Star’s Infidelity University These first courses will be for Betrayed Spouses.
This is the college where no one wants a degree. Unfortunately enrollment is not voluntary, and when you find yourself faced with an uncertain future, it’s so painful and confusing; you may not know what to do. You might be scared, numb or feel like you’re going crazy, and that’s why having a course schedule can be invaluable. Many posters on this site have contributed article's and guides to help you at every stage from discovery to recovery. I will be putting together a full course guide with reading and written assignments.
Consider finishing each course, before moving on to the next one. The first course is: Intuition 101 Whether your spouse has become distant, or you definitely suspect there is another person involved, your first task is to find out the truth and trust your instincts. Something is nagging at you. Things just don't add up.
Here is my redflag guide for anyone who thinks their spouse is having an affair: Red Flag Guide: Is My Spouse Cheating?
Some betrayed spouses never suspect that their partner is cheating and get completely blindsided when the truth comes out. Oftentimes they are the proverbial "last to know." But for a great many us, the knowledge that something is terribly wrong seeps in like an insidious odor that fouls the air.
You have a horrible sinking feeling in your stomach, and you can feel your anxiety rising. You've noticed changes in your spouse, but when you try to talk about it, they deny anything is wrong. In fact, they often accuse you of being jealous, crazy, or controlling if you suggest there is another person involved. Still, the belief that something is wrong persists, but you have no proof.
First, learn to trust your instincts. Intuition is a feeling that something is right or wrong, and it's the brain's way of drawing on past experiences and current external cues to make sense of information. If the relationship between your spouse and a co-worker doesn't seem right, it probably isn't. If your spouse seems more secretive than normal, they're probably hiding something. There are many red flags signaling infidelity in a marriage. Some of them are obvious; others are small subtle changes that when added together can signal trouble.
Here is a list of common clues that your spouse is having an affair. Your own fears and suspicions
should be your first clue. When we don't want to believe something so devastating, it can be easy to dismiss the feeling that something is wrong...don't.
A cheating spouse will encourage you to question your own instincts and even damage your self esteem, keeping you confused, and creating as much self doubt as possible so you don't investigate your feelings. Instinctual suspicions can be very subtle. For instance, your spouse doesn't get angry with you about something that has always triggered anger. They let you "off the hook" because they want as little confrontation as possible. They will frequently hyper focus on you-asking more questions about how your day went, or how you're feeling, etc, to shift the attention away from them and their guilt. If they're the ones asking questions, then you don't get as much opportunity to ask about their secret life. Money
is disappearing. Financial records too. Credit card bills that used to come to the house are now going to the office. Unusual charges are showing up on the credit card bill, or cell phone bill. Affairs take money and almost always impact the primary relationship and family. Big red flag. Defensiveness:
When you ask your spouse what's wrong, rather than reassuring you and giving plausible explanations, they get angry and defensive. They might create controversy and pick fights, using these arguments to justify spending more time away from home. They accuse you of not trusting them when in reality, they know they are untrustworthy. Affair Language: "I love you, but I'm not in love with you."
This phrase is so common that it's considered a huge red flag. They may even say that they "don't think they were ever in love with you." You know this isn't true, but under the influence of affair chemicals, wayward spouses often rewrite history and exhibit a kind of "amnesia" about the marriage. Unreasonable outbursts of anger
over mundane things related to "space," "privacy" or "time alone." This usually happens when you inadvertently turn up at an unexpected time or enter a room while the telephone is being used. The rage does not fit the event and is often a sign that something was being discussed that the spouse wants to keep hidden from you. Space:
Your spouse spends more time away from home or moves out of the house because they need "space" or to "figure out how they feel." It's common for a wayward spouse to move out of the home because it makes it easier to conceal an affair. Affairs need privacy, so changes in the amount of privacy a spouse needs is another big red flag. Grooming and appearance changes:
Better clothes, sexier clothes, better underwear, a weight loss, change in hair style, shaving more often, new cologne or perfume, dressing well at unusual timesâ€¦can all signal the wayward spouse is dressing for someone else. Sudden changes in any long standing habits.
Hobbies get pushed aside, or a new one starts that takes hours away from home and the spouse. They might suddenly seem to enjoy new foods or new music that never interested them before. Sudden trips to the office, the store, the gas station or to drop something off to a friend at strange hours. This is especially recognizable as a pattern when it follows closely on the heels of a cell phone call, text message or the checking of email. Change in work habits.
They might leave for work 30 minutes earlier or change to a later bus or train for the trip home. Their work load suddenly increases. They start working overtime or scheduling meetings before or after work. They become less available at work when you call, and don't answer the phone during lunch hour. They seem unusually friendly with their coworkers. They know more and more personal details about the lives of their coworkers. "We're just friends."
