Monthly Archives: April 2016

Reconciliation Tool #1: Myers-Briggs Personality Test [Podcast]

Your spouse had an affair. You followed the steps to end the affair, and now you and your spouse have made the decision to try to save your marriage and recover.  You listened to our series about Recovering After an Affair.  But now you want to learn more about the tools you can use to help you reconcile (the final step).

Today we are beginning a five-week series all about the Reconciliation tools, how to use them, and why they are helpful.  Although  there is no guarantee your marriage will be saved, but these tools can help you build a new, more healthy marriage.

In today’s episode we talk about the first tool–the Myers-Briggs personality test.

Katharine Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers, identified four criterion, or “preferences,” that define each of our personality types. Although everybody functions across the entire spectrum of the preferences, each individual has a natural preference which leans in one direction or the other within the four criterion:

  • our source of personal energy (Extrovert-Introvert)
  • how we gather and perceive information (Sensor-iNtuitive)
  • how we process the information we’ve gathered (Thinker-Feeler)
  • how we implement the information we’ve processed (Judger-Perceiver)

The first criterion, Extroversion – Introversion, signifies the source and direction of a person’s energy expression. An extrovert’s source and direction of energy expression is mainly in the external world, while an introvert has a source of energy mainly in their own internal world.

The second criterion, Sensing – Intuition, represents the method by which someone perceives information. Sensing means that a person mainly believes information he or she receives directly from the external world. Intuition means that a person believes mainly information he or she receives from the internal or imaginative world.

The third criterion, Thinking – Feeling, represents how a person processes information. Thinking means that a person makes a decision mainly through logic. Feeling means that, as a rule, he or she makes a decision based on emotion, i.e. based on what they feel they should do.

The fourth criterion, Judging – Perceiving, reflects how a person implements the information he or she has processed. Judging means that a person organizes all of his life events and, as a rule, sticks to his plans. Perceiving means that he or she is inclined to improvise and explore alternative options.

You can find links to the Myers-Briggs personality test on our Affaircare Quizzes page, or just click here to go directly to the test.

Here is a link to the Myers-Briggs wikipedia page, so you can learn more about it.

Once you have determined your personality type, here is a page that has the 16 Personalities and a description of each one.  Look up your own personality type and find out your own strengths and weaknesses.  Then share your personality types with each other, and look up your spouse’s description.  Does it sound like them?  Find out their strengths and weaknesses.  Learn about what makes your spouse tick!

Discovering that your spouse is not the same as you can be shocking.  But particularly while a couple is working to recover after an affair, discovering the ways in which you are the same can give you a foundation on which you can begin to build.  Likewise finding out the ways in which you two are different can explain why “he” behaves one way and “she” behaves another.  Maybe he’s just a Thinker and she’s just a Feeler: but that explains why he seems like an emotionless “Spock” to her, and she seems like an irrational, emotional jumble to him!  If you UNDERSTAND each other, you begin to build love.


Related Affaircare posts/podcasts:

What is the 180 U Turn? Does it help in recovery or reconciliation? [Podcast]

David and I are often asked about the 180 U Turn, so we thought we’d dedicate an entire episode to explaining what it is and when it is useful. Through examples, we explain how you can use the 180 U Turn technique whether you are recovering after an affair that lead to divorce or reconciling your marriage after an affair.

in my humble opinion, the 180 could be used for either recovery circumstance. But the gist of the technique is this: what you’ve been doing IS NOT WORKING. If you did not change and just kept doing things “as you are” then the likelihood that you and your marriage would stay a mess is about 100%.

Thus, what you do is a 180 turn from what you’ve been doing! Think of it as “The U Turn” instead of the 180 maybe.


The 180 U Turn list includes things that people typically do that are intuitive but actually very counter-productive, but the list isn’t perfect for everyone, and there may be stuff not included on the list that you should do 180 degrees differently.

So let’s look at a few examples.

When someone first finds out that their spouse is cheating, a very typical reaction is to cry and beg them to stay and beg them to love you and them around like a puppy dog pointing out all “the good memories”… The loyal spouse sort of enters this competition for the disloyal spouse’s love (PICK ME!) and buys gifts and promises they’ll change and calls them all the time nagging them about reconciling.

This is a VERY typical reaction, and it is 100% counter-productive! To the disloyal spouse you look like a weak, beta, wimp with no self-respect and no worth. Honestly it is irritating to have someone follow you around all mopey and begging you to choose them.

So the 180 (The U Turn) says “Do the OPPOSITE.” Another way to think of it is like George Castanza–remember how he did the opposite of every natural instinct and suddenly he had TONS of women? The 180 concept is sort of similar–do the opposite of what you’ve been doing that hasn’t worked.

Imagine what would happen if you found out your spouse was cheating, and rather cry and beg them to stay and beg them to love you and them around like a puppy dog pointing out all “the good memories”… the loyal spouse said, “I have decided to stop all this crying and begging. If you don’t love me, then so be it. I do feel sad, but that’s your choice and I’m perfectly capable of functioning without you and finding someone who does appreciate what I have to offer. So good luck and buh-bye now.” And then just carried on as if they were completely okay and like a weight had been lifted off their shoulders!!

Then rather than entering the competition for the disloyal spouse’s love (PICK ME!) and buys gifts and promises they’ll change and calling them all the time asking for reconciliation, what if the loyal spouse redecorated the house in a new color they always wanted? And the loyal didn’t call, and in fact seemed to move on okay with the disloyal? And when the disloyal called them…they couldn’t take the call because they were at an event having a great time and they’d call some other time?

See, trying to manipulate someone into loving you is never going to work. But begging and crying and following like a puppy and calling just show weakness. The goal of the 180 (The U Turn) is to help YOU become someone who has self-worth and who sees their self-value. If someone has self-worth, even if the one they love chooses to do something painful, they don’t doubt that they still have worth! They just accept that the person they love did something dumb and recognize that has nothing to do with their value! Make sense?

So going the first route demonstrates lack of self-worth…and the 180 says “How’s that working for ya?” Your relationship is a MESS and now you need to learn how to do the exact opposite to demonstrate that you are developing (or re-realizing) your WORTH.

In the end, who can say if the disloyal will reconcile or not? Doesn’t really matter actually. The goal is to act in a way that supports and reaffirms your own worth. If they choose to reconcile–coolness they see you as a stronger, alpha kind of person who can carry on. If they choose NOT to reconcile–too bad, their loss, because you are a person who can be just fine on our own without them!

You may choose to have them in your life, but you do not NEED them. Make sense?


How did my disloyal spouse become the VICTIM? ~D.A.R.V.O


As a loyal spouse, have you ever wondered at the painful, destructive, abusive things your disloyal spouse says or does to you during their affair yet somehow they turn it all around and blame YOU, so that they become the victim and they are justified in their adultery?

Have you ever wondered how disloyal spouses convince their friends, their family,and sometimes even church leaders  and their parents,  that they are the innocent one but you are a BEAST?

Has your disloyal spouse screamed at you for HOURS and blamed their actions on “a tone in your voice” but never stopped to consider that if a tone justifies how they act…what must hours of screaming justify?

As coaches involved in marriage and recovery after infidelity, David and I come across this phenomenon fairly regularly and the loyal spouse rarely understands how it is possible to do that.  How could anyone look at the situation and spin it so that the one committing adultery is the victim?  Clearly the one who has been cheated on is the casualty, right?  Not on the one did the cheating?  So how do they do it?

It’s a concept that was first “named” D.A.R.V.O. in the 1990’s by Dr.  Jennifer Freyd–so note: this is not a concept taken directly from the Bible, but rather a way of giving a name to the method guilty parties use to spin reality so that they are victim. D.A.R.V.O stands for “Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim Order”…so you can see that in just one acronym it identifies exactly the procedure a disloyal spouse uses. D.A.R.V.O. is not UN-biblical; it’s just a way of labeling or naming the technique that the disloyal spouses use, and thus it’s a way of identifying it for loyal spouses.  Our hope in sharing this is so that when D.A.R.V.O. is practiced on you, you’ll recognize it and have the tools to deal with it.

So let’s go into what each letter of  D.A.R.V.O. means.

DENY–by definition, denial is “the statement or the action of declaring something to be untrue.”  Denial in psychological circles is a defense mechanism in which facing reality is avoided by denying the existence of the reality.  In the instance of D.A.R.V.O., the denial kicks in when the guilty party (the disloyal spouse) is confronted with the truth of what they’ve done (committed adultery) and held responsible and accountable for their choices and actions.

Some different examples of denial:

  • Outright denial or gaslighting. “That never happened.”
  • Minimization. “It wasn’t that bad.”
  • Amnesia. “I don’t remember doing that.”
  • Redefinition. “I have a bad temper, so you shouldn’t upset me.”
  • Projection. “You’re abusive and controlling. You hurt me.”
  • Conversion. “I did wrong, but I’m a changed person and won’t do it again.”

“How does denial work?” you ask?  Well let me give you an example.  Everyone has various values and emotions that affect the way we view reality: shame, greed, desire, revenge, ego, pride, public image, stubbornness, inertia, impulsiveness are all things that change the way we might interpret facts in a given instance.  So if you were at work and someone who’s younger and attractive invited you to lunch, but you knew that your credit card was near the max and your spouse would see it–because of desire, ego and public image, you might go off the lunch anyway and even offer to buy lunch…and all the while you’d be in denial of the financial and marital consequences.  You can see how infidelity and denial go hand-in-hand!

“What makes this denial different than a falsely accused innocent party who says it didn’t happen?” you ask?  When someone is actually innocent and they’ve been accused falsely, they might say “That’s not true!” and then do something like give a list of facts to prove their innocence.  But when someone is guilty and engaging in  D.A.R.V.O. the reaction is a combination of projection, denial, lying, blameshifting and gaslighting (see above examples).  In other words, the disloyal spouse might respond with an act of righteous indignation, claim YOU are the horrible one because you “invaded their privacy” or “how DARE you accuse me.” In the example above, a D.A.R.V.O. denial response to the loyal spouse who holds them accountable for the lunch charges might be: “HOW DARE YOU question my financial judgment! I’m not the irresponsible one here, why just yesterday you spent $125 just on groceries!”

This leads straight into the next step of D.A.R.V.O.–

ATTACK–An attack by definition is “an aggressive and violent action against a person or place.”  In this instance it’s the disloyal spouse being aggressive or violent against the loyal spouse who is holding them personally responsible.  Sometimes the aggression is physical–sometimes it is verbal/emotional/mental violence. Usually there is manipulation, threats, or bullying and the intent is to scare the loyal spouse into ending the consequences or “backing off” the insistence that the affair end!

Attacks typically include almost anything including accusations, legal threats, intimidation, warnings of physical attacks (such as destruction of property or harming a pet), warnings such as “watch your back because when you don’t expect it, you’ll get it!” threats to ruin your credibility or reputation, ridiculing you for trying to hold them accountable, and pretty much any other abusive tactic the disloyal spouse has ever used before.  Women often use crocodile tears as an attack, because they know they can get their spouse to stop if they just cry.  Plus, they can always say: “I can’t believe you’d hurt me by saying that!”

…which this leads right into the final step of D.A.R.V.O.–

REVERSE VICTIM ORDER–There really is no dictionary definition of this phrase, but we should discuss what a victim is.  A victim is “the person harmed or injured as a result of a crime, accident, or other event or action,” and as it relates to infidelity, the loyal spouse may have been a jerk prior to the affair, but once the disloyal spouse chose to deal with it by committing adultery, the loyal spouse, the marriage and the family became the injured parties.  The person who made the choice and followed through by committing adultery is not the “victim”…just so we are clear.  The marriage was torpedoed…and unless the disloyal quickly repents and is completely remorseful, the family is also in danger of being destroyed.

