Blog
Betrayal

Betrayal

This show furnished by Triune Therapy Group.

[Background music]

Dr. Kate: Good evening Los Angeles. Welcome to Behind Closed Doors. Heard every Saturday at 6pm right here on Talk Radio 790 KABC. I’m Dr. Kate Balestrieri.

Lauren: And I’m Lauren Dummit.

Dr. Kate: And we’re the co-founders of Triune Therapy Group, a psychotherapy practice here in Los Angeles. Behind Closed Doors is a show about sex, relationships, mental health, addiction, staying healthy and other related current events. Today, we’re going to be focusing on betrayal and how it impacts us across all areas of life. So if you have any questions about this topic, feel free to give us a call at 800-222-5222. That’s 800-222KABC, or message us on Instagram or Facebook @behindcloseddoorskabc.

So Lauren, I’m so curious. When I’d asked you if you wanted to talk about betrayal, what was your first thought.

Lauren: Well, I think it’s a really important topic. I think it happens in relationships on all different levels. I think as sex addiction therapists, we see a lot of relational betrayal in terms of sex, in terms of infidelity. However, betrayal also, there is financial betrayal, there is all different forms of betrayal. So, I think it’s an interesting concept to think about in relationships.

Dr. Kate: Yeah. I think about that too. You know, I think about all the different subtle ways that we betray our partners unwittingly and knowingly sometimes. But really, I mean, betrayal is such a big concept and it can happen in lots of different small kind of micro betrayals, as well as the big deals, you know.

Lauren: Right.

Dr. Kate: Like having a sexual affair, or hiding money on a private island somewhere. You know, but we see that all over the place and it just seems so interesting to spend some time really focusing on what causes people to betray one another? What’s the big deal? Why are we doing this to one another?

Lauren: Right. And another thing that comes up in a lot of my sessions is all the ways we betray ourselves, especially when we’ve been betrayed and we don’t feel we have the skills to be assertive.

Dr. Kate: I think that is a really important point. I mean, so many people that we work with who are in our offices processing the trauma of the betrayal they’ve just experienced, really fall down on themselves.

Lauren: Right.

Dr. Kate: You know, they don’t know how to get out of the rabbit hole of despair that they are in, and out of feeling so victimized by the betrayal that they just get frozen in that place and feel really stuck.

Lauren: Well, I think one of the things that you are talking about that’s really crucial for people to understand is the nature of being a betrayed partner and how a lot of the partners present with symptoms of PTSD.

Dr. Kate: They really do. And they come into our office and they don’t understand that it’s been a real trauma to be betrayed, because we’re not betrayed by our enemies. I don’t remember who said that, but we are betrayed by the people closest to us.

Lauren: Right.

Dr. Kate: Right? It’s not a betrayal if we don’t care about someone.

Lauren: Keeping friends close and your enemies closer. [laugh]

Dr. Kate: [laugh] Well in this case, keep both eyes open on your partner.

Lauren: Right.

Dr. Kate: If you think you’re being betrayed.

Well, I’m really excited. In a few minutes, we are going to bring on Rob Weiss: he’s an internationally acclaimed clinician and author. And he is probably one of the most credible experts on betrayal and helping people understand its impact and what they can do to heal from it. But, before we bring him on, we got a question on one of our social media platforms last week about recovery, and the person asked: can people actually get control over their addictive behavior and find respite and healing? And I’m curious Lauren. You know, as a sex addiction therapist and addiction therapist, I’ve got a lot of thoughts about that. I’m curious what you think.

Lauren: Well, I get that question a lot, especially when working with partners and or couples. And what I say is that healing is slow at best. If someone is working really really hard to change, they can and it’s very slow.

Dr. Kate: Right.

Lauren: So, if two people… because I do believe it takes work on both people’s part, are willing to show up and do the work, and really be vulnerable, I have seen relationships heal in ways that… the intimacy is so much more profound than it ever was in the first place. So, yes I think it’s possible. No, I do not think it’s easy. And I think that if people are willing to endure the long road, it can be so rewarding and the gifts can be profound.

Dr. Kate: It’s so true. And I think one of the things that people often ask us is well, how long is this going to take? Right. That’s such a precious question because it really speaks to the amount of pain that they are in. And, when we really stop to sit down and say it’s going to take a little while, that can sometimes be a deterrent for people to actually get into treatment. But, the question that I’m always thinking is well, what are you going to be doing otherwise? Right?

Lauren: Right.

Dr. Kate: You’re just going to be continuing the same patterns over and over again. And, your very best efforts and very best thinking got you right here in my office, so clearly it’s time to try something new. And I don’t say that to be shaming, but sometimes people need a reality check that you can live in this kind of hell or pain. I don’t know if I can say hell on the radio.

Lauren: [laugh]

Dr. Kate: I did. Or you can leave in a different kind of pain.

Lauren: Right.

Dr. Kate: And it’s up to you to choose the one that feels like maybe there is a little bit more of a light at the end of the tunnel.

Lauren: Right. It’s like pain is a given and suffering is optional.

Dr. Kate: Right.

Lauren: You know, I also see a lot of the partners who rightly so, initially they feel like well, it’s his problem or her problem and not mine. Why do I need to do therapy?

Dr. Kate: Right.

Lauren: And…

Dr. Kate: I’m not the one who’s broken or messed up

Lauren: Right. And quite fre… not only do they need support to deal with the symptoms of PTSD, but it can be really painful to have to look at ourselves and to be vulnerable and to admit that you know, we have cracks as well. And it often, there is two people in a relationship, and you know, sometimes there are things to look at that are aside from the actual addiction that came before and it’s really hard to go there when people are in so much pain.

Dr. Kate: Yeah. Absolutely. And when they’re so angry.

Lauren: Right.

Dr. Kate: I mean, we are talking about betrayal, right? If someone is in the midst of their addiction, there is going to be some betrayal in their relationship because there’s just no way around all of the secrecy and the lies and the same and you know, keeping that addiction alive, but it gets in the way of real intimacy. But, you know, to come out of that on the other side and really say here is everything; all my spots and my stripes, it’s such a challenge and it take such bravery, but it’s really daunting. And when you have one person who is willing to get in the car, put the pedal to the metal, go into treatment and do the work, and the other person isn’t willing, that is an automatic in my mind in passing the relationship. That’s more challenging to get through than if both people just roll up their sleeves and grab a shovel and get into the dirt together.

Lauren: Right. And you know, the sad part is I worked with a couple in which the partner in this, the betrayed partner this case was female and the addict was a male. And he really got in the trenches. You know, I have to admit he was… had a very challenging entitled personality when I first met him. And, after two years, he had transformed immensely, but his wife was unwilling to do any other work. And unfortunately, he was really struggling with guilt about whether he could stay in the relationship because on a spiritual level, he really felt like he had outgrown their connection, but he had so much guilt and shame because he was the one who had damaged it in the first place that it really created a big impasse.

Dr. Kate: Absolutely. Well, one of the things that our inquiring party asked about is how do people get treatment? And there are a plethora of really well respected treatment programs out in the Los Angeles area and nationwide. Some of the programs that we offer at Triune include a six-week evening intensive outpatient program for men who are looking to recover from any kind of sex, love or porn addiction, or really just increase their overall capacity for intimacy. So, this is a great program for men who don’t want to go away to treatment, but recognize that they need more than one wee… once a week therapy can offer. It’s a six-week program and meets Monday through Thursdays in the evenings.

We also have two different programs designed specifically for partners. Lauren, do you want to talk a little bit about those?

Lauren: Sure. We have one program which can be done with people all over the world. We can use a online platform for that and that one is a twelve-week program. And, we also have another intensive; that’s a two-week intensive for betrayed partners. And, it’s not only betrayed partners of addicts, but also anyone who’s been at the hands of any infidelity. And, that I’m sorry its12 days, not 2 weeks fully. [laugh] But we also can do customized intensives. So, some people do not want to share with other people. They prefer to have it tailored to them and we can do that both in-house, or on an online platform as well.

Dr. Kate: Yeah. One other program that I just want to mention. Well, they are two. But, one specifically. I get a lot of people calling me saying well, is my partner a sex addict? Or is my partner just a narcissist? And, we’re going to talk to Rob Weiss a little bit about that in a minute. But, I’m always saying it’s a fine line. Right? There is a lot of overlap between the two often. And, we have a really great program for people in recovery from a toxic relationship with someone who has narcissistic features and that’s a twelve-week program that can either be done in person, once a week, or online as well for people who are not local in Los Angeles. And that program really addresses building one’s self backup after the depletion of being with someone who is invested in a one sided relationship. So, that’s a great program for people looking to kind of find themselves again.

Lauren: Right. There might not be any betrayal, but healing from a narcissistic relationship can produce symptoms of PTSD as well.

Dr. Kate: Absolutely. Absolutely. But, coming back to the idea of you know, accountability and recovery in our own behavioral patterns. You know, we hear a lot of, especially in Los Angeles about the ‘Me Too’ movement and so many people being held accountable for sexual misconduct behaviors or inappropriate gestures in their workplace. And, one of the things that Lauren and I offer at Triune is a very comprehensive consultation package for organizations who are looking to Me Too-proof their workplace, and we can do that on a preventive basis, or also on a remediation basis. And that can be really helpful when there have been allegations in their workplace to have us come in and kind of do a postmortem assessment and help create policies and structures that shed light on how to build a culture that supports egalitarianism and healthy communication in the workplace. Eradicating anything that might be misconstrued as a power imbalance.

So that said, we’re going to take a quick break in about a second. And don’t forget to check us out and follow us on social media. It’s behindcloseddoorskabc on Facebook and Instagram. And when we come back, we’ll be meeting with Rob Weiss and hearing more about his book: Out of the Doghouse.

Lauren: Thank you.

Dr. Kate: Stay with us.

[After break]

Dr. Kate: Welcome back. You’re listening to Behind Closed Doors. I’m Dr. Kate Balestrieri.

Lauren: And I’m Lauren Dummit.

Dr. Kate: And we are here talking about betrayal; why it happens and how it impacts us. And we have with us today a really special guest: Rob Weiss, author of Out of the Doghouse, Cruise Control, Sex Addiction 101 and Always Turned On: a book about sex addiction at a digital age. Rob we are so excited to have you here. Thank you for joining us.

Rob: Well, hey thanks. I had to leave writing to come.

Dr. Kate: [laugh]

Lauren: [laugh]

Dr. Kate: Well, we know how important that time is, so thank you again. Well, tell us a little bit about your background and your book: Out of the Doghouse.

Rob: Well, I’ve spent… at first I want to say first of all I know both of you; these ladies here, and I think they are extraordinary and I’m so glad that you guys had the opportunity to do this work.

Lauren: Thank you Rob.

Dr. Kate: Thank you.

Rob: Cause you’re allowing people to hear the voices of the people you treat and the message that you deliver on such a larger platform. And I think today, that’s such a gift that we get to do that, and not just sit one on one. So, I’ve worked in the field of sex addiction, I think I’m one of the early progenitors of the field.

Dr. Kate: You’re a pioneer.

Rob: I’ve worked in the field since the early 1990s and I wrote my first book about cyber-sex problems and online porn problems in the late 1990s when I was showing up for the Clinton stuff.

Lauren: Wow.

Rob: I know I have a page of Newsweek that I’m in my first major media appearance interview about the Clintons, back in the day. So I was there then. But, more importantly I think I was looking at the beginning of what we are now seeing as online porn problems, online sexual problems. And I was writing about that, and no one was really paying much attention, but by 2005, I hit opera. And the reason is because I think technological advances often bring challenges to people’s personal lives or individual relationships, but sometimes it takes a while for that technology to reach enough people to be a problem for enough people to be at the general population. So, now I’m seeing the problems that I was talking about in the late 90s all over the place 15 years later, 20 years later. And I’ve been writing ever since.

Dr. Kate: Wonderful. Tell us specifically about the book Out of the Doghouse. What’s it about? Who’s it for? Who should read it?

Rob: Well, the book is formally called Out of the Doghouse: a… what is this book called? Let’s see.

Dr. Kate: [laugh]

Lauren: [laugh]

Rob: I’m sorry. I’m working on the next one. A Step-by-step Relationship Saving Guide for Men Caught Cheating. And if I could take a word, then I would just say it’s a relationship saving guide for men caught cheating. Meaning… you know, I work with a lot of cheating people, a lot of… you know, when you break down sex addiction or whatever those issues are, the bottom line is if you’ve done this work for a number of years, you’ve worked with a lot of broken couples

Dr. Kate: Yes.

Rob: And I’ve seen hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of couples whose lives have been interfered with because of infidelity.

Dr. Kate: Right.

Lauren: Right.

Rob: And so I see some common themes, even when it doesn’t rise to the level of sex addiction that seem to challenge the process of couples healing.

Dr. Kate: Right.

Rob: And I see couples really wanting to heal infidelity and really wanting to get passed that and they just can’t seem to find their way so, I figured… I tried to decide why. What is the problem? And then I thought oh men are problem solvers. I mean, we are known for being problem solvers.

Lauren: [laugh]

Rob: We’re known for our lack of empathy and our problem solving ability. You tell me you had a bad day and I’m going to tell you how to fix it.

Dr. Kate: Right.

Rob: Not necessarily ask you about it. [laugh]

Dr. Kate: [laugh]

Lauren: [laugh]

Rob: Cause that’s what guys do. And I thought well, if we can fix problems with people who are you know, having a problem at work or I can fix a problem, why can’t men fix the problem of having cheated?

Dr. Kate: Right.

Rob: And what I decided having worked with hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of couples is that very simply, men don’t realize the degree of harm they’ve caused a female partner when they cheat on her.

Lauren: Right.

Dr. Kate: I think that’s so true. And there’s just so many different constructs that go along with being a man or being a woman, and I think there’s a big gap and understanding motivation on both sides and impact on both sides.

Rob: Well, we could have a longer conversation…

Dr. Kate: [laugh]

Lauren: [laugh]

Rob: About our lack of understanding in men sexuality in our culture, we could talk about how women have colluded with that viewpoint of how I think men want to be seen and we want our women to see us, but that may not be who we truly are. So, that’s a whole other conversation. [laugh]

Dr. Kate: It’s a great point. Well, let’s start with a common definition of betrayal. So, I’m curious Rob, how do you define betrayal? Because it seems like lots of people have different ideas of what that even means.

Rob: Well, because we are looking at an era where I can cheat on you in my belief system without having to actually touch someone in physical space, how do you define infidelity? Because I am old enough to know when it was you know, I had lipstick on the collar and we were hanging out at the copy machine and then you know, we will take business weekends together. You know, I know what an affair looked like in 1990.

Lauren: Right.

Rob: What does it look like now? And I think we have to redefine it in an age where I can look at the computer and be looking at nude images and say well, I’m just looking at playboy. It’s no different than what my dad did. And my spouse objects to that. Well, you know, how do we handle that? So, my belief is that infidelity and cheating are kind of like you said in the first segment, it’s really… it’s the betrayal of intimate trust. So, when I keep a profound secret…so let me put it in this way: cheating is the keeping of profound secrets in an intimate relationship.

Dr. Kate: Yeah.

Rob: If there’s something that I want to do or that I want to have or that I want to experience, and I don’t want to tell my spouse cause I’m afraid they might not let me, I’m cheating.

Lauren: Right.

Rob: If I go and do it anyway, I’m cheating. In other words, when I’ve decided that my needs and wants come before our relationship, when I’m able to put you out of mind, or out of my mind and go do something on my own, for me only, that’s cheating.

Dr. Kate: Well, how is that cheating in contrast to everybody is okay and on the same page that golf on the weekend for example, is accepted and that’s okay, but I don’t tell my partner about it, I’m just going to go play golf, we’ll address it later.

Rob: Well, I would consider that a form of cheating too.

Dr. Kate: Okay.

Rob: Because I think lies in a relationship erode trust. And trust is what relationships are built on, no question.

Lauren: Right.

Rob: And I often say it to people… audiences: you know, the sex is something that someone doesn’t like that you had sex with someone else if you’re married to them.

Lauren: Right.

Dr. Kate: Usually.

Rob: It’s not a happy picture in their heads. But what hurts the more, and you guys talk about this all the time is the belief that I thought I knew who you are; I thought u of all people would have my back, that you would never be a person who would knowingly go and do something that would hurt me and yet you did. And you did it without telling me.

Dr. Kate: Yeah.

Lauren: Right. And then the one person that you would go to for comfort and support when you’re hurting is the one person that hurt you the most.

Rob: And this is one of the harder things I think for partner’s healing.

Lauren: Right.

Rob: Is that they cannot go to the person who hurt them and… And especially I think in our culture where there’s so little time for community and friendships, and we base so much and put so much on our partners that when we can’t turn to them, we are kind of at a loss.

Lauren: Right,

Rob: And so, that’s part of our work, right? Is to help people who have been cheated on build support for themselves.

Dr. Kate: Right.

Lauren: Also, I think a lot of the… I should say the betrayer. When they hear of their partner initially going to a group for partners, I would just use men for example, they immediately think it’s going to be a men bashing group. And what I say to them is well, they’re either going to be raging at you

Rob: [laugh]

Dr. Kate: [laugh]

Lauren: Or they’re going to be venting to other people. And, some of those people will have had more healing and be able to give appropriate, healthy feedback to them. So, it’s a great place for them to process emotions that need to be expressed.

Rob: I use to do a morning group where both the partners and the people who cheated would come. And the people who cheated would think oh this is great you know, it will be a Saturday morning, they think well, my spouse is going to be all relaxed after being in this group, and they are going to feel better about what’s happened, and we’ll go out to brunch. And then they would find… But, the good news is you said is if you can get people to vent together and find a group of people they share their pain with and relate to. There’s less likely to take it out in ways that are really not useful at home.

Lauren: Right.

Dr. Kate: Well, how do you work with couples Rob where there seems to be two very different understandings of what it means to be unfaithful? Because one person’s definition of infidelity as we just said is totally different than their partner’s sometimes.

Rob: You know, I do run into that and I have to say then I look at the relationship and who these people are together, because if you say to me, “well I don’t understand why my spouse is having such a problem with my looking at these online images. It’s not a big deal to me.” But if your spouse is upset, then the issue is not whether you are looking at online images or not, the issue is your spouse is upset.

Lauren: Right.

Dr. Kate: Right.

Rob: And so, how can…? There’s something not right if you’re saying “I’m going to go do what I want to do even though it upsets my spouse.” The reason your spouse is upset may or may not be valid, but that doesn’t matter. What’s important is your spouse is upset.

Dr. Kate: Rob, put valid in air quotes. I just wanted to point that out.

Lauren: [laugh]

Dr. Kate: Doesn’t mean you can’t say

Rob: Well, I mean, not everyone…

Rob: You know, there are people who agree with porn and people who don’t. You know, and that’s gonna be an issue, but if we’re… what’s important is that we’re in agreement.

Dr. Kate: Right.

Lauren: And I think it varies so much. I mean, I speak to people who think… who don’t even care if their husband go to a massage parlor. Other people, they would flip out if they even knew their husband was masturbating, or if they even knew that their husband was looking at Victoria’s Secret magazines. So, it is completely personal. And think it’s important that they have an agreement and these things are talked about.

Rob: Agreements are what trust is built on, and breaking them is what it’s broken on. And you know, I don’t understand, and I say this to the guys. I mean, a lot people asking why didn’t you write a book for people who cheat as opposed to men who cheat? Or why didn’t you write for men who cheat in general, not just men who cheat on women? And I think it’s because… sort of back to what I was saying earlier is I don’t believe that men fully understand the harm that they cause a woman when they have cheated on her. And it’s because men are better able to objectify sexuality and not necessarily relate it to intimacy or relationship, and women tend to be more focused on intimacy in relationship as being a part of sexuality. That a guy can go off to Vegas and get a lap dance and do this bachelor thing with some friends, and he is thinking well, you know, that has nothing to do with my relationship. There’s just me with the guys, and I’m doing what I’m doing. And it doesn’t even cross his mind that his spouse might be affected, cause he’s probably not gonna tell her, but if she finds out, she’s gonna say things like: I thought you loved me, how could you do that? I thought what we had together was important. And she’s gonna question the whole relationship.

Dr. Kate: Right. Because it does bring up in a lot of women’s minds this idea of who are you? You weren’t who you purported yourself to be to me. And I think that’s the biggest burn with sexual infidelity. Really all infidelity.

Lauren: Right.

Dr. Kate: But, particularly the sexual infidelity. Because a lot of women come in and they start talking about: I thought I married someone who is a feminist, I thought I married someone who is an egalitarian, I thought I married who respected women.

Lauren: And I think another thing that gets brought up as with any addiction, for example, if my husband for example, were to go out and relapse on drugs, I would deeply hurt, I would be deeply concerned, but I wouldn’t take it quite as personally.

Dr. Kate: Totally.

Lauren: And with sexual betrayal, it feels so personal, it feels like we’re not good enough, it feels like we’re the problem, or that we’re not pretty enough. And it really affects the partner’s sexuality as well.

Dr. Kate: Yeah.

Lauren: And their self-esteem. So I think it’s so much of… it’s so much of a deeper wound.

Rob: This is by the way why I think groups like you’re doing at Triune for partners is so important, because you’re bringing maybe an attractive intelligent woman who thinks that she’s been cheated on because she’s not good enough together with another attractive intelligent woman, and she’ll say “wait a minute, if someone cheated on her, then maybe it’s not me.” And that’s the value of the group.

Lauren: Right.

Dr. Kate: Absolutely. That’s such a good point. We have to take a quick break, but when we come back, more about betrayal and how to heal from it with our guest Rob Weiss, author of Out of the Doghouse.

[After break]

Dr. Kate: Welcome back. You’re listening to Talk Radio 790 KABC. This is Behind Closed Doors. I’m Dr. Kate.

Lauren: And I’m Lauren Dummit.

Dr. Kate: Our guest today is Rob Weiss, esteemed clinician, sexologist, an author of several books including Out of the Doghouse. This book serves as a primer for men seeking to salvage their relationship after infidelity.

So Rob, just before we went on break, we were talking a little bit about you know, some of the reasons that people get stuck in infidelity, or in the healing from infidelity. But, why do you suppose people betray each other or cheat in the first place?

Rob: I’m sorry. Did you ask me why I have oxygen on the planet? I’m sorry [laugh]

Dr. Kate: [laugh]

Lauren: [laugh]

Rob: Why do people cheat? So men cheat for a whole variety of reasons.

Dr. Kate: Okay. Let’s figure that out.

Rob: Women cheat for a whole variety of reasons. And then what we’re reading in current literature like Esther Perel; current sexologist, is that they are people who cheat when everything is good and they’re perfectly happy just for something to do. So…

Dr. Kate: So they’re bored.

Rob: I think men… I’ll be more concrete, I think men tend to be opportunistic cheaters.

Dr. Kate: Okay.

Rob: So, if someone comes unto us, if someone hits on us, if we’re in a situation that looks promising. That was air quotes “promising”

Lauren: [laugh]

Rob: And we think we might get away with it. It’s not unlikely that a man might think about going for that. And, I don’t think that women always operate quite in the same way. You’re looking more for connection, you’re looking more for a felt experience of being cared for, and that will lead to sexuality. And by the way, this is documented research folks. This… you know, and when I talk about what men turn… what turns men on, like we don’t have that stop button that women have; we are a little bit like dogs.

Dr. Kate: [laugh]

Lauren: [laugh]

Rob: Look at the research; it talks about what happens when a man is turned on, let’s say by porn. And you’ll see arousal in his genitals from the research, and he’s aroused. And if you ask him how he’s feeling, he’s saying I think I want to climb on top of that thing; I’m feeling really horny. That’s where he’s at. But if you do the same thing to a woman and you show that she also has arousal, and she also… and then you ask her how she’s feeling, she’ll say things like: I’m thinking about whether this is a nice person, or whether we would enjoy each other or… she’s not even aware consciously of her physical arousal, because women are built; biologically built to question their sexual choices for obvious reasons: you don’t want to get pregnant, you don’t want to be raped, you don’t want to get murdered. This is from… this is how we are built as beings. Men have a built-in sense of freedom around sexuality because we don’t necessarily have a feeling that needs to be tied to connection.

Dr. Kate: Well, we’re also talking about an evolutionary perspective right? I mean, men are trying to ensure the propagation of their seed by finding as many partners to mate with as is possible, whereas women during the burden of carrying the children, birthing the children, taking care of them, want to create a situation where there’s a lot of paternal investment because having a kid is hard.

Lauren: Right.

Dr. Kate: And they want to make sure they’re going to have a partner in that. So there’s two completely different underline biologically driven strategies here.

Lauren: Well, and I think that that brings up the concept of the oxytocin you know, for bonding. And when men orgasm, they do not release oxytocin and women do.

Dr. Kate: That’s right.

Rob: Yes. This is what your mother said ladies; it’s true. You need to get to know a guy before you have sex with him because you will start… not because of what your mother said.

Lauren: [laugh]

Dr. Kate: [laugh]

Rob: Because you’re biologically prime to begin to bond with that man the moment you begin to be sexual with him, and men are not built that way.

Dr. Kate: Right. They’ve got to feel the love first.

Rob: Well, a part of it. You know, it’s not like women don’t go out and have casual sex. There’s certainly a woman who would do that. And by the way, the reason men that like to get women a little bit drunk, is because that part of you that thinks is this a good person? Is this a good idea? — That goes away when you’re drinking.

Dr. Kate: Right.

Rob: So then you’ll just be kind of like “Casanova, this sounds like fun. Let’s go have some sex.” You know.

Lauren: [laugh]

Dr. Kate: [laugh]

Rob: Well, we are built differently biologically and I think that we can tend to overlook that when we come to cultural references like feminism or Me Too or all of it

Lauren: Right.

Dr. Kate: But I think that we are leaving out a really important point here: not every man cheats on his partner, not every woman cheats on her partner. So, what distinguishes a man you know, who cheats verses a man who doesn’t? What are the compelling and motivating factors there?

Rob: So when I wrote Out of the Doghouse, I had to come up with a name for what’s wrong with people who cheat. And I didn’t want to use a heavy duty psychological name, and I didn’t want to say they’re narcissistic or you know, whatever. So, I decided that the best word for someone who cheats or has just cheated once or twice kind of, is immature.

Dr. Kate: Yes.

Rob: You know, it’s immature of me to have made a commitment to you and not keep it. It’s immature of me to not be able to hold unto what you’re importance to me and go do something… And maturity I like… immaturity I like for cheating cause it implies growth.

Dr. Kate: Right.

Rob: It implies that I could get to a place where I’d have you more in mind and I wouldn’t do this. And that’s not really pathology, it’s more of a growth issue.

Dr. Kate: Right.

Rob: And then there is addictions and other problems that lead to cheating that are pathology and that’s a different deal.

Dr. Kate: Sure. Well, what do you think are some of the main impacts of betrayal on a partner who has been betrayed? What shows that? How are they impacted?

Rob: Well, they’re impacted in every way imaginable. Their self-esteem is decimated because… women are… We didn’t say this earlier, but I mean, part of how women are built is you guys are more holistic thinkers.

Dr. Kate: Right.

Rob: You don’t just think about something and how it affects you, you think about how it affects your community, your home, your family, your friends. You know, you think that way. And so, you know, when I come home and I have been cheating and I think well, it was just me and that little lap dance, and then you… I end up with you thinking this is our whole life. That’s the beginning of the challenge with a man not understanding how big of a problem he’s created. I’m not sure I answered your question, but that’s sort of where I ended up.

Dr. Kate: No. I think… I mean, that’s a good start to the answer. I think that maybe a different way to ask it is some people seem more deeply impacted by the betrayal than others, so what predisposes people to have a bigger and more catastrophic reaction as opposed to other people who like water on a duck, it just rolls off their back?

Rob: You know, I love broad sweeping questions that we all want black and white answers to.

Dr. Kate: [laugh]

Rob: Because… and I don’t mean that in an insulting way at all. It’s just like I want to answer that with a specific, but they are so many. I mean, there could be an immaturity of the partner, there could be the experience of the partner, there could be the religious beliefs of the partner, there could be prior experience she’s had where she has been abused or neglected or…

Dr. Kate: Right.

Rob: So, there’s so many reasons why a person cheated on might react more strongly than another person. It’s kind of like we get asked well, what makes a sex addict? It’s like oh I just want to say well, this you know,

Lauren: Right.

Rob: But, there’s so much complexity to this and that’s why we are here to explain it.

Lauren: Right. I actually just met someone at a party this weekend who was talking to me and told me that her ex-husband was a sex addict and that she had done a lot of the healing work, and often work with partners. And what she said was that obviously initially, she felt she had gone through a massive trauma. But for her, she was quickly able to grasp, which I think is a very difficult concept for someone in the trauma phase to grasp, is that it wasn’t about her, she’s like I am not a victim, this is not about me; this is about his problem he’s suffering. I think that takes a long time for a lot of people to get to. But, she said something that I thought was so profound. She said “you know, I married someone who is my best friend. And those thoughts cross my mind like I don’t even know who this person is” and all of those things that normally come out, but she said “I love him as my best friend and you know, if I can take the sex piece out of it, he is suffering and he is in pain and you know, maybe I won’t have sex with him anymore, but I can be his friend.” And, she didn’t put the emphasis on whether they stay together or not. And you know, I think that it… that often is a long road to get there.

Dr. Kate: Yes. Long road.

Lauren: But, it was really a profound insight I thought she had.

Rob: You know what? I wanted to jump on that because I’ve worked with women who were in early relationships. You know, they are a little bit younger, this their… may be the first really serious… or may they you know, first marriage hopefully their last. And they’ll say things when they find out about sex addiction, or even cheating like well, if this happens again, I’m out of here, or if he ever does this again, I’m leaving. And, I know that the person who’s done something like that may do that again. And how do I say that to her if I got groups or I’ve had to say that that woman you know, you’re saying to me that if he does this again, you don’t want to know, because you’re saying that he can’t tell you because if he tells you his truth and he is willing to be honest and have integrity if he makes mistake, that you are going to leave.

Dr. Kate: Right.

Rob: And I’ve had more mature women in similar groups say things like you know this happened six years ago when I work through it then six years later, it happens again and you know what I’m not going to destroy my family, my home, my kids, my finances just because he screwed up. Let him go fix the problem, I’m glad to be a part of that, but I’m not going to ruin my life because he ran into a symptom of his problem. And that is a more mature way of looking at it.

Lauren: Right.

Dr. Kate: Well, it’s an interesting point. I don’t know that I would use the word mature to describe that. If a woman chooses to stay in a relationship after her partner has betrayed her— that certainly could be an indication of maturity, but because someone chooses to leave doesn’t mean they are not mature.

Rob: No. I think leaving is a perfectly logical and useful thing to do. I just think if you’re going to stay, as these women were, then you can’t make unreasonable expectations like: if you ever do this again or anything like it, I will leave you. Because the goal of our work is to get the person who has been cheating to be more open: to say hey, I looked at somebody and I found them attractive, but I didn’t go over… to open up, and if they are being told if you ever open up again, I’m leaving you, that shuts… that’s just a bad dynamic.

Dr. Kate: Right.

Rob: But I fully respect the person, really respect the person who says I’m not someone who can handle this, nor do I wish to and I’m out of here, but like good for you. And boy, this person is going to learn a lesson really fast.

Dr. Kate: Right.

Lauren: [laugh]

Dr. Kate: Yeah.

Lauren: I don’t think there is an easy answer. I see women that feel so much shame because they’ve stayed when they are in groups with women who have left and I feel… I see a lot of women who have left and feel a lot of… like feel like they took the easy way out. So, I don’t… I think you have to make decisions that resonate with you.

Dr. Kate: That’s a really important point. I mean, we work with so many partners and that such a huge piece of the struggle is just should I stay or should I go? What are the pros and cons of staying? What are the pros and cons of leaving? I’m going to blow up my family for something that I didn’t do, I’m probably going to be blamed for it because there is so many opinions in families about whether or not you should stay or leave. And, it seems like a lot of the partners that we treat feel like they are in a catch-22, right? And, its… you made a really good point Lauren about how there’s a lot of shame that comes with either decision. Most women that I work with who have stayed with their betraying partners feel really shameful, like there’s something defective about them because they are choosing to stay, as opposed to looking at it from a position of empowerment.

Lauren: Of strength.

Dr. Kate: I’ve chosen to stay.

Lauren: Right.

Dr. Kate: This takes a lot of courage and a lot of bandwidth to try and grow with my partner.

Lauren: Humility and vulnerability. And I see a lot of the shame come up in them not wanting to tell anyone else.

Dr. Kate: Yes.

Lauren: Because they think their friends are going to judge them if they stay. You know, maybe they will share about it in a group, with other women that have been through it. But, they don’t want to tell their friends because they know all their friends are gonna say “what are you thinking?”

Rob: And what do you do? You know, I’ve said this to women who have been cheated frequently: do you tell your mother?

Dr. Kate: Right.

Rob: Cause then you’re… if you stay with this stay this guy, you gotta face her at every thanksgiving and every… you know, that kinda thing. Do you tell your sister who said never marry this guy?

Dr. Kate: Right.

Rob: I mean, how do you find the support that isn’t going to resonate the rest of your life?

Dr. Kate: And it’s such a good question. And we have to take a quick break, but when we come back, more about betrayal and its impact on our lives with special guest Rob Weiss. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook @behindcloseddoorskabc and message us with your questions. Stay with us.

[After break]

Dr. Kate: Welcome back. You’re listening to Talk Radio 790KABC. If you’ve just tuned in, you’re listening to Behind Closed Doors. I’m Dr. Kate Balestrieri.

Lauren: And I’m Lauren Dummit.

Dr. Kate: And feel free to message us on Instagram or Facebook @behindcloseddoorskabc with your questions or comments now.

Before we left, we were talking with esteemed author Rob Weiss about his new book Out of the Doghouse: a step-by-step guide for men looking to repair after infidelity. I know I botched the title of that Rob, but you can tell us more about it. And interestingly Rob, you have two versions of this book. You have a book for people who are looking kind of in general, and then you have a book specifically geared toward approaching infidelity and healing from it with a Christian slant. So, can you tell us a little bit about what is similar and different between these two books?

Rob: Well, I’m Jewish. So…

Lauren: [laugh]

Dr. Kate: [laugh]

Rob: So, even though I wrote a book that I really think embraces a lot of what I believe to be Christian literature and encompasses for my friends in that community what faith-based love and commitment looks like, I couldn’t really find a market for that because I’m not a Christian. So, I joined with a Christian friend of mine who is a therapist, is really well known, Marnie Feree, and she runs workshops and she works with infidelity all the time, and she put in the scripture. Cause I’ve had… it’s interesting I’ve had clients go through the programs that I’ve run and then said okay, I want to know I want to go through the Christian program. And I’m like well… and even the Christian therapist are kind of like “why would you want to do that? It’s the same program.” And they’re… they say you know, “I need to see it in the scripture. That’s how I was raised.” So, I thought well, why not give that to them? And Give them that opportunity. The other reasons are I’ve worked with a lot of pastors and rabbis and folks like that and clergy in general doesn’t necessarily know how to handle infidelity. And it’s sometimes true that more conservative organizations will, or religions will kind of lead toward blaming a spouse. You know, and it’s a little enculturated anyway you know, if your man leaves, it’s probably your fault. And so, there is religious literature that can come up around you just have to satisfy your man, you just have to keep him happier, and I wanted to say no you just need to stop cheating on her.[laugh]

Lauren: Right. [laugh]

Rob: So, I figured there was a way to do that within the Christian world where I might be able to reach those folks and so we did that.

