The Rational Basis® of Happiness Podcast

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I think my wife is having an affair.

(this is raw unedited text transcribed directly from the audio)


Dr. Kenner:      Jaffe, you want your wife back after having an affair?


Jaffe:               I believe she’s having an affair, and it all happened with my questioning her about it, but now I think she might be having one for sure now.


Dr. Kenner:      What is your evidence? What signs have you noticed?


Jaffe:               She’s got an extra phone. Just different behavior. Trying to lose weight. Buying new clothes. The guy that I suspected she was having an affair with, called her phone and I answered it and I talked to him and he said they’re just friends.


Dr. Kenner:      They may not be just friends, right?


Jaffe:               He’s single, and he lives where she works. She’s an apartment manager.


Dr. Kenner:      And he lives in one of the apartments?


Jaffe:               Yes.


Dr. Kenner:      So you’re getting more information. There are definite signs that a partner is having an affair, and what you’re saying is that you’ve got enough evidence that you’re fairly certain. You did confront her?


Jaffe:               Yes, and it all turned out, when I confronted her about it, she told me she was done with me, that she’s tired of me being jealous and insecure and never happy. This was like three months ago. And now it’s just everyday is getting worse and worse. She wants to go out every Friday and Saturday to clubs. She’s almost 36-years-old. We have two kids.


Dr. Kenner:      You’re married?


Jaffe:               We’re married, yes.


Dr. Kenner:      How old are the ids?


Jaffe:               7 and 14.


Dr. Kenner:      So that’s painful. So this is very tumultuous for you, very up and down. How are you taking care of yourself?


Jaffe:               I’m really not. I’m horrible. I’m pretty much like a zombie. Everybody tells me that I need to go home and work stuff out, but I can’t because she wants space from me. She wants, her counselor told her that we need to be separated for 30 days, if not a year. That way she can feel like she misses me and brings back that sparkle, that spark, the butterflies in her stomach when she sees me.


Dr. Kenner:      Are you also getting help? You said she’s going to a counselor. Are you getting some support for yourself?          


Jaffe:               Yes, I’m going to a counselor and we are going to a counselor together, finally, as a couple. We also have my pastor and his wife, are going to give us counseling sessions also. But she doesn’t really like the Bible stuff, just believes in God, so she doesn’t like the pressure of God.


Dr. Kenner:      My biggest concern is for you. I’ve worked with so many couples who have one partner has thought the other partner is having an affair and initially it’s denied, and then you start to get all of the evidence – like you say, they’re dressing better, they’re losing weight, they get new clothes and they get an extra phone and they may be going back to the gym and they shut you out. They don’t want to talk about it. So you feel like you can’t make a decision. You have one of the biggest areas of your life, your romantic life together, your marriage, the person that you each chose one another, and you don’t know how to plan for your future. Especially if you have two kids. One of them is a teenager and one is a pre-teen and they are at sensitive ages and they have to know what’s going on. They have to be affected by this. Kids are not dumb. So, my question, I’m so glad to hear number one that you reach out for help, and number two, that you are taking care of yourself. I’m glad you have some support from your fireman buddies also. So you may already know this – are you okay with reading a book or listening to it as an audio file?


Jaffe:               Yes.


Dr. Kenner:      There is a great book called After the Affair. The author is Janis Abrahams Spring. It says the subtitle is – and you don’t have to write this down because you’ll be able to get the book without the subtitle, but I’m going to read it because I think it’s very informative of helping you decide what direction you want to go in. It’s “healing the pain and rebuilding trust when a partner has been unfaithful.” And what I found is that when couples have, or especially you’re considered the hurt partner. She’s the one who is having the affair, the unfaithful one, and you’re the hurt partner. Now, that doesn’t mean that there weren’t problems in the marriage, like any marriage, that you needed to work on in advance and you can both own responsibility for that. But when communication shuts down, that’s a problem. So, when the hurt partner reads this book, it gives you an opportunity not to beg her to come back, but to decide whether she is good for your long-range happiness. It puts you more in the driver’s seat and it empathizes tremendously with the pain you’re going through.


Jaffe:               Yes, lots of pain.


Dr. Kenner:      Because discovering an affair with the person who you chose a partnership with, to be betrayed by that person, not having them come out and honestly say, “Listen, the relationship is not working out. Let’s get a divorce.” At least if they honestly address it, it’s very painful but at least it’s up front. But to have to sneak around and smell an affair, it makes you feel like your whole world is tumbling away from you. You don’t know who you are. You don’t know what to do with your family unit. There’s a lot that’s going on. So, one of the things I can suggest, I also wrote a book and in the appendix, the very last section, I have a section in it that is “how to part ways and start over if you cease being soul mates.” I really recommend reading that part. I wrote the book with Dr. Ed Locke, and the title is The Selfish Path to Romance. You can check that out. Again, the biggest takeaway is putting yourself in the driver’s seat, Jaffe.


Jaffe:               I want that.


Dr. Kenner:      Be very good to yourself, and to your kids too. There’s another book, Helping your Kids Through Your Divorce, if that happens. Listen, thank you so much for the call and I wish you the best and I wish that you take very good care of yourself.


Jaffe:               Thank you. Appreciate it.


Dr. Kenner:      You’re very welcome.



Movie clip       

Female:           Sit down and listen to this. I got a juicy piece of news and it’s reliable. Alan in accounting got it from Steven in promotions who got it from Cindy in retail sales who got it from Arlene, the station manager’s secretary, that the station is definitely way over budget and somebody is getting the ax. But don’t tell anybody, I was sworn to secrecy.


Dr. Kenner:      That’s Roz from Frasier. What she’s discussing is gossip, the gossip chain. What is gossip? When you gossip about somebody, you are talking about them behind their back, things you wouldn’t say to them personally, and it often gets back to them and you break relationships. Even more important than that, let’s say that you have something very private. Let’s say you found out you have cancer and you want to share that with a friend and you share, “Please don’t tell anyone else. I don’t want my husband and my kids to know. I just got this diagnosis and please don’t share it with anyone else,” and you agree to that. You respect their privacy, and then you go off and the first person you meet, you say, “Guess what? I just found out that Cindy has cancer and she’s not telling anybody.” What did you just do? Not only to Cindy and your relationship but more fundamentally, what did you do to yourself? How can you look at yourself in the mirror and feel like you’re an honest person, a person of integrity?


Are there times though, when it is appropriate to tell someone? Well, let’s say the situation is a bit different and the person says, “Listen, I just robbed a bank. Don’t tell anybody. Promise you won’t tell anybody,” and you’re thinking, wait a minute. This is not okay. Because they’re using my honesty as a weapon against me to help hide a criminal, and I’m not going to do this. So in that case, if somebody tells you to keep a promise and it’s something you can’t keep, you either tell them right off, “This is not a promise I can keep,” or you don’t overpromise in advance.