Now that we are clear, in order to reverse the victim order, disloyal spouses often use a technique called Persuasive Blaming.  They convince the loyal spouse that their internal, personal issues are external–or in other words, caused by someone or something else.  I VERY typical example of this is “I had an affair because you….”  It’s the same method that abusers use to convince their victims that “I got mad because you burned supper” or “I hit you because you deserved it.”  Once the loyal spouse is persuaded to view the issue backwards like that, then the disloyal can keep the focus off the real problem (themselves) and try to force the focus and blame onto the loyal.  AND once the blame is on the loyal, then they can portrait themselves as the victim!

So in summary, D.A.R.V.O. would be when the disloyal spouse first DENIES the infidelity, ATTACKS the loyal spouse (putting the loyal on the defensive), and then , once the loyal is off balance, acts as if or claims that THEY are the actual injured party!  Here is what an example of D.A.R.V.O. might sound like:

LS = loyal spouse

DS = disloyal spouse

LS: “I have the phone bill, a printout of our credit card statement, and a printout of the text messages between you and XXX at work. I know you have spent 5000 minutes on the cell phone this month; you’ve bought her gifts on our credit card, and you sexted her.  I will not tolerate adultery in our marriage.  Please pack your things and be out of this house by sunset.”

DS:  (screaming) “What are you talking about? I didn’t do any of that! Of course we went to lunch once or twice, but it not like it’s an affair! You just trying to control me!  I can’t believe you’d invade my privacy because you have trust issues.  Who do you think you are?”

LS: “I told you, I have the phone bill and credit card statement right here..”

DS: “I swear if you try to tell everyone I had an affair, I’ll tear you to shreds in court.  You’ll lose the house AND the kids and be out on the street with NOTHING! Give me those stupid papers…look at you holding those papers like they were some kind of shield? Don’t you know better than to threaten ME!? “

LS: “I’m not the one who threatened you. You are the one who chose to have an affair….”

DS: “It’s not an affair for crying out loud! We’re just friends, and plus I wouldn’t even be friends with her if you’d ever shut up and listen to me. You know how much I love to talk but do you ever listen to me? NO! You think you know better and sneak around behind my back lying to everyone about me when I’M the one who has had to put up with you and your constant b.s. for all these years!”

Examples of How to Talk to Your Kids About an Affair [Podcast]

Here at Affaircare we do believe you should talk to your children when your spouse is having an affair. They are going to notice that something is wrong, and their world is about to be turned upside down just like yours–so they need a parent to tell them what happened and why.

So in this episode of our weekly podcast we are going to discuss WHY you should talk to your kids about your spouse’s affair, HOW to talk to them about it in an age-appropriate way, WHERE they are developmentally, and then give a specific example of how to word it.

Lots advise hiding it from them or lying about the situation by saying something cliche like: “We’ve grown apart and decided we can’t live together anymore.” We don’t believe that’s appropriate, nor does it honor God, no does it respect your children, nor does it teach them to be honest! It sends the children a confusing message for their parents to “grow apart and not be able to live together” but they are told to “just get along” with kids in their class who bully them or tease them. If parents can just run away when they don’t get along, why can’t they?

So we do recommend speaking to the children and telling them the truth about the affair. No doubt the disloyal spouse will be against this because they don’t want their adultery held up to the light of day. And clearly telling the children all the details of infidelity is WAY beyond their capacity to cope and deal with it.

Rather we recommend keeping it simple but honest, sticking with the truth, and keep the focus on what YOU believe and what you think/feel. Do not bad-mouth the disloyal, even if it is the truth, because that puts the focus of your talk on the disloyal and you are saying “S/He did ___” and “S/He thinks we ___” and you can’t speak for them! Plus, the disloyal is your children’s parent and a part of THEM and always will be in their life! Neither you or your kids can make the disloyal be a good parent, but you can be honest with your childrent and tell them how the unfaithful behavior differs from what you believe.