Dr. Kate: That’s amazing. Well, Rob in your book, you specifically outlined some tips for men who don’t… you know, how do you not make the situation worse and how do you make it better? So, can you tell us some of those tips?

Rob: Well, having observed pretty much anyway that a man can make his infidelity worse, I decided to write some of it’s down. So, number one, and this is all out in Out of the Doghouse. Number one is continuing to cheat.

Dr. Kate: Right.

Rob: And a lot of men will say oh, honey I stopped, this is it or it was only one time or you know, and they are completely line out of their butts. And, the problem is… and you know this even more than I do, is that you only have so many chances to restore trust.

Dr. Kate: Right.

Rob: And if you say this is it, I promise I promise and then three weeks later she finds out that there was more, then how many times is it going to be before she turns to you and says “I don’t believe anything you say and if you say that this is it, it probably means there’s more.”

Lauren: Right.

Rob: So, continuing to cheat, continuing to lie. You know, there is nothing worse than a partner who is trying to restore trust find out that you are not where you said you were going to be, or you’re not doing what you said. You know, you need to be trustworthy. And a lot of men bristle at this. They are like well, I don’t want my wife checking up on me wherever I go. And I’m just like well, you didn’t want her checking up on you when you were cheating, now that she doesn’t trust you anymore, if you want to earn trust back, she get to check on you wherever you are. And you know what? That’s a healthy person trying to find trust again. You let her find where… you know, put her on your phone finder. And by the way, you don’t have to do this; I say to the guys, but if you want your marriage back, you do.

Lauren: Right.

Rob: One of the things I hate that cheating men do is they get frustrated with the anger of their partner and they say when are you going to get over this, you know, it’s been three weeks or three months and…

Dr. Kate: Or three minutes.

Lauren: [laugh]

Rob: And I’m coming home to this angry face day after day, and when are you going to smile and greet me… you know, whatever it is. And, what I wanted to explain to men, this is part of understanding the problem that you create when you cheat on a woman is that it can take a year, or a year and a half before that woman is going to feel safe and trusting, and so wanting her to be loving, warm and accepting too soon is going to doom your attempted cheating. I think the most cruel and heinous thing you can do to a partner is to blame her.

Dr. Kate: Right.

Rob: It’s another way to make cheating worse. But, if you say to your partner, you know, if you’d just been thinner, if you just had to have that,, if you just spent more time with me, if you just hadn’t aged the way you did, or whatever it is, there’s nothing more devastating than trying to externalize the blame on that partner, because they are already feeling like did I not do this, and then you’re giving them farther to be angry at themselves. It’s just really unfair.

Dr. Kate: And we see that so much in the treatment rooms. I mean, I think a lot of men want to understand why they cheat, and they don’t necessarily have an answer for it, except it makes…

Rob: Well, it could be opportunistic; it’s just cause I could.

Dr. Kate: Exactly. But I think often they are looking for some sort of reason outside of themselves, and the easy solution for them becomes the dissatisfaction they have in some attribute within their relationship, or within their partner that they haven’t been willing to talk about and be open and intimate with their partner around.

Rob: Well, I…

Lauren: Well…

Rob: Would add… I’m sorry. I would add to that justification that I say to you well, I’m cheating because you’ve gained weight and because…

Dr. Kate: Right.

Rob: I was probably saying in my head to allow me go to cheat in the first place.

Lauren: Right.

Dr. Kate: Absolutely.

Lauren: And sometimes I hear their justifications and to be honest, they sound you know, it’s not something superficial like you’ve gained weight, but something really much deeper like you stopped having sex with me and I… you stopped paying attention to me and I felt so lonely and…

Rob: Okay. Okay. But Lauren, I’m going to say this strongly: you can be angry at your partner, you can feel neglected by your partner, your partner can let you down, get fat, gain weight, not have sex with you, and you can leave them, or you can find a therapist, or you can get a divorce, or you can buy a new car.

Lauren: [laugh]

Rob: You can do a lot of things. It seems to be that’s a lot of women I worked with who are unhappy in a relationship, their only solution to the relationship is… unhappiness is to cheat.

Dr. Kate: Right.

Lauren: Well, that’s what I was going to finish the statement with.

Rob: Sorry. I just…

Lauren: No. That’s okay.

Rob: No. That’s my like…

Lauren: Cause I was going to say sometimes you hear justification that make sense and you can feel empathy for them, but it’s like you’re a grown man.

Dr. Kate: Yes.

Lauren: We have words to use.

Rob: Right.

Lauren: You know, there’s other option.

Dr. Kate: And choices.

Rob: Use your marriage words.

Dr. Kate: [laugh]

Lauren: [laugh]

Dr. Kate: So true. So true. And I think it really highlights you know, an unconscious desire to retaliate. Because I think when people feel dissatisfied in their relationships, instead of looking inwards and saying well, how am I showing up in this relationship? They look at their partner and say what are you doing for me? And, because they are not seeing what they would like to see, they go in their mind, they have all sorts of expletives and they usually end in F words and other fun words. And then they go out and they do whatever they want feeling completely justified and entitled because they’ve drawn themselves up into a tizzy around how angry they are.

Lauren: Right.

Dr. Kate: And, that kind of retaliation isn’t always on the surface and available to them, but if you pick just a few of the layers back on the onion, it’s pretty easy to understand.

Lauren: Right.

Rob: And to support that, I’ll tell you something else that doesn’t work. Last strategy I’ll offer you is trying to buy forgiveness.

Dr. Kate: Yes.

