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Why would I need

So the first step in finding is letting go of "in only..." and looking toward "what can I do to demonstrate that I've learned an important lesson" from this experience. And, further, how can I take this learning and use it to become a better person. No matter how difficult something is to deal with, there's always the potential for learning from it. And using these learnings to forge a more responsible and more fulfilling life can be of great help in counteracting the feelings of guilt or regret from ups ers.

Frankly, a great deal of the "strength of character" that people exhibit comes from the process of surviving some crisis that has severely tested them as a person. To paraphrase a famous saying by "That which doesn't kill me makes me stronger." Every crisis we face in life is also an opportunity to grow stronger, and responsibly dealing with the fall-out from this experience can actually strengthen you as a person.

It's not what mistakes we make in life that define us; it's how we deal with those mistakes and use them to learn and grow and improve. The "best" people are usually those who have been tested and failed, but then rose to prove themselves anew.

For more of my comments on this issue, see the page permanently posted on my website:
Is there help for the third party?


Finally, as the writer of this question mentioned, it's difficult to find material written specifically to help the person who had an affair. So I'd like to pass along information about locating one book that concentrates exclusively on the role of the unfaithful partner during the early stages of affair discovery. It was written by a former betrayed spouseóto help the offending marriage partner in their efforts to save and heal their marriage.

The author says that not only was this book written specifically for the partner who had an affair, but she asks that it NOT be read by the hurt spouseóin order to give the your partner the chance to undo the damage on their own. She also notes that she has included Biblical scripture throughout the book, but that it was written for everyone of any religion or no religion.

The title of the book is the greatest Iíve ever heard that pertains to This very old Chinese Taoist story can help us "reframe" the meaning of life's events.

A farmer in a poor country village was considered very well-to-do, because he owned a horse which he used for plowing and for transportation. One day his horse ran away. All his neighbors exclaimed how terrible this was, but the farmer simply said, "Maybe."

A few days later the horse returned and brought two wild horses with it. The neighbors all rejoiced at his good fortune, but the farmer just said, "Maybe."

The next day the farmer's son tried to ride one of the wild horses; the horse threw him and broke his leg. The neighbors all offered their sympathy for his misfortune, but the farmer again said, "Maybe."

The next week conscription officers came to the village to take young men for the army. They rejected the farmer's son because of his broken leg. When the neighbors told him how lucky he was, the farmer replied, "Maybe."Ö


The meaning that any event has depends upon the "frame" in which we perceive it. When we change the frame, we change the meaning. In the above story... Having two wild horses is a good thing until it is seen in the context of the son's broken leg. The broken leg seems to be bad in the context of peaceful village life; but in the context of conscription and war, it suddenly becomes good.

This is called "reframing"... changing the frame in which you perceive events in order to change the meaning. When the meaning changes, your responses and behaviors may also change.

Many people assume that when there is a particular event in one's life, there is some natural, universal reaction to that event. But you need only stop and consider how often two different people face the same difficult situation in lifeóbut each of them reacts and responds in a completely different way. That's because the consequences as they are experienced by each person are determined by their personal "belief system."

Many behavioral experts have studied this phenomenon, but one of the earliest was Albert Ellis with his work in "Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy." He explains how it works using a system of A - B - C. (A is the Activating event, B is the personal Belief, and C is the Consequences.) He points out that A (the "Activating event") does not lead directly to C (the "Consequences") without the intervening variable of B (the individual's personal "Beliefs") that serve to translate the meaning of the event.

Albert Ellis is now 90 years old, with a prolific list of 75 books and 700 articles to his credit. To visit the website of the Albert Ellis Institute and review a list of some of his books, see other things.

On a personal note: I've been helped by my awareness of Ellis's work (which began before I learned of my husband's affairs 30 years ago). I found his concepts helpful in recognizing that any life crisis is an event that can potentially destroy us or from which we can emerge wiser and stronger. I've described a little about the two major life crises I've faced in the article.

At one point, about 25 years ago, I finally met Albert Ellis in person when we both were guests on the same TV talk show. Since that time, he has graciously read and carefully critiqued several of my books, for which I am grateful.

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