Your spouse has new friend(s) or coworkers they don't seem to want you to meet. If you do meet them, it's easy to tell they spend lots of time together. There might be private jokes or glances. There is often a certain excited tension between them. These friends often remain namelessâ€¦.dinner with the girls, guys or girls nights out on multiple nights of the week, and phrases like "Hanging out with the guys" or "Stopping off with some people from work for a drink before catching the train home" can indicate a secret set of friends with a desire to prevent accountability or investigation as to true whereabouts. The work or recreational activities you're not invited to grow. Your small children start mentioning the names of people you don't know. Phones:
The cell phone becomes less of a tool and more of an appendage. It never leaves the cheater's side. Call logs and text messages are religiously erased. If you walk into the room, conversations stop. They claim they can't get a good signal in the house and have to walk around outside to talk. When they call to tell you they'll be late, they complain about a weak signal again, and get off of the phone quickly. When you try to call back later, their phone goes straight to voice mail. The cell phone bill disappears. There is a marked increase in texting. In general the wayward needs much more privacy for all phone calls. Phone calls that require being in a separate room to be taken. They will sit right beside you to talk to Mom, Dad, brother or sister, the guy from the softball team or their boss, but suddenly they don't want to disturb your television program, which might have been their favorite show before now. Wrong numbers that call more than once over a space of several days or weeks. This is usually combined with the caller ID list being wiped out sometimes after remaining as it was for many months at a time. Computer Use:
Email and computer use becomes a hidden activity often with windows being suddenly closed or minimized the instant you walk into the room. An escalation of computer use at odd times, or only at times when you are not home. Chat logs, browsing history and other computer tracking stuff are routinely erased. Email accounts that once had 150 messages in the inbox suddenly only contain a handful of daily SPAM and other drivel unrelated to personal life. Sex
is different in some way. Frequency might decrease or increase. The cheater will often be open to trying new things, some they had no interest in before. But sex can also change more subtly as well, such as wanting to have "just a quickie" tonight instead of more intimate love making that would last longer. When an affair initially begins, out of guilt and in an effort to avoid the newly formed affair being discovered, they may actually increase the amount of attention they pay their real partners in bed. After the affair has been going on a little while, the cheater may appear to have a loss of sex drive. They avoid being intimate with you as much as they used to. The way they kiss is different. Distancing:
You sense them pulling away, becoming more formal. No vestiges of verbal intimacy. They speak of nothing personal. The "in jokes" you used to share disappear. They relate to you more like an acquaintance than a life partner. You get the idea that they're "just not that into you." Resistance
to everything, especially talks of the future. If you suggest dinner at their favorite restaurant, they would rather order a pizza. They find fault with almost every thing you say and anything you suggest. They seem bored and anxious when they're home. Encouragement
for you to do things that they would not have been enthusiastic about in the past. They give you encouragement to go visit your family with the kids, but they have to stay behind for work. They encourage you to develop interests that don't include them. They encourage you to take a vacation with your friends or siblings. False transparency:
A cheater will often go to great lengths to establish an alibi for meeting the affair partner. An out of town business trip scheduled for early December might first be mentioned in September, even though travel for work occurs every couple of weeks routinely. Or they might go out of the way to explain to you why they were ten minutes late, what they did or who they bumped into at lunch, or expressing some long-hidden dream or goal for the future that does not directly concern you.
None of these signs alone is a definite signal of cheating, but several of them together, or a strong sense of intuition is worth investigating. Assigned reading:
This article has some very interesting signs that should be added to the above list.http://www.ivillage.com/32-emotional-signs-hes-cheating-0/4-a-283634
From Danine Manette: http://www.ultimatebetrayal.com/Signs.html
More signs: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/06/signs-husband-is-cheating_n_1632688.htmlWritten assignments:
1) Make a list of all the signs your spouse is exhibiting and post them.
2) Make a list of why knowing the truth would be better than being in the dark.
3) Think about what you need to do to mentally prepare to find out the truth and write those down.
I will be putting some answers to 2 and 3 to help with the assignment. The next course will be added onto this same post. It will be about finding out the truth. It will discuss how to catch a cheating spouse, and the how to deal with your own feelings of guilt about spying on your spouse.
If you’ve completed the above assignments and course work, then you’re ready to take on reality and you’ve emotionally prepared yourself to find out the truth. The next course is:Truth 102
Affairs thrive in secrecy and most of the time a wayward spouse will do everything possible to keep you from finding out the truth. Many people feel a moral dilemma when it comes to spying and snooping, so the first important step is to come to terms your own sense of guilt about delving into the private life of your spouse.
In order to break through the lies that are destroying your marriage, it’s important to understand the difference between “privacy” and “secrecy”. Everyone is entitled to privacy, but secrecy in a marriage is toxic and it’s a major component of infidelity. Privacy is about putting up boundaries for personal space. Secrecy is about putting up barriers that come between spouses and are used to hide behind. Privacy is about protecting our individuality, but secrecy protects things that directly affect other people. A secret affair impacts all the people in a family in some way. It affects them emotionally for sure. It robs every one of time, attention and intimacy. It can also have a huge financial impact. Privacy is a personal boundary whose purpose does not include withholding information which directly affects other people in a destructive way. Infidelity is destructive on every level, including the health of the betrayed partner.
If you don’t know the truth, then you cannot act upon it. Every day that you don’t know, is a day you spend with the anxiety of wondering if your marriage is compromised or not. It’s also a day that you cannot make the decisions, changes and impact on your marriage that have the potential to save it.
Sir Francis Bacon said “knowledge is power”. When it comes to infidelity, it is everything. You can’t fight what you can’t see.
Here are a list of reasons that illustrate why you need to know.
1. So you can find some peace.
When you suspect your spouse is cheating, it can cause deep anxiety, worry and sleepless nights. It can affect your health and well being. If it turns out that your spouse isn't cheating, it will be a huge relief. The sooner you confront your suspicions, the faster you can stop wondering and get back to living life.
2. To stop untrue suspicions from ruining your marriage and your peace of mind.
Even if you’re trying to hide your suspicions, when you believe your spouse is cheating, these thoughts will manifest themselves in many damaging ways. It doesn't matter if they're true or not, they will change the way you think of your spouse. It can begin to affect every aspect of your marriage: sex, the way you interact, as well as your trust level. Finding out if your suspicions are true or not can bring back balance and vitality to your marriage.
3. So you can find out if it’s infidelity….or something else.
If your spouse isn’t himself, he might be cheating on you, and he might not. There are other reasons besides infidelity for strange behavior, for instance…health problems. A discreet search will uncover the real truth.
4. To find out if your marriage is in trouble.
You’ve heard the phrase ‘last to know”? That’s because many people don’t realize how troubled their marriages are until there’s already an ongoing affair. You can’t address a problem that you cannot see.
5. To catch the affair as early as possible.
Affairs are often a gradual slide down the slippery slope. Your spouse may be developing an “emotional affair” and hasn’t crossed the line yet. Spotting the early warning signs, can give you a chance to confront things before they get worse.
6. So you can concentrate your efforts on the right things.
Anxiety, worry and speculation can rob you of a lot of energy that could be focused on the marriage instead. Until you know the truth, you’ll be in an endless state of emotional limbo. Stop worry and investigate. Once you know exactly what you’re dealing with, you can focus your energy on the right things and make decisions that can help you reach recovery.
7. To emotionally come to grips with the possibility that your spouse may leave.
It’s better to be prepared. Even though the knowledge is devastating, you can’t get help for yourself until you face the possibility that your spouse may leave.
8. So you can protect your health.
Affairs often involve unprotected sex that can put you at risk for all kinds of sexually transmitted diseases….even some that can kill you. If you know, you can get tested and protect yourself by abstaining or practicing safe sex.
9. So you can financially protect you and your children.
There are steps you can take to protect your assets if your spouse is having an affair. You cannot depend on a cheating spouse to protect the interests of your family while they are deep in the fog of infatuation. Divorce can have a horrible financial impact on an unsuspecting partner.
10. So you can legally protect yourself.
You may need an attorney to protect your legal rights if your spouse is involved in an affair or seeks divorce. You need to educate yourself about things like child custody, alimony, and division of assets etc.
11. To confront your spouse with real evidence instead of suspicions.
The first step towards ending the affair is confronting the affair. Don’t give a cheating spouse the ability to pull the wool over your eyes. If you can confront your spouse with real proof, you can begin to deal with the truth and destroy the fantasy.
Suggested reading: Frank Pittman “Private Lies”
Written assignment: Write down a list of the personal reasons you need to know the truth.
7/19/2016 Okay--I'm going to temporarily add this outline to show where this is going and how far I have gotten. Intuition 101
Red Flag Guide
Knowledge is Power
Benefits of knowing
Is it lawful?
Is it ethical?
Are you ready for what you find?
How much do you need to know?
When do you stop snooping?
What to do in the first days after D-Day
What to do in the first week after D-Day
More self care
When is the right time to confront?
Should I get an attorney?
How to choose one.
When you can’t afford one.
Taking back your power
Going on offense
The right way to confront
blame shifting, gas lighting and other ploys
Should I expose or not?
If the affair ends.
If the affair doesn’t end.
Who are good targets for exposure?
Should I tell the kids?
AssignmentsNo Contact 204 Recovery 301
This is as far as I've gotten so far, but you can see the general feel and direction.
Mark---I have a bunch of good notes on the investigation part:
-cell phone records
-recorders (check legality)
-browser history and hidden emails
-check the "trash" both at home and on the computer
-look for things in plain sight--coat pockets, rafters, attics, hidden in work files, brief case, wallet, receipts
-follow the money
-ask the people around you
-google account history/task manager
-set a trap like leaving for weekend
-body fluid detection