Meetings of Two – rebuilding after an affair.

My husband and I have a weekend ritual when we sit down for a ‘check up’ with one another.  During this time we talk about how we are feeling about our relationship and ourselves.  We tell one another if we have struggled with trust, anger or resentment.  We announce the thing we did during that week that most improved our relationship and on the flip side the one thing we each did that hurt our relationship.  Sometimes the conversations are stimulating and go on forever – other times they are a little lackluster and neither of us have much to talk about.   I never know where these meetings will take us.

We like to go to our favorite coffee shop for these weekly discussions – it makes it feel more like an event or a date.  Since we had brunch plans with friends later this morning we decided to hold this weeks meeting at home, giving us the perfect opportunity to watch Esther Perel’s TED talk entitled “Rethinking Infidelity” about why people cheat.  This talk was such a great catalyst to conversation.  Both my husband and I found so much of what she said to be of interest.  It raised incredibly interesting points and questions and led to another very honest discussion about my husbands addiction-related infidelities as well as my own affair and what the two had in common.   We talked about how we felt during and after our trysts, we talked about the fantasy aspect of our actions, we talked about the power of our disclosures, we talked about anxiety and longing and desire and regret and sex.

Seeking out sources of smart, insightful information is so important when confronted with an issue such as marital infidelity.  I have gotten a lot of help from books and therapists in the past – but somehow, Eshter Perel can cut to the quick in a riveting 20 minute video.  If you haven’t already seen it, and are in a relationship, it’s worth watching.  I highly recommend watching with your spouse and see where the conversation takes you.


Practicing Gratitude

When there is so much debris from a marital nightmare floating around, it is really easy to get stuck in negative thoughts.  When you get stuck in these thoughts, you can spiral into depression really quickly.   On my bad days – I force myself to list at least 3 things that I am grateful for.  Doing this exercise helps shift our perspective away from the negative, it reduces my stress and forces me to be in the moment.  It is a healthy way to break out of an obsessive thought pattern.  For some people it’s the very thing that helps them get out of bed in the morning.

Sometimes the list is very basic 
– I am grateful I have use of my arms and legs
– I am grateful I have a job
– I am grateful that my parents are both alive and healthy 
But even on a good day it is wonderful habit to practice gratefulness.  Here is a list of 20 random things I am grateful for today.
I am grateful that there is a Starbucks next to my work
I am grateful I discovered Almond Milk
I am grateful that I can afford a health club membership 
I am grateful that my hair isn’t falling out from stress
I am grateful that no one in my family is incarcerated 
I am grateful that I slept well last night
I am grateful that my skinny jeans fit today
I am grateful that I can go home for Christmas
I am grateful that I heard the song from The Band Perry on the way to work today
I am grateful that my niece asked me to be her confirmation sponsor
I am grateful that I am comfortable expressing my anger 
I am grateful that I don’t have a cold
I am grateful that my A**hole neighbor is out of town
I am grateful that I discovered an amazing therapist
I am grateful that the new ELLE showed up today
I am grateful that I get a 4 day weekend next week
I am grateful that my dad completely recovered from his stroke last month
I am grateful that noise under my car was just a stuck piece of junk
I am grateful that I have friends who want to spend their birthday’s with me
I am grateful that we don’t have to visit any in-laws during the holidays
I am grateful to be married to a wonderful and sober man
I am grateful that I lost count and went over 20 without even trying!

 It’s almost Thanksgiving…what a good time to try starting a gratitude practice.