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By Chandrama Anderson

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About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and have lived in and around Palo Alto since 1969. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in Silicon Valley for 15 years before becoming a therapist. My background i...  (More)

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Gratitude, Repairing and Avoiding Affairs

Uploaded: May 20, 2015
I'm reading a novel called Hurricane Sisters, and the very successful husband has been caught having an affair, and is knocked back by the stupidity of his actions and wants to made amends and repair his marriage.

He asks a longtime associate how he's kept his long marriage: "It's all because of Joyce. She makes sure we operate as a team. The other thing is I don't criticize and I thank her every day for sticking with me."

The husband thinks, "I never did any of this. I never said I was grateful to Liz for being my wife, I hardly ever told her I loved her and we weren't even close to a team. That was my fault because I liked flying solo. That was going to change, too."

Recovering from an affair is a long process and some marriages make it and some don't. It depends on the will of the couple, if there are any addiction issues, mental illness, past history, and so on.

The best way to have a long marriage to do the things mentioned above, and by being honest, close, and having good communication skills to fall back on during periods of difficulty. Each person needs to be him or her-self and do what makes her happy so she knows she is truly loved as she is. I'm not suggesting you do everything together or are joined at the hip! But know how to comfort and support one another -- oh yes, and have fun together.

Also: Do not open any windows or doors to having an affair. This term comes from Mira Kirschenbaum. What this means is not to have a "friend" that you share with emotionally more than you do with your spouse, and to begin to share with your friend about your spouse and what's going on in your relationship, and then to not tell your spouse about your friend and the time you spend with your friend. This is often a precursor to an affair with your friend, at least emotionally, if not physically.

Be sure to update your communication skills. I find many people don't listen as well as they thought they did. They are busy coming up with a response, or feeling defensive instead. I highly recommend "Difficult Conversations" by the Harvard Negotiations Team.

So in the realm of being grateful, I offer my gratitude to you readers, and for your comments, too. Thanks for sticking with me, even when you don't agree.

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