Less than elementary school age:
Developmentally they do not understand anything about “relationships” or “marriage”–they’d only understand that mommy and daddy are their family, and that they need both mommy and daddy. They’d have very basic understanding of right and wrong (something is a ‘no no’), and at this age they tend to see their parents as “gods”.

Be very simple: I believe mommies and daddies make a promise to only love each other and have no other boyfriend or girlfriend. Mommy has a boyfriend and I believe that is a ‘no no’ and I feel sad about it.


Elementary school age:
Developmentally they do not understand the entire dynamic of “relationships” or “marriage” but they have some idea from observing their parents and seeing their friends’ parents…and they have some vocabulary to express themselves better. They are old enough to have a firm grasp of right and wrong (like lying is naughty), and probably have some basics on morals and values. They will tend to view their parents as “authorities” and they probably will think that parents are splitting because they were bad or because they weren’t good enough for mommy/daddy to love them.

Still keep it simple and no disrespecting the disloyal spouse–just tell the truth and the facts: “You know how we’ve gone to Sunday School and talked about things that are right and wrong, like lying and stealing are wrong? Well I believe when moms and dads marry, they make a promise to only love each other and that would mean having no boyfriends or girlfriends, right? Daddy has a girlfriend and I believe that is wrong. So as long as he has his girlfriend, he will be moving out, and we will be staying right here. You will have your same room and your same school and your same friends, and I will be here if you have any questions or want to talk. Okay?”


Middle school age:
Developmentally they do not understand the entire dynamic of “relationships” or “marriage” but they may have had their first boy/girl crush and certainly know about dating…plus they have even more ability to vocalize their thoughts and feelings. They are old enough to know right from wrong, and their morals and values are being formed and finalized. This is the age of bar/bat mitzvah or confirmation where they begin the transition to adulthood. They will tend to think that parents are weird, dorks, embarrassing, and irritating…and may try things that are 100% different than their parents’ beliefs just to shock them (and to see if THEY truly believe it too).

It might be similar to the elementary school talk but a bit more advanced–still no disrespecting the disloyal and still just stick to the truth and the facts: I’m sure you can tell something is wrong between your mom and I. She is going to be moving out, and I wanted you to know why. You know how we’ve always taught you about right and wrong? Well I believe when people marry, they take a vow to only love each other and that would mean having no boyfriends or girlfriends, right? Well, your mom has a boyfriend and I believe that is wrong. I’ve asked her to give up her boyfriend and return to the family but she has chosen not to. So as long as she has her boyfriend and won’t give him up, she will be moving out. I suspect you feel hurt and upset, but I’m here if you want to talk, okay?


High school age:
Developmentally they THINK they understand the dynamic of “relationships” and “marriage,” and no doubt they’ve had their first boy/girlfriend, but they do not know the entirety of it. They are fully capable of expressing themselves verbally, but with the onset of puberty, the world is one big drama and they may prefer to talk to their friends or write in a journal. They should already have a very firm grasp of right and wrong, and nearly adult understanding of morals and values. This is the age of testing their young adulthood. This is the age when they are separating from their parents so they will tend to see their parents’ weaknesses and feet of clay, and they’ll likely value their friends first.

A bit more advanced than the middle school talk, but still no disrespecting the disloyal and still just stick to the truth and the facts:I’m sure you can tell something is wrong between your father and I. He is going to be moving out, and I wanted you to know why. You’re mature enough now to know right from wrong. I believe when people marry, they take a vow before God to forsake all others and only love each other so the family is stable and strong. Well, I found out your dad has a girlfriend and I believe that is wrong. I’ve asked him to give up his girlfriend and return to the family but he choses not to. So as long as he has his girlfriend and won’t give her up, he will be moving out. I suspect you feel really hurt, but I’m here if you want to talk.

We can not go into everything your kids may or may not ask–otherwise this video would be hours long! But this will be an honest way to get the conversation started so that they know that at least one parent will be honest with them and tell them the real truth!