Does an affair mean you should divorce?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Divorce.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

7 things you need to know if you stay together after an affair.

One partner has had an affair, should you divorce? Should you stay and try to work it out?

Here are some of the things that you need to think about, talk about, and work through in counseling before you decide whether to stay together or separate.

1. Do you and your partner share any common values, goals, and interests?

What do you have in common other than having been sexual partners?

Having common values and goals for your life is a great predictor of long-term compatibility. In the first intoxicating insanity of love, we often do not ask questions about the values that underlie our potential partner’s desires and dreams.

No matter how hard you try to support your partner’s dreams and goals if you have different values the results are uncertain.

Any couple should expect to have tough times. Affairs are one of the toughest. So are deaths in the family, particularly the death of a child. Addictions are another severe crisis.

When a couple is thinking about the decision to stay together or part ways, now is the time to have those discussions about your values. That discussion can bring you closer together or help you make the decision that this relationship is not salvageable.

2. How will you feel about yourself if you stay?

What does it mean to you if you go?

The first few weeks after the discovery of an affair you may be asking yourself all sorts of questions about you. How did you make this mistake, is it your fault that the partner cheated.

This is a time to get in touch with yourself. Some people can never forgive or forget. This is an especially difficult problem for those who have been the victim of abuse or neglect in the past. If you already had “trust issues” this crisis may be beyond your ability to accept.

Think this through carefully. If you can feel good about yourself for the decision to stay, then give this a chance. If you feel you can never forgive yourself for letting them get away with this then your own mental health may demand that you leave.

3. How will you feel about being alone?

Are you likely to get into another relationship to fill that void? If you do start a new relationship they will have a sexual and relational past.

Being alone can be a scary situation. If you are fearful about that think carefully about your ability to stay single for any length of time after you end up separating.

Each partner you pick will come with a past. People fresh out of a relationship, those who are afraid to be alone, are at extra risk to start a relationship with a person who has their own set of problems and their own emotional baggage.

If you have a lot of time invested in a relationship, be careful that you do not leave one partner because they had an affair only to enter a new relationship with someone who is single because of their affair.

There are reasons why people are single. Think about what attracted you to this certain partner. Will those same things be attractive in a new partner? What are the chances that you will pick a new partner that may cheat or have an undesirable sexual past?

4. Did you contribute to this in any way?

Will you change or will you pick a new partner and go through this again next time? If you had a role in these problems, say you did not have those discussions about problems with your partner before they started the affair you will probably contribute to the same sort of problems with the next partner.

It takes two healthy people to have a healthy relationship. If you are healthy and both you and your partner are willing to work on mending this breach, you have a good chance of ending up with a great relationship. If only you will stay and do the work.

5. Is he or she reliable in other ways or is this part of their pattern of being unreliable.

If this is the only significant problem in your relationship then it may well be mendable. If this partner has a history of not coming through when you need them, they are not likely to change just because you know about the affair.

6. Besides being lovers, were you two really life partners?

If you have things in common, you like the same things, have the same hobbies, and want the same things out of life, consider staying together and mending the problems in the partnership.

If the only thing you had in common was the sexual part or if the emotional closeness you had is gone and neither of you is willing to do the work to get it back, then the chances are good that you will never be life partners.

Two people living separate lives under the same roof is not much to settle for.

7 What other serious problems does your partner have?

If your partner has other serious problems, addiction, alcoholism, or gambling, an affair could be the smallest part of the problems you will have to face. Criminal lifestyles can sweep you up. So can most any other addiction.

All of these are things to consider before making your decision to stay or go. It can help to talk this through with a Marriage Counselor or trusted advisor.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Top 10 Men’s Issues

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Men drinking

Drugs and alcohol are top men’s issues.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

What are Men’s issues and how are they different from the other issues that bring clients to counseling?

Men have issues. We are not talking about back copies of the swimsuit issues either. Men traditionally have avoided coming to counseling for those issues even when they really could have used some help. Men try to tough it out and cope without asking for help. That reluctance to come to see a counselor is changing. The result of this trend has been an increase in counselors who specialize in “Men’s issues.”

Men will spend thousands on a career counselor or a life coach to help them with jobs or business success but when it comes to relationships, children, and their own happiness and well-being, they have been slow to accept the need for assistance.

When I started in this profession, I was surprised to see relatively few men in the classes with me. There were few men counselors and very few men in treatment. The few men who did come to see a counselor were referred to treatment by a judge, parole, or probation.

When I worked as a substance abuse counselor there were lots of men. They predominate in treatment and in the profession when it comes to substance abuse, domestic violence, drunk driving, and similar issues. When it comes to social work or the therapy room the men disappear on both sides of the desk. Among clients, this is beginning to change as men realize the need for more resources in managing life’s problems.

Men report to me that they have felt like their role in the family was that of a prepaid debit card. They go out and make money which is placed at the disposal of their family. If they fail to earn enough they are likely to be discarded like a maxed-out credit card. Beyond the simple maintenance of their most basic needs, food, sex, and a few expensive toys, men were conditioned to think that they should not have feelings or weaknesses.

For a man to ask for help implies accepting failure. Men kept going even when injured emotionally until they could not keep going. The homeless veterans of past wars, tortured by the symptoms of PTSD, are a testimony to the way in which men that showed a weakness can be discarded. To ask for help with an emotion was tantamount to accepting failure.

This situation is changing and for good reason. Men are learning that to acknowledge feelings is not a sign of failure. To seek consultation for struggles with life’s problems is not weakness but wisdom.

More men than ever before are assuming the role of primary custodians of their children. They are moving into the areas of childrearing that once were the exclusive territory of women. Methamphetamine and other drug addiction have accelerated this trend as more women leave their children and run the streets. Some men step up and become Mr. Mom and Dad.

Men come to counseling for information on being a good parent. They want to know how to raise happy children and they want to know how to experience this happiness after the loss of their illusion that all they needed to do to make things come out right was to earn more money.

The major “men’s issues” continue to be the traditional issues of men forced to treatment by someone else with some new issues brought on by the changes in the American family and society.

The top “men’s issues” in my practice are:

1. Career

2. Achieving success

3. Fatherhood

4. Single parenthood

5. Maintain relationships with children after divorce or separation

6.  Getting close and trusting others

7. Substance abuse

8. Anger management

9. Male sexual issues

10. Trauma

These Top Ten Men’s Issues have a lot in common with issues that bring women to therapy. The largest differences I see in the experiences are that women are a lot more attuned to the idea of working with and paying attention to their feelings. Women are schooled in expressing their feelings as a way to get relief from unpleasant experiences. Men tend to ignore feelings until overwhelm by them.

Men come to counseling looking to find solutions to their problems. What they may discover is that feelings are a valuable source of information that they will need to use to find the solution that is right for them and their relationships.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos, see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel