The Aftermath of Infidelity: Guests

The Aftermath of Infidelity: Guests
Dr. Phil talks to guests whose marriages started as an affair.

When Karen and John met, they were married to other people. Karen left her husband for John, but John remained married to his first wife -- until Karen called her and told her about their affair.


After nine years of marriage, Karen still wonders: "Why wouldn't it happen to us again with other people? He lied to her, so he could very well be lying to me. How do I stop being afraid that he might cheat on me, or that I might do it again myself?"

 

She is also frustrated that there's distance between her and John. "I don't feel like I have his heart. He says he doesn't trust me because of what I did when I called his wife...He doesn't share things with me."


John says he should have been the one to tell his ex-wife about the affair. Now he has a hard time trusting Karen. "If at some point things go wrong with us, how much of what I confide in her is going to be public knowledge?"


Dr. Phil is surprised by John's reaction to Karen making the call: "This wasn't a relationship born out of honor, dignity, respect and openness. You knew this wasn't a paragon of integrity from the beginning."


"You're not sorry you made that call. You're sorry you got caught!" Dr. Phil tells Karen. "What did you think the possible outcome was going to be?" He imitates her: 'Hello, it's Karen. By the way, I'm screwing your husband?'"


He tells John: "You're wise to not trust her...She's telling you: 'You cross me, and I will burn you down.'" Things won't get better until Karen stops justifying what she did and owns up to violating and betraying his trust.


Dr. Phil says he wants to help, most importantly, for the sake of their kids. "I don't want them to pay for coldness, distance, lack of trust or problems between the two of you," he says.


He tells Karen: "You are highly manipulative. Search your character and decide what you've got to do to not be vengeful ... Commit to becoming better people. That means growing up."


Steven left his wife to marry Gail. Though they've got a good relationship with Steven's ex-wife, Gail can't past what she did 10 years ago. "I feel like I don't deserve what I have," she says.


She asks Dr. Phil: "Why do I still have so much guilt, and what steps do I need to take to finally get over the lack of integrity and character that I displayed 10 years ago?"


"What you're saying is: 'I want to be reminded of it every day so I won't do it again,'" says Dr. Phil, pointing out that Gail's payoff is self-indulgent. "You're punishing everyone around you by withholding part of who you are."


He adds: "Take your experience and instead of hanging your head in guilt, create value in it. You don't have the right to sit on the sidelines feeling sorry for yourself. Forgive yourself and get back in the game."