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We have helped many of our clients with the investigations we have conducted in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Nationwide. This page includes some of the most important articles from our Private Investigator Blog.

Rebuilding Trust in the Aftermath of an Affair


The carcass of the plane lay strewn across the ground, gnarled sections spread around like a jigsaw puzzle. This scene played through my mind as I thought about the destruction that I had perpetrated upon my own family by my unfaithfulness. I tried to imagine the daunting task of putting the pieces of my marriage back together in the wake of the affair.

Aviation investigators often reassemble the fragments of a crashed plane to try and discover the cause of the crash. In some cases they are able to restore nearly every scrap to its place. Of course, the finished product looks nothing like the original. Not only is the whole greatly marred, but upon close examination, even the pieces have great defects.

Likewise, the task of restoring a marriage is multifaceted. Though each case is unique in some aspects, I have found — through counseling, reading and interaction with others — that similarities abound. For us, healing began at our church door.

Apart from our Christian fellowship and God’s guidance, I honestly believe that we would have become one more casualty. Elders and friends gathered around us like a protective mother hovering over her wounded offspring. I can recall very clearly some of the major interventions, and many minor ones along the way. Numerous Christian friends upheld us in prayer.

The Practical

Initially, we sought professional counseling. From there we turned to literature. Some helpful titles were: When Good Men Are Tempted, Surviving an Affair, When Godly People Do Ungodly Things, and Love is….

I was fortunate in my job to be off during the summer. Being together 24/7 was extremely difficult for my wife and me, but it was also a tremendous catharsis. I cannot count the hours we spent together reading, discussing and crying. We have a trampoline in our backyard, under an oak tree. We spent many summer afternoons lying there under God’s canopy, seeking to knit our lives back together.

I rarely went anywhere without my wife — and when I did, I carried a cell phone and made sure that I was with someone who could verify where I was. Later, the Lord provided a timely job opening for me. I was able to relocate and remove myself from the presence of the other woman.

The Spiritual

My spiritual journey has been so deeply personal that I am not sure my words will capture my heart. Prior to my infidelity, I had ministered at a conservative seminary for nine years, and had been intimately involved in my church. This background made the healing process more difficult for my wife in some ways, because the things I pursued spiritually appeard to be the same things I had done in the past. In my wife’s words, “They didn’t work then to keep you from sin — why should I trust them now?”

Being an “isolationist,” I had to force myself to seek solid male Christian fellowship. Daily I am in the Word. Prayer has become paramount in my life, both as a weapon of war and an oasis. Wednesday night prayer group at our church has been a healing balm.

The last thing I do before I sleep at night is take my wife in my arms and pray.

The Lifelong Journey

Our daughter made arrangements for us to renew our wedding vows in Maui, Hawaii. With the sunset as our backdrop in McKenna Cove, my wife and I promised our faithfulness, as we had done 20 years earlier. We honeymooned at Snoqualmie Falls when we returned.

Like the shattered plane, some pieces have been put back into place. However, sin comes with a price, and our marriage is forever changed. Restored sections lack the original luster and many scraps still litter our lives. The reconstruction has begun. The process is a lifelong commitment.

Despite the fact that 93% of Americans rate having a happy marriage as one of their most important objectives in life, a disappointingly high percentage of marriages fail in divorce and half of all divorces will occur in the first seven years of marriage.

Copyright © 2004 John E. Paul. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Warning Signs of an Affair

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Elena discovered that her husband wasn’t just shopping on eBay® all those late nights on the computer. Steve just happened to see his wife kissing the kickboxing instructor in the gym’s parking lot.

Most extramarital affairs do not start out with the candid revelations: “my husband is out of town” or “my wife won’t suspect a thing.” Generally something has gone awry in a marriage before a dissatisfied spouse utters these seductive lines.

Factors That Can Lead to Unfaithfulness

The following are factors that can lead to marital unfaithfulness:

  • Looking for ego boosts outside your marriage.Men tend to turn to extramarital liaisons to build up their self-image or sexual self-esteem. Women are suspect to affairs to satisfy their longing for love, appreciation and tenderness. Beware of leaning on others beyond your marriage as primary sources for love, value and respect.
  • Neglecting to talk openly with each other.If you only talk to your spouse about the bills and household chores, you may be sliding into trouble. Holding in your thoughts and feelings does not enhance transparency in your relationship. Practice the art of small talk that can open the door to deeper sharing.
  • Resisting conflict resolution. Every couple runs into communication rough spots. It’s important not to build walls between you and your spouse. Some people mask their hurt while others spew their emotions. Neither method is constructive. Both ways create relational roadblocks. Unresolved conflict leads to isolation and leaves you vulnerable to fleeing your marriage.
  • Discounting fun and relaxation together.Think of the last time you and your spouse enjoyed a date or a weekend getaway together. As the old adage says, “Couples that play together, stay together.” If career, family and home responsibilities are crowding out laughter and friendship with your spouse, you need to book in some recreational retreats with each other.
  • Increasing the time you spend apart.The demands of work travel, ill children or differing interests and hobbies are common issues that can keep couples apart. The more time you spend away from your spouse, the greater temptation to drift in your relationship.
  • Allowing daily stresses and fatigue to sabotage your intimacy.Packed schedules and raising children are two common reasons husbands and wives feel ho-hum in their relational intimacy. Romance, in an instant, can remind you of the reasons you love each other. All marriages require times of refreshing and an in-depth look at intimacy saboteurs.
  • Letting your love life fizzle instead of sizzle.Familiarity and boredom can creep into any marriage. Beware of shaking things up in your sex life by dumping your spouse for another more promising lover. If you or your partner suddenly is disinterested in sex with each other, be sure to explore the true reasons.
  • Giving in to predictability. