This post was originally written by Linda back on December 9, 2010 in response to a discussion we had regarding the fantasy aspect of affairs and how a betrayed spouse cannot compete (or should not try to) with it.
Please continue reading for some excellent advice on this subject from our good friend Dr. Robert Huizenga, including 13 questions to ask yourself to help move you in the direction of self awareness and away from the game playing.
Stop Playing the Infidelity Game
Today we wanted to follow up on our discussion from yesterday and provide you with some excerpts from the email that was mentioned from Dr. Huizenga, The Infidelity Coach. In it he discusses how to deal with competing with the other person and with the fantasy of the affair – or as he calls it “playing the infidelity game.”
In the email he states that there is a dilemma when faced with this situation: Do you need to play the game better? Or, how do you extricate yourself from the game and still care about your spouse?
An affair is indeed a game, but just because your spouse plays the game doesn’t mean that you have to. It also means you can still care and “connect” with him/her.
There is the tendency for the betrayed spouse to want to make improvements to themselves in order to “compete” with the OP. But most of the time, these improvements don’t work, or if they work, you may win the spouse back and say, “Hmmmm, is this all there is!?” And, if we pursue these improvements to win him/her back we are merely playing the game, and feel this lack of personal integrity.”
“Not playing the game means standing back, learning about you, seeing the affair for what it REALLY is, and connecting to your partner by making comments ‘about’ him/her, the situation and/or yourself.”
For example, you assume this other person is getting something special from your spouse, some sort of movie-like “romantic love.” It may appear so, but Huizenga states that affair relationships have a terribly horrible track record.
He mentions that in his work, he deals with many who are involved in an affair who feel trapped or on a course of self-destruction. And, usually “those relationships self-destruct in very messy ways.”
Learning about yourself is very different from making improvements. You don’t have to improve! You need not “get better!” But, you do want to grow and create a richer more whole life for yourself and those you touch.
Dr. Huizenga suggests you ask the following questions to help move you in the direction of self awareness and away from the game playing:
What am I tolerating? What am I willing to tolerate? How and what can I stop tolerating?
How can I simplify my life – getting rid of all the relational and physical clutter – so I live from a center of peace?
How do I become a person of extreme integrity – doing that which is right and healthy FOR ME?
How do I speak my personal needs in a way that others naturally want to respond, “Yes, let me know how I can help you.” How do you get beyond your neediness?
What do I need to do right now to manage my life (finances, children, body, work, etc.) in a way that gives a sense of well being, where I can say, “This is good!”
What boundaries need to surround me to protect my soul, heart and mind from the slings and arrows of toxic people and situations?
What are the standards in my life? How can I double my standards to be more fully me?
How can I create reserves of time, space, money, energy, opportunity, love, information, wisdom, self and integrity in my life – getting beyond my neediness so I may live bound by purpose?
How can I live RIGHT NOW rather than regretting the past or fearing the future?
How can I surround me with people I want and who are good for me and me for them?
How do I protect what is vitally important for me?
How do I orient my life around my values so I feel truly fulfilled by the goals I set and met?
As you move through these questions, which will take some time (could be weeks or months), declare your thoughts and findings to your spouse. “Act on tolerating less, let him/her know your boundaries, state your standards, live out your values in his/her presence.”