Guest: Robert Weiss LCSW, CSAT-S
Presenter: Neal Howard
Guest Bio: ROBERT WEISS, LCSW, CSAT-S, has served for the past seven years as senior vice president of national clinical development for Elements Behavioral Health. In this capacity, he has established and overseen addiction and mental health treatment programs for more than a dozen treatment facilities, including Promises Treatment Centers in Malibu and Los Angeles, The Ranch in rural Tennessee, and The Right Step in Texas. He was instrumental in integrating Dr. Brené Brown’s The Daring Way™ curriculum into the Elements system. Previously, he developed sexual addiction treatment programming for the Sexual Recovery Institute in Los Angeles and an addiction and trauma treatment program in New Mexico.
Segment overview: Robert Weiss, LCSW, CSAT-S, discusses sexual addiction treatment and recovery.
Health Professional Radio – Recovery from Intimacy Issues
Neal Howard: Hello and welcome to Health Professional Radio, I’m your host Neal Howard, so glad that you could join us today. The world of cheating has changed dramatically. 30 or 40 years ago, you might have to actually go out on a date in order to find a bit of intimacy. Now, it’s right at your fingertips, simply a click away. Our guest in studio is Robert Weiss, expert in intimacy issues in the digital age. And he’s here with us today as a returning guest to talk about what men and women can expect when infidelity rears its ugly head. Welcome in the Health Professional Radio Robert, glad to have you back.
Robert Weiss: Thanks Neal, I was listening and you say that I was saying well it’s not going to be a good day (laughs).
N: You’re the author of a brand new book. It’s just been released this month. It’s called, ‘Out of the Doghouse’. Talk about this book and why did you write it and who’s the audience?
R: Well, I wrote the book, I’ve been working in the field of sexual addiction, compulsive sexuality, cheating, and infidelity for almost 25 years as you said and I see patterns of when, how you can you help it and the patterns that most couples, most heterosexual couples seemed to try to play out when they’re healing. And when infidelity is discovered, 9 times out of 10 there’s fairly typical things that I will see a female spouse go through and then I will also see a male spouse if he is the cheater trying to fix the problem in a whole bunch of ways. These are innate, these just when she comes up for you as a human being. You want to fix something that you do, and you hurting with what you do. But the ways that men and women treat each other in relationship when they trying to heal it or you can just make it better don’t seemed to be that effective and so I wrote a book for women to let them know that there was a guy out there who understood what they went through when they were cheated on. And, also for them to understand that they have a right to heal with the sort of responsibility taking of that men or wife, which I don’t normally see happen on the men’s side.
N: So we’re talking about healing, the cheated-on spouse especially, but what about the healing of the cheater? Getting to the root of why they cheat, whether it’s impulsive or whatever, getting to the root of why they cheated in the first place. Isn’t there some healing involved on the cheater’s part as well?
R: Well, I think there’s always a question of what was that about. First one, I’m not sure that monogamy is our natural state of being and I’m not saying that it is. What I am standing in is really important that I see that. What I am saying is that, if you marry someone or you make a commitment to just someone that involves monogamy, that’s what means something – your word, your contract, your agreement. And so if you say to yourself, ‘I’m going to be marry this woman’ for example, and ‘I’m going to be monogamous’, that’s your commitment, your word in your contract and that is what that woman expects. So 3 years later, you’re in the bachelor’s party and you just get some lap dance and go on the back and whatever happens, happens. You have broken that agreement. If you don’t tell your partner then they assume you’ve cut that agreement. Now, in business, these would have a whole bunch of complications for a company that says one thing and does another. In marriages that usually foretells a beginning of the whole lot of unhappiness (laughs).
N: Now, in the book, your brand new book, ‘Out of the Doghouse: A Step-by-Step Relationships Saving Guide for Men Caught Cheating’, you’ve got an entire chapter just dedicated on how not to make the situation worse. I think it’s pretty interesting. Talk about making the situation worse. Give us some specifics that we can avoid in that situation.
R: Well, I hope you’re not in that situation Neal. But should you do end up in that situation, here’s something you avoid. Meaning, in the question is how do guy screw up or really badly manage try to heal infidelity when they are the ones who’ve committed it? And I see things like, I think the worst offenses are in blaming the spouse. Well if you were sinner, if you have more sex with me, if you just want nag with me all the time, maybe I wouldn’t going to do this. Not a good idea. I don’t think a hurting spouse is ready to take responsibility for your cheating and if they do, you’re only hurting them further. Because you’re taking your bad actions and making them feel responsible for them and then they hurt twice as much. I don’t think that healing infidelity is about saying to a partner things like ‘calm down’, or ‘it was not that big deal to me’, or ‘she didn’t mean anything to me’, or ‘didn’t go on for that long’. In other words, trying to make it sound like it wasn’t as bad as she thinks it is (laughs). It’s doesn’t matter what she. It is bad, it’s already bad and let her think whatever she wants. By trying to give her words, and presence, and gifts like you would do to a child to make your wife or girlfriend feel better like, ‘I know I’ve cheated on you, but here are some candies, or flowers, or a vacation’, they may take that candy, flowers, or vacation I would. But they’re still going to hate your guts (laughs). So it really, really just cause you a bunch of money. It will have not have gained or regained their trust or help to heal the wound. I also think that men seem to assume that their relationship contract that they made with their spouse once they’ve broke it should be the same anyway. In other words, you should lovingly greet me at the door, I should lovingly greet you, we should be happy, you should forgive me, you should accept what I’ve done, you should like, ‘Wait a minute, you broke the contract. So all that’s are off’. So in other words, I think trying to talk as passive, ‘Could you not be so angry or could you calm down’, there’s a really bad offense. ‘It’s been at least a month since that happened. When are you going to calm down?’ Well let’s see. That’s the word. Let’s try this. ‘We’ve been married for 12 years and you cheated for a year and a half and I’m supposed to calm down in 3 weeks. Help me understand that.’ That’s what your spouse will say. And then the guy says, ‘Oh my God, my wife has turned into a witch’. Then there’s the other side where the guys saying, ‘Oh my God, my wife would give me a break, my girlfriend will give me a break. All I need to do is.’ That doesn’t help either. So finding other men who will validate your victimhood, how sad it is that your spouse found the … and now you’re in the doghouse. That’s doesn’t work. What works is accepting that you’re in the doghouse, that you dirtied your home and you hurt somebody and you need to go out there for long. Think about what you did and think about what it means. And find a way to come back with these all compassion and empathy, not bargaining and the demands.
N: So, if I’m understanding correctly, your book focuses basically on coming together, both people and one person having to basically accept, ‘I dirtied the house. I can’t clean it up by myself’, and I have to just wait on this other person to allow me to be back in good graces.’ If that will happen at all.
R: Well, it’s interesting that it’s funny how we phrase things right? Because that’s a great way. I see to think about it and this maybe not useful which is, ‘I’m going to wait, I’ll let her be angry for a while’ (laughs). It’s like, really? Like that’s your job to allow her to be angry? She’ll be as angry as long as she’s going to be angry. I think there is an equality issue here which is if you were at work and somebody stoles from you, you wouldn’t trust them for a very long time. You probably won’t trust them, you probably want to fire them, you personally wouldn’t promote them and if you ever saw them early at work when they’re with their hands in the safe 3 years later, you’ve been thinking, ‘Oh, they’re stealing’. So why would it be any different with you if you cheated and your spouse no longer trust you that you think that this is going to be an easy thing to work out and heal and books you buy everything will be fine. It’s going to be a long and this is what I like guys to know, like it or not. This is me saying this is how you have to do it. I just worked with hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of couples and women who’ve been betrayed and I can tell you what they want with the relationships and what they don’t want.
N: Aside from just waiting, and wishing, and hoping that a chapter that is dedicated on how not to make it worse, what can the cheating spouse do within themselves aside from the anger and disappointment of the spouse? And at least work on themselves until the other spouse or until the spouse is ready to accept trying to mend.
R: Well, I think you hit it right on the head Neal which is that, it’s the spouses, I will take since I was been cheated on. You’re at job right now, thus who won’t do I need to forgives, shall I not forgive or I need work with my assets beside the most comforting thing to someone has been cheated on and I simply to tell them your job is to be angry, and your job is to figure out whether not you want to stay with this person, that’s your job. And you don’t have to worry about anything else except taking care of yourself. And to the person who’s been doing the cheating, it’s more about your job is absolutely to that question to keep your word and don’t say anything that you’re not going to do and don’t do anything you’re not going to say.
N: Are you talking about that doing (crosstalk)
R: I’m not talking about sex.
N: Okay. Anything across the board lying (crosstalk) is out of the table.
R: Let me give you an example. I worked with a cheating couple. They were doing really, really, well. They were healing their relationship. She was beginning to read book about trust, absolutely true stories in the book. And 6 months then, she has to take out the trash instead of core signing and then of course at the end of the day is he forgot. So she came home that night from work actually true story ‘honey you took up the trash, right? And he said, of course I did. But then he ran up seek up trash and while she was washing her hands about already end of a long day, he saw her as she taking the trash can after that curve even I’m just told you already done it. And she walked over out to the bathroom, right before dinner, she said, ‘Honey, I just want you to know I love you dearly and I’m really glad that we lived together, and loved each other, but this relationship is over’. And he said, ‘What are you talking about?’. And she said, ‘If you can’t tell me the truth about when you forgot to take out the trash, how will they ever know if you’re going to tell me the truth about another women’. And so, every truth becomes hypervigilance. Every truth becomes, well if you’re lying about this, what these women are trying to do is regain trust. I have never met or I’ve rarely met a spouse who’s been blind sighted by infidelity, a female spouse who says to me, ‘Well, I’m ready to get out of this relationship’. Mostly they command and they are like, ‘Where did that trap coming from that hit me, I’m not sure which way it went to. Am I in the ground or in the hospital?’ These spouses are shocked and overwhelmed and they’re not necessarily certainly wanting to get out of the relationship. They’re actually looking for reasons to stay in it. So if you acts like someone who’s responsible and truth-telling with integrity and all in your stuff, overtime, it is likely your spouse will begin to see you again as they trustworthy, reliable, committed-partner, and that can take a year or more.
N: The book is ‘Out of the Doghouse: A Step-by-Step Relationships Saving Guide for Men Caught Cheating’. Our guest is the author of this brand new book, Mr. Robert Weiss, expert in intimacy and infidelity issues in the digital age. Thanks for coming in today Robert.
R: Thank You.
N: Alright. Transcripts and audio of this program are available at healthprofessionalradio.com.au and also at hpr.fm. You can listen it in on SoundCloud and subscribe to this podcast on iTunes.