By: Brandi Kay
The investgative reporters of Georgia Weekly Post
▲Luv Stuff.. Five women speak to Georgia Weekly Post. The First question that comes to mind when a spouse cheats is : Why ?
Georgia Weekly Post have received many letters, from both men and women of different ages and backgrounds.
As the subject of this investigative report, we selected those of our immediate communities. We will be publishing more of them gradually.
From time to time, Georgia Weekly Post will highlight some of them.
Most will be published as they are received.
We had selected few of them for evaluation by our experts where we found a common theme to share with our readers..
A look at a few private letters written by women, examined and further discussed by human behavior expert on the subject. Our expert of choice is a leading expert on women. A leading expert at Georgia State University had provided us with analysis and interviewed the writers. We substituted the names to protect their privacy.
The writers have made themselves available for further interviews. Our editors and adviser have spoken to them in confidence.
The first question that comes to mind when a spouse cheats is: Why?
Recent studies attempted to answer that question and found that the reasons behind infidelity differ greatly between the two sexes.
For men, it's typically about the act of sex-the more sexually excitable they are, the more likely they are to cheat.
For women, it's more about the level of satisfaction in her relationship; if a woman is unhappy in her marriage, she's two to six times more likely to cheat.
Regardless of the reason, there's one thing that's certain: infidelity is devastating. But there can be a silver lining. "In many cases, it forces issues to the surface of a relationship that would have never otherwise been dealt with," says a women expert at Georgia State University. What if You Had a Second Chance? Read on to discover what life lessons these five women gained through their personal experiences with infidelity-and what you can learn from their stories.
The best-kept secrets of SATISFIED couples
"My husband was abusive." "From the day I married my husband, I knew it was a mistake," says 56-year-old Elizabeth Davis. "He was abusive, controlling and expected me to quit my job in telecommunications to make a home for him." A little over a year into the marriage, she began having an affair with a man that she worked with in Sandy Springs. "I had no illusions that I was in love, but it was eye-opening to be with someone that made me feel good about myself, made me laugh and respected me for who I was-not who he wanted me to be," she says. "The affair helped me find myself and proved to me that I could live a life independent of my husband. It also gave me the courage to ask for a divorce. Twenty-five years later, I'm married to a wonderful man. We love making each other happy, and never try to change who the other person is," she says.
What You Can Learn: While the confidence gained from the affair may have given her the spark she needed to get out of a bad relationship, An Atlanta psychologist, says if you're in an abusive relationship, deception isn't the best way to deal with it. Get help first from a trusted friend, family member, therapist or one of the numerous state wide resources instead.
"We began to resent each other." When Vanessa Taylor, 28, married her husband six years ago, they both couldn't wait to have children, but after their wedding day something changed for her. "I started to really love my job, and kids didn't seem to fit into the picture," she told Georgia weekly Post. Her husband was hurt by her change of heart, and began to resent her. "We started fighting a lot, and I resented him for resenting me and we were just constantly hurting each other," she says. "One night I caught him trying to slip off the condom and that was pretty much the end of our sex life." Ultimately, the lack of intimacy caused Vanessa to cheat. "I met a guy online and we dated for about a year," she says. "It ended when my husband caught me." Vanessa and her husband agreed to seek therapy separately and together, and were able to save their marriage. "The biggest lesson I learned was that if I was unhappy in my marriage, my husband was only 50% to blame. Having an affair gave me the courage to ask for what I wanted in my marriage," she told Georgia Weekly Post.
What You Can Learn: While what her husband did may be shocking, the fact that there was unaddressed anger in the relationship created fertile ground for an affair, says an expert from Georgia State University. "Coupled with the lack of sexual intimacy there was nothing left to hang a relationship on," she says. Even though the affair helped Vanessa learn some valuable lessons and the relationship was ultimately saved, the expert - a woman and a leading researcher - stresses the importance of open and honest communication in a relationship as a way for a couple to stay connected-before one of the spouses seeks comfort or intimacy outside of the marriage.
