betrayed or an OP – may have paused to reflect on his or her own situation, his or her own childhood experiences – and may have gained some insight into their own behaviors or feelings and/or those of their spouse. To me, that’s is one reason that makes a post worth reading. I’m not endorsing this guy’s philosophies in any way, but offering another opinion – even if different then our own – is worthwhile from an educational and thought provoking standpoint – and may just help somebody out.

    • Battleborn

      So I guess when my first husband broke my jaw I was not a victim? Oh that’s right, I have to own my 50% and I was the cause of his Affair because we weren’t highly emotional and sexually intimate….. There is something wrong with his thinking.

      While I believe there are underlying reasons for the jerk having an affair, there are so many therapists who want to find an excuse for them. So my H mom abandoned him he has a justification for an affair later in life. F’ing bullshit! Point of fact, my MIL didn’t abandoned him, I was just using that as an example. I was adopted so I can go out and have an affair and say “oops sorry, it’s my abandonment issue that made me do it!”

      Damn isn’t there anything called accepting responsibility anymore?

    • Paula

      Basically, we all have “issues” but we all also have free choice. So everyone has “abandonment” in their lives but we don’t all choose to cheat. Interesting, but not on the money, for me.

    • Gizfield

      Immediately after my husband told me he wanted a divorce and that he had committed infidelity, like everyone else I ran to the library and came home with a stack of marriage/affair advice books. It did not take long to find out most if them had a similar theme. “the cheating was not your fault, BUT if you had (fill in the blank) it wouldn’t have happened.” Now from my understanding, anytime you use the word “but”, it negates anything in front of it. I was getting enough if that crap from him, thank you very much.

    • Gizfield

      Anyway, I was very happy to find this site. Doug and Linda have been though this, as have we all. I dont agree with anyone 100% of the time but what would be the fun in that. I like reading general psychology books and find that pretty helpful. I went to therapy and did not find that helpful. He was interested in finding out “what was wrong with me” that I would stay with a cheating husband, lol. I never told him that my main concern was that my five year old daughter never call a road whore who would date my husband Mommy. I think thats pretty straight forward myself. She.ll be ten in a couple of months so I’m thinking she wouldn’t have to be exposed to that even if we broke up now. I do credit the

    • Gizfield

      I do credit the book and movie Fireproof with changing the way I view love and marriage but even though I am a christian some if the advice was beyond my capacity I guess you could call it. I also like Mort Fertel and Dr. Huinguiza (spelling?) for the most part. I also had a book from like the 70s or so called The Electric Woman, believe it or not, that had a positive influence on me. I decided that most issues really aren’t that important to me, and I let my husband decide them. Or at least ask his advice/opinion which I never used to do. I know it’s old school but it’s really worked well for me. Ninety percent of the time I really dont care where we eat dinner, or something like that, lol.

    • Gizfield

      Battleborn , I totally agree with everything you said. It’s no excuse, for anyone.

    • Paula

      I felt that after reading this properly on a big screen, instead of squinting at it on my phone between lectures, that this is just another thinly disguised version of, “what did you do wrong to make your husband cheat?” “If you don’t let it it go, you will never heal, no matter that your heart is shattered.” Well, d’uh! As I said before, we all have baggage from our pasts, we all live lives that we hope are fulfilling and with purpose. When infidelity occurs, there is not always a way back, and it is not always because one and/or the other has not done the work required post affair. Sometimes the taint is too great, and healing just won’t come. As my good friend sent me the other day, when you smash a plate, then you apologise to the plate, is the plate any less broken? Mmmm, seemed to fit my reality quite well, and I would like peace and healing, I do like my ex, but I can’t let him back into this heart, and I can’t let anyone in the way I used to, I am NOW too damaged to love that way again, self love and non-romantic love of others, are doing the trick for me, and I feel safer this way. And if some self-help dude thinks that I have screwed up – so be it.

    • Strengthrequired

      You have not screwed up Paula, this was not your fault.