Rob: You know, cause I just know that she loves that flower and she loves this vacation and she really wanted that necklace, and if I do those things, then she’ll forgive me. And what I say to women in Out of the Doghouse is take the necklace, take the vacation, take the money and hate him anyway.

Dr. Kate: [laugh]

Lauren: [laugh]

Rob: [laugh] Cause you deserved it.

Dr. Kate: Yes. So right. [laugh]

Lauren: [laugh] What would you suggest to men that they do do to repair their relationship?

Rob: Well, that’s a really… I mean, it’s not just the opposite of the things that you don’t do, but I think the greatest thing that a man can do is to have in the biggest sense is to have empathy or understanding of what he’s put his spouse through to..

Dr. Kate: Well, I mean, if only.

Lauren: [laugh]

Dr. Kate: If only we could just saying here is some empathy; try it on for size. How do people…

Rob: Well, this is why I wrote Out of the Doghouse.

Lauren: Yes.

Dr. Kate: Yes.

Rob: I wrote a book for men who don’t have empathy on how their spouse is affected to say look, you just give this woman a gut punch.

Dr. Kate: Yes.

Rob: And you think it was a tickle, and you’re trying to fix a tickle with candy and flowers and I’m sorrys, and she’s lying on the floor in pain.

Dr. Kate: She’s bleeding.

Rob: It’s going to take a lot more. And I think if men can understand the reality of how much pain they are going to cause. In fact, wouldn’t it be nice if I had just said honey I’m going to Vegas and I’m thinking about cheating?

Dr. Kate: [laugh]

Lauren: [laugh]

Rob: How do you feel because…

Dr. Kate: Scale of 1 to 10.

Rob: Because you will see that pain right away and then you get to think about as a man do I want to put this woman through this, because I asked her first and I saw how hurt and devastated she was that I didn’t want to be with her. That’s a better way of handling it.

Dr. Kate: Right.

Rob: You might also try not lying anymore. I mean, the worst thing you can do is more lies.

Lauren: Right.

Dr. Kate: Even the little white lies. Even things like well sure I took out the garbage and then the wife beats you home and realizes you didn’t.

Lauren: Right.

Dr. Kate: I mean, this kind of little nuanced white lies can under…

Lauren: Or omitting little truths.

Dr. Kate: Yeah. Underlying..

Rob: Well, here is the thing: if I’m trying to trust you, if I can’t trust you to take the garbage out then, or to tell me you actually forgot, then how am I going to trust you to tell me something harder?

Dr. Kate: Take the hard things.

Lauren: Yeah.

Rob: So yeah, the little things matter at that time. I think actions are more important than words if you’ve cheated. So, coming home on time, doing the things you said you’re going to do, not making… you know, making… giving her the phone if she wants to check it. Just being completely transparent is the greatest gift that you can give her.

Dr. Kate: Absolutely. What are some of the key takeaways that you think partners need to know as they are deciding what to do with their lives?

Rob: First of all, I have so much empathy for partners because I think they just get a bad rap all the way around.

Dr. Kate: Definitely.

Rob: Like you said, there is no one for them to turn to. And when they do, sometimes it doesn’t work out well, and they feel shame and they are furious and they don’t… can’t turn to their best friend to talk about it. So, the most… I mean, what I would really encourage a partner to do is reach out for help and if you can’t, if you don’t want to talk to your mom, talk to your pastor, if you don’t want to talk to your pastor, go to Triune; talk to them.[laugh]

Dr. Kate: [laugh]

Lauren: [laugh]

Rob: You know, but find somebody because you need… this is what I think partners miss is they are in so much pain and they are so angry, that what they don’t add that up to is they need support.

Dr. Kate: Right.

Lauren: Right.

Rob: And you know, angry is a very empowering emotion. It makes you feel like you could take down the world, but underneath that is so much pain and so much hurt, and that’s what this woman needs support for.

Dr. Kate: And I just want to say something about that. Often times when someone has been caught cheating, you know, the easy solution is to send them to therapy, send them to treatment, send them off to fix the problem. And what ends up happening is the betrayed partner is at home with the kids living with all the shame, having to run the household on their own, they are without all the logistical support, they are without the emotional support and they are sitting with all of the symptoms of PTSD, that they haven’t even had to think about historically. Sometimes they can’t sleep, they can’t eat, they are nauseous, they feel dissociated.

Lauren: They can’t handle any stress.

Dr. Kate: They’ve got a ton of…. Yeah. Stress becomes… they are living like live wires inside their own world and that can be very isolating and can compound the amount of trauma that they experienced and compound their healing time which then wards any sort of relational help for them to move forward together at a progression that is matched. So, I think it’s really important that partners are addressing their own needs in a way that’s helpful for them.

Rob: Can I make one call out to partners. I just want to say, this is really important.

Dr. Kate: Yes.

Rob: I don’t care how angry you are, how hurt you are, how much this person has done to you or how many times, please don’t tell your children.

Dr. Kate: I was just going to ask that.

Rob: There’s nothing more hurtful in a family than when someone says look what your father they did or look what your mother did. And it’s around sexual affairs. Because as angry as you are, or as much as you want your kids to see I’m the good one and daddy is the bad one, they don’t need to look at their father that way and they would never see their father in the same way and you’re also inviting them to take sides.

Dr. Kate: Great. Well, thank you. We have to wrap up here. Rob, how can our listeners get a hold of you if they have questions, or if they want more resources?

Rob: I have a pretty well fleshed out website called, or fleshed out website. Can we say that..world of sex is a fleshed out website.

Lauren: [laugh]

Dr. Kate: [laugh]

Rob: It’s called sexandrelationshiphealing.com. I also do regular podcast called sex, love and addiction, and you can find that on [inaudible 54:50] or iTunes and all that. You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter and all that @robweiss.

Dr. Kate: Great. Thank you so much.

Lauren: Thank you so much.

Dr. Kate: Thank you for joining us today. Tune in every Saturday at 6 p.m. for Behind Closed Doors. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook @behindcloseddoorskabc.com and message us with your questions.