“No matter how difficult it is, put all the cards on the table”

Cat Boleyn and Laure Erlings wrote First Aid for Infidelity together. We are allowed to share a “Love is a Blackjack” chapter with you. In this section Kate and Laure explain why you should be honest about adultery. In the long run, this will help you a lot as a couple.

Kaat Bollen (36) and Lore Eerlings (35) have had relationship therapy practice together for years. Since there was a need for an infidelity protocol, they wrote a step-by-step plan to get started with their clients. This protocol now also appears in book form under the title First Aid for Infidelity.

There is still a lot of taboo about cheating. However, it does happen often. According to Sensua, cheating occurs in 20 to 25 percent of Flemish couples. It seems that we live in a time when everything can be discussed openly and freely. No sexual position is too weird, no relationship too special. However, infidelity is rarely talked about. The taboo remains in most Western countries. Although there is one taboo that seems even bigger: Forgive your unfaithful partner, say the authors.

Love is a card game

The bomb just exploded, and your relationship is shattered to the ground. Perhaps at some point you’ll want to put these little pieces back together again and carve out a new relationship with new insights and skills. Perhaps one of you (or both of you) doesn’t yet know if that was the intention. Whatever you feel about it, we can’t tell if there’s anything left to save until all the cards are on the table.

You can’t take your partner’s place in that the details don’t matter.

We know that not all infidelity experts have the same opinion: some follow the principle of “what you don’t know, what doesn’t hurt.” Usually this is to spare the cheating partner and not expose them to too many painful details. We understand this logic and have been affected in the past. However, our many years of working experience taught us something else.

Yvette and Ronaldo have been together for 23 years and the three children have been out for six months. And because Ronaldo had a new job for three years, life seemed to be smiling at them. Until Yvette received a sudden call from the hospital: Ronaldo had an accident on the way home and was in intensive care. Yvette rushed to the hospital, where she found another woman next to Ronaldo’s bed. It turns out that Ronaldo has been in an affair for five years and has never had a new job. Instead, he would go to his mistress during the day for three years and pay himself a “wage” from the savings account he had with Yvette.

Lisa and Marco came to us four years ago because it turns out he’s having an affair with his secretary. Marco confessed during treatment that he really loved her and that they had some intense moments. He assumed this would make Lisa understand that there was also penetrative sex, but that wasn’t the case. Four years later, this suddenly appeared again through a soap opera on TV and Lisa literally dared bring it up. Marco also gave an honest answer, because he thought silence was one thing, but lying another. Lisa’s life fell apart a second time and she wasn’t sure if she had the energy to face it again… After the first bomb went off again, Marco and Lisa found their way together again. Communication, let’s say: “clear” communication was another point of improvement that taught them the explosion of the bomb.

Let’s put it cliched: No matter how fast a lie, the truth will catch up with it. If you first try to “save what can be saved” and only acknowledge the undeniable, it can actually be less difficult in the short term. But, corpses often still fall out of the closet later. The big drawback to this is that the little confidence that has been built up in the meantime is wiped off the table in one fell swoop. You can start again after this plus the additional damage from lying/concealing also has to be dealt with more. This is more than double the work!

This is why we advocate total honesty. This is a sour apple that you should go through as a couple, but once you’re done, you can really have Clean cut decision to make. And that’s what we want! In our practice, we see that this is often very frightening for an unfaithful partner. After all, usually only part of the infidelity appears and was already devastating for the other partner. You would have to be almost made of stone by then to intentionally hurt your partner (by telling the whole story).

No matter how difficult it is, be an open book.

Moreover, the unfaithful partner is often afraid that if the other partner initially reacts relatively calmly or tolerant, it may be different if he knows everything. People often fear that a relationship will end when all the cards are on the table. It’s important to keep in mind that a gentle surgeon makes foul-smelling wounds.

In the short term it actually seems better to hide a part of it or even lie, in the long run this is often detrimental to the relationship. Not only for the sake of the relationship, but also for you. Because continuing to carry secrets weighs. Having the sword of Damocles hanging over your head can also always come down. Don’t do it for your love, don’t do it yourself. No matter how difficult it is, be an open book.

Elk and Arnold have a huge seven-year-old son and high school sweethearts. After the birth of the son, the elk entered a sexual hibernation. The fact that she once experienced aggressive sexual behavior made her distance herself from all men, including her husband. At some point she decided she didn’t want to be like this anymore. She did not want to survive, she wanted to live. And so you feel. It was a somewhat logical choice for her to open up about sexual feelings again. They may have always been there, but now they’ve opened up again. Unfortunately, this led to a sexual relationship with her personal trainer. Because this was a mistake, she got into a conversation with Arnold and was told that she had feelings for her personal trainer. Arnold was very kind and understanding, which was very difficult for his elk. He should have known…so after two months she decided to open up and tell the whole story. Arnold seemed to drown in the ground, but his elk knew it was necessary.

Wait, we find yourself getting lost in your head trying to figure out why your situation is different. Why is it not ideal for you to put everything on the table? Know: These are not reasons you quote, they are excuses you make. genuinely. To make it less difficult for you, we have listed the most common (yes!) excuses for you. And since we’re not the worst yet, we’ll refute them for you, too. Everything for your relationship!

Why should I say anything? My partner never found out the other information/details.

Yes, we know you love telling yourself that. But you also thought that your betrayal would never come true, right? And look what happened… You’re clearly not very good at appreciating this after all. Moreover, confession is not something you should do just for your partner’s sake. You can also do this for your relationship (so that there is nothing “between” you and your partner, so you can really call back) and for yourself (so that you don’t have to carry a secret with you). In the long run, everyone benefits if you go naked with your buttocks on.

My partner can’t handle knowing everything. will destroy it.

Of course you can, but it’s a little late to think about that now. Moreover, the damage to him or her would only be greater if it finally materialized. Unfortunately, the situation is what it is and you should only let your partner pass there once, but in a good way.

Details don’t matter, do they? Whether I had sex or not, the most important thing was that I was unfaithful?

This is really something your partner has to decide. You can’t take your partner’s place in that the details don’t matter. But we realized you’re filling in this one: maybe you and your partner haven’t talked about it right. That’s why we have included an additional questionnaire in our book that your partner can fill out, this way you can find out what he/she really wants to know or doesn’t want to know.

My partner wouldn’t be able to forgive me if he knew everything. It means our family is falling apart and I can’t do that to our kids.

This is also something that you cannot fill in for your partner. You don’t know how your partner would react if he knew everything. Your partner may not even be able to estimate this correctly. In addition, in our husbands, we see lying as the most difficult thing to forgive. Now when you deliberately choose to continue lying, you only increase the chance that your relationship (and thus your family) will not survive. you don `t want.

So, no matter how difficult and horrific it is, be honest. If necessary, seek support in advance from a loved one and make sure they pay you if you don’t do it yourself. to remember: The only way out is through.

The book “First Aid for Infidelity” is published by Borgerhoff & Lamberigts

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