      • Paula

        SR, oh, don’t worry, I know! I am actually in a good(ish – goodish is the new marvellous!) phase at present, I have ALWAYS known, from the very minute I got the OW’s text outting their affair that I had no idea about, that this is in NO WAY my fault. I have never taken on any of the blame, hey, I know I wasn’t a Stepford Wife, but I was pretty darn close, lol. He will tell anyone who listens what a great girl, support, mother, employee, partner I am. I have no problem with any of the self blame – maybe I did briefly in the first year from time to time, but certainly not since.

        • Strengthrequired

          I’m glad Paula. I’m pleased you aren’t taking the blame, I know I blamed myself initially at the start if my h ea. It took a little while for me to stop taking the blame for something I didn’t do.
          I guess I felt as though everyone else was blaming me, so maybe it must be true. I see how when you are hurting, you look at yourself first to see what you may have done wrong, for The closest person in your life decided to betray you

    • Gizfield

      I think, for the most part, the marriage industry is like everything else and follows the Money. Their audience is Betrayed Spouses, not cheaters. If they can convince the BS they did something “wrong” they can get them back with advice on how to “correct” their wrongdoing. And honestly, most of the advice I’ve seen seems to prolong the buffoonery of the cheaters. Also, a lot of BS force their spouses to read book s, go to therapy, etc. and if it’s too anti cheater, they probably won’t accept it, lol. They dont like it when the conversation gets back to whats wrong with THEM, lol.

    • exercisegrace

      Giz, as usual I think you have nailed it. Sadly, the betrayed is usually desperate for a WHY. We need and want to understand what went wrong, what did we do or not do to “cause” our spouse to cheat on us. We want there to be a concrete, solid, confrontable, fixable reason. After a year and a half of therapy both individual and marital, I am starting to accept what my husband keeps telling me. This had nothing to do with me. I could not have prevented. I could not have loved him enough, supported him enough, respected him enough or WHATEVER enough to make him not cheat. THAT came from the brokenness within HIM. His issues and depression drove him to his own bad choices.

      Can we learn and grow from his mistakes? Absolutely. Can our marriage benefit from all this counseling?j Yes. Are we learning to communicate more effectively? Yes, because he was NEVER good at talking about emotions and how he is feeling. He can see it makes a big difference in HIS life. HE feels better letting some of that out.
      I will never take one ounce of responsibility for what he chose to do. I AM the victim of his infidelity, but I also am working to NOT let that define me as a person. Its what happened to me, but it is not who I am.

      • Sadsomuch

        My husband has always been terrible at communication. That is one reason that the EA hurts so terribly because what did he talk to her about in all those text messages and phone calls. He did admit that she was a talker and that he liked the way she made him talk. On DDay he informed me that he loves her as much as he loves me. I will not tolerate his feelings for another woman and said you either process them and get rid of them or pack up and get out. I will not take responsibility for his lack of good judgment then or now. He now says he is broken and hollow and he has to work on himself. I am patient for his self work but not patient for his feelings for the OW to be gone. I have given him a time frame and yes I know everyone says don’t do it, but I won’t live in her shadow for the rest of my life.

      • Gizfield

        Thank you, Eg. I dont think it’s very good that these experts are trying to make people feel bad that they are a victim of a situation. The definition of a victim is someone who has been injured or abused by another person. Why the hell should we feel bad about what someone else did? To us? The shifting of blame to the abused party is ridiculous, in my opinion.

    • Carol

      This article was a tough one for me to read. I’ve always known that I have a fear of abandonment, stemming from childhood trauma: my parents’ divorce, my father’s abuse (an abandonment of trust), and my father’s suicide. But I’ve prided myself on pulling my act together anyway, getting an education, getting a job, working hard to make sure my kids are safe and loved and provided for, etc.

      I *thought* I’d married a man who was solid and would not abandon me. I was horrified to find in therapy that in fact my spouse shared a few — not many, but a few — characteristics with my father, exactly the sort of person I did *not* want to marry. So I suppose I wound up marrying someone who, like my father, would choose to lie rather than to face the consequences of his bad actions, someone who hides and manipulates, someone who thinks mostly about himself and not those who depend upon him.

