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Written by “Mr. Nice Guy” the newest member of THE GUYS.
5 years ago I was Tiger.Relationship, job, personal life completely in shambles.Unfathomable amounts of pain and horrendous feelings of betrayal for my wife, family and friends.Fast forward to today and the picture is that of a faithful spouse and dedicated father with career on the fast track.Relationship with my wife is more close and real than ever before.
Is “Love” Addiction Real?
From my experience, absolutely.As a serial cheater, I knew I was doing the wrong thing, tried to stop several times, but ended up going back to my “high” as a way of coping.The rush addicts get from their drug is chemically pretty much the same whether that drug is alcohol, drugs, sex or food.And it’s not uncommon to get one under control and then have another one rage out of control.Lots of books on this.Patrick Carnes has written oodles on the topic.I know that since I’ve treated my susceptibility as an addiction, it’s been under control ever since.If you treat something like it’s an addiction and then it stops, I think the question of whether it’s an addiction or not becomes secondary.
Can Guys Change or Once a Cheater Always a Cheater?
Guys can absolutely change … both externally and internally.Been to your 25th high school reunion yet?If so you know the former is true.The internal changes are tougher.For me it was lots of therapy and TLC from spouse, friends and family.Guys’ (and gals’) brains get wired at a pretty young age and if the tendency to cheat gets wired in, it takes *a lot* of work to change that wiring, but it can be done.And it’s an ongoing process.
How Did My Wife Forgive Me?
I’m not sure how she did, frankly, so what I write below should not be interpreted as me speaking for her – just “best guesses” on my part.I do know that I am eternally grateful to her for taking me back and giving me a second chance.If the shoe were on the other foot, I hope I would show the same strength, character, courage and understanding and forgive her like she did me.We still have heated arguments over it (mostly me listening) and I definitely am still earning her trust back. Forgiveness for stuff like this is not a moment in time, but a long process which requires lots of discussion, reflection, listening etc. I think one key to her forgiving me was seeing how I was taking therapy and recovery program work very seriously.She also knew that I had a very strong track record of self-improvement and knew that I was determined to live a life of integrity and leave the underworld behind.When things first hit, the support of her family and an extremely talented therapist/counselor were absolutely critical in stopping the bleeding and establishing the desire to heal.My wife also knew the addiction/mental illness spectrum up close as several of our friends and family members have battled it for a long time.Her forgiveness has been transformational for both of us.I often wonder what our (and our kids) lives would be like if she hadn’t forgiven me.Her ability to forgive literally saved my life — I am forever grateful to her and love her more than ever.
Have You Had Experiences With This?
Have you ever taken someone back after a Tiger Woods like level of betrayal?Or have you (or some woman you know) been a female version of Tiger and been forgiven?My guess would be that cases like mine where forgiveness is granted are probably the exception not the rule.