The concept of Steve and Tom demonstrates the two models that make up the mindset of the vast majority of unfaithful persons who go on the relationship-saving and affair recovery journey - from cheater to healer - after their affair was discovered.
Steve and Tom represent the Healer’s Journey for these unfaithful men and women.
Steve and Tom could be represented by you ...
OR... Steve and Tom could be represented by your spouse/partner. (If you're the betrayed person reading this.)
(Please note that though I am using the masculine names of Steve and Tom, these unfaithful souls could very well be named Stephanie and Tammy. I fully realize that women cheat just as much as men.)
The reason I wrote this story of Steve and Tom is because this was my own post-affair transitional & healing journey from cheater to healer.
From being an ex-unfaithful person who selfishly wanted my wife “to just get over it,” (Steve) - to the ex-unfaithful person who would do “whatever it takes” to help her heal (Tom).
And through my extensive experience mentoring both unfaithful and betrayed people over the years, it’s become crystal clear that most everyone who has experienced infidelity struggles at some point with making this transition (or their spouse is struggling making the transition).
But that’s the end game.
It’s all the bullsh!+ and the pain and the trauma and the never ending challenges in the “messy middle” that’s important.
Professor of Psychology, David Buss once said,
“Adults learn through massive trauma.”
And I have to agree.
As stated, when I started my journey, I was the Steve archetype. No question about it, I was flawed in so many ways it’s still hard to come to grips with. I was messed up – a giant selfish, ego-driven, asshole coward.
Along the way, I learned that Steve wasn’t capable of contributing to the recovery process, much less be a catalyst for healing.
Whatever opportunity Steve had to make a real difference he would gaslight, stonewall and/or get angry. There was a real opportunity for making a positive difference, but life off the hamster wheel always eluded him. He had to embrace change. He had to transform himself.
As Steve, when entrenched in the battle and crisis mode, I discovered (through Linda’s gentle nudge) that I had a choice:
- I could remain behaving as Steve and never earn back the love, trust and respect (and more) of my wife of nearly 30 years – and even possibly end up divorced.
- Or…I could transform myself into a very different model represented by Tom in this journey.
The transformation itself was not instant nor easy, of course.
It wasn’t like flicking a light switch.
Sadly, no. It doesn’t work like that.
The only way to make the transformation from cheater to healer was to choose to do so. To go on the journey and take the path to healing.
The “secret” — the elixir I had discovered and wanted to share through my story — would help the Steves of the world to navigate the treacherous waters and emerge on the other side as Tom.
But not everyone who attempted the journey would come out the other side transformed.
Many who claim to be committed to the recovery process are not fully enrolled in the journey, don’t seem to care enough about the change required to transform, so they remain Steve and remain on the hamster wheel indefinitely.