      That doesn’t mean, though, that I am somehow to blame for HIS choices. At the end of the day, the person responsible for lying, abandoning, etc. is the person making those decisions. I’m not a bad or naive or wounded person for choosing to trust — in fact, I think that, given my background, I deserve a damn medal for having the courage to trust someone enough to get married in the first place.

      I also recognize, though, that this article is right about one thing: people with severe abandonment issues can behave irrationally *if* those issues aren’t dealt with. I am thinking of my sister here, who went through the same things I did but has now been divorced twice, partly due to her anger issues. She lashes out whenever she feels rejected — and she can feel rejected if you say ‘good morning’ to her the wrong way. This summer, she assaulted me physically — while we were on vacation, no less — because I wanted my young daughter to ride in my car instead of hers. She screamed at me that she hated me, and she threw my H’s infidelity in my face (I mistakenly confided in her), mocking me & telling me my marriage sucked, etc. Very painful. In her case, there are serious issues that she’s not addressing and her behavior will in fact guarantee her abandonment — nobody is going to stick around with someone who assaults people every time they feel threatened (she assaulted her second H, which is why he left her).

      All this to say: this guy’s advice might have some point to it in some scenarios. I really wish my sister would get effective help; otherwise, I can’t have a relationship with her. But I don’t think he’s sensitive to or aware of the particular dynamics of affairs. I read a book shortly after the EA — Shirley X’s book? — which argued that the person who has the affair is the one who is not GIVING enough to the marriage. It’s not the BS’s fault for not GIVING enough to that person, or not doing the ‘right’ things — the person who receives and does not give sufficiently is the one who cheats, according to her research. That was really helpful for me.

    • Rachel

      I really need some help. My ex will not pay me alimony and child support until oct. The divorce was final two weeks ago. I should have two checks. I have none.
      My mortgage app is now on hold because they don’t have any proof of an alimony check. I am livid! Isn’t this against the law??

      • livingonafence

        I believe it is illegal, but unfortunately you will have to ask your attorney. You could also go to the courthouse and talk to the people that handle paperwork. They usually know quite a bit. You may want to give them a call or a visit. Good luck. It’s sad that after all of this you now have to chase this ass for what is legally yours.

    • Gizfield

      Good grief, your ex is insane, Rachel. See if the court can file a temporary injunction against him for the money. Where I live, if the ex gives you any trouble, you can fix it where he has to pay directly to the trustee of the court. If he doesn’t pay, he is charge d with contempt of court.

    • Surviving

      Can you have his wages garnished so the money is sent to you automatically?

    • Nicole

      Wow that does sound like me! Ill tell you what rings true for me is the abandonment issues. They played a huge role during our marriage on both sides. He was always pursuing me and I felt smothered and would pull away which caused him to pursue more. Then at other times if I felt him pull away I totally flipped out. Had anyone read “I hate you please don’t leave”? Or something like that. Anyway I acted like what is described there. So because I pushed my husband away so often he started to believe I did not like him much less love him. At the time of the affair we were moving from the house that was his and he said he felt like he was on the chopping block and didn’t want to be alone. He has no family here and the family he has is very estranged. So I would say abandonment played a huge role in infidelity for us. So this is why understanding his pain allowed me to heal and move on.

      I can say I was for a time very much like his mother which the article mentions getting with someone that is the very worst of your childhood caregiver. So understanding him validating him and forgiving him closed the dour on a hurtful passed and helped heal old wounds.

    • ChristBrown

      Feel the same about #1. Truly F’d. (I’m a man here facing infidelity from wife w/ abandonment issues)

    • ChristBrown

      Feel the same about #1. Truly F’d. (I’m a man here facing infidelity from wife w/ abandonment issues) There are victims. Especially when one is dealing with an Avoidant w/narcissistic and BPD issues.

    • Shodie

      I doubt anyone will read this, considering the last post was 2 years ago, but I’ve just had my D-Day, and I need to vent! So, even if no one reads or responds, I’m hoping that getting some things off my chest will give me some relief, even if what I’m venting about here is purely related to this abandonment theory…because I have to say, it kinda pissed me off!

      First of all, I find it EXTREMELY interesting that this is coming from a man…
      As others have commented, either he’s never been cheated on, or else he has done the cheating himself. And if that’s the case, then he’s just another cheater trying to find a way to shift some of the blame to try to justify his own behavior…or just so HE won’t have to take full responsibility for his OWN choices. Yeah, the latter sounds about right to me…it seems those are things MEN ALWAYS DO when they’re caught! As well as deny, Deny, DENY!!! Always deny, to the very end, at all costs…no matter what, NEVER ADMIT!

      Sorry, I’m still very bitter, as you may have noticed. So if anger and sarcasm are not what you wanna hear (or read) right now, you might wanna move on…

      I AM willing to give Mr. Smith the benefit of the doubt, however, and say that maybe he really believes the crap he’s spewing. But let him get cheated on, lied to about it over and over and over again, and called paranoid and insane for thinking that his spouse would ever do such a thing…let all that happen to him for literally years… Because if all of that happened to him, and THEN he finds out in the end that he was right all along?

      After he’s lost all confidence in himself and in his own intuition…

      after he’s lost all self-esteem and has come to believe everything his spouse has said about him–that maybe he IS just being paranoid, maybe he IS insane, maybe he IS just a negative person, even though he knows he wasn’t before all this HAPPENED TO him…

      after he’s come to doubt every decision he’s ever made and feels like he can’t trust himself to make any more decisions in the future, especially really important ones…

      after years of psychological TORTURE have left him feeling anxious, paralyzed and trapped because, again, he feels he can’t be trusted to make decisions, so he can’t decide whether to stay or go and really just has no clue what to do…

      after he’s lost himSELF completely, is no longer the laid-back, fun-loving, trusting person he used to be, but is someone completely different now…someone who feels that no one can be trusted and that everyone just lies constantly—because, let’s face it, if the person who’s supposed to love you most in the world does nothing but lie to your face and tells you your paranoid and insane, then how could you ever trust anyone else to tell you the truth…about anything…ever?

      After all that has happened to him, then–AND ONLY THEN–would he even have the RIGHT to say there are no victims in an affair.

      I’d LIKE to think that maybe he’s just a therapist trying to drum-up more business to earn a living. Because I do believe that, in order for marriage counseling to work, both spouses MUST participate whole-heartedly. So maybe this is his way of trying to get both spouses to participate. And it might work for some people. I mean, some people who were abandoned might believe there’s something to his theory that you’ll marry some form of the very person who abandoned you, therefore you shouldn’t be surprised when you’re again abandoned/cheated on.

      I’ll admit he did get my attention at first, because I was abandoned by my alcoholic father. But I can’t see how that means I’m DEFINITELY GOING to marry someone who will cheat on me someday. Like another commenter said, he seems to be speaking in absolutes. And I just don’t see how one event (being abandoned) portends another (being cheated on).

      But I do know, from experience, that there ARE victims of an affair. And being told that I should take my part of the responsibility for my own heartbreak is like being victimized all over again.

    • Shifting Impressions

      I agree with you one hundred percent. It is absolutely ludicrous to say there is no victim….even when there is infidelity!!! And yes, you are right in saying that when we are told we should take part of the responsibility for our own heartbreak it is like being victimized all over again.

      And having a victim like reaction destroys more marriages than infidelity is just so backwards. I only had the victim like reaction because he victimized me by cheating,

      Vent all you want Shodie….we are here for you. That therapist pissed me off as well!!!

    • Shodie

      ShiftingImpressions, Thanks so much for the words of encouragement and support…I really need that right now. My H seems to have no clue how much he’s hurt me…he’s actually mad at me for being mad at him. So it’s nice to get some validation…nice to know that I do have the right to feel this way, that I do have the right to be hurt and angry

      • Shifting Impressions

        You have every right to feel this way. In my opinion on of the worst things we can do is stuff those feelings down.

        Do you have someone you can confide in? Are you able to get some help for yourself??

    • Shodie

      I do. Thank you for asking…

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