These marriage rules should be put in the past
"I was bored and unhappy." At 35-years-old, Barbara Lewis was living the American dream. She is a banker. She lived in Buckhead, north of Atlanta, with her loving husband and two children, but she was miserable. "My husband was a good man, but I was bored inside and out," she says. "In our community, I always felt like a square peg trying to fit in a round hole." That year, she was in New york City on business and met Tony, an Italian man, on an elevator. "We had an instant connection. We exchanged numbers, kept in touch, and I decided to fly out to Italy to see him and get him out of my system," she says. "Instead, I fell in love." She left everything she knew-her hometown, her husband, her job and her country-to start her life over with Tony in Italy. "I became strong, independent, confident and much worldlier," she says. "That was 25 years ago and now I can say that my affair was the turning point in my life's journey. Today, Tony and I are married, own a winery in Italy, and have five children and 10 grandchildren between us."
What You Can Learn: Though Barbara's story ended up with a "happily ever after," that's not always the case when it comes to infidelity, which is why our Georgia State expert suggests looking inside yourself if you're unhappy or bored with your relationship. "Healthy relationships grow and evolve, and feeling bored is a symptom of relationship stagnation. Rather than having an affair, increase the romance, change habitual patterns within the relationship and communicate more about your feelings and needs." If you just need a change of pace, try booking an exotic vacation with your husband or girlfriends, or discuss moving to a new city and starting over.
"My husband was a workaholic." For 10 years, 49-year-old Barbara Riticher from Johns Creek created a life independent of her husband because he was never around. "Warren was totally consumed and exhausted by his work-there was nothing left for me," she says. "I was totally committed to my family and gave it my all, but knew in my heart that I certainly did not want this for rest of my life." One night, she met up with Brian, an acquaintance, and ended up staying out all night with him. Within a few weeks of meeting him, she ended her marriage, and two years later, she and Brian were married. But within a month, he died of a heart attack. "Meeting Brian was the best and worst thing that ever happened to me. He came into my life and woke me up, showing me…that life is precious and that at any given moment, it can all be taken away, so if I have a dream or a goal, I better get moving on it," she says.
What You Can Learn: "Barbara Riticher felt alone for many years, and feeling disconnected from your partner is the genesis of most of the affairs I see in my practice," says our adviser. The remedy? Speak up and begin a dialogue with your partner. Engaging in open, honest communication about your needs with your husband is the key to help a stalled marriage.
What he's thinking but not saying
"He was unfaithful first." Marie Jane Kim had only been married about ten years when she found out that her husband had cheated on her with many women. He is an airline engineer. He works at night and weekends. She works for a publishing house during the day. She has a 12 hour day. They have a teenage daughter. "I was very angry, but I was also very hurt, because I felt like I wasn't enough for him-like there was something I wasn't doing for him as his wife, which is why he felt the need to go outside of our marriage," says the 44-year-old. That jumble of mixed emotions was the impetus for her affair. "I saw him with his girlfriends. Several of them. Much younger than me. I refused to make love to him. I stopped. I kept thinking about the other younger women. I cheated on him-mostly for revenge, but in retrospect it was also because I wanted validation. I went out of my way to take my lover to a hotel at the airport where he worked, hoping he would see us. I wanted him to know that I was still desirable to other men," she says. Once her affair was discovered, the couple separated for a few months-but then began to seek counseling and were able to salvage their marriage.
What You Can Learn: Retribution is a common feeling when someone has been betrayed, says GWP's expert. "Anger can be quite powerful in clouding one's judgment," he says, which is why she - our expert - urges any couple dealing with infidelity to seek counseling.
Fortunately for Marie Jane Kim, her relationship endured the double deception. "The biggest lesson we've learned through all the struggles in 14 ½ years is that we are enough for each other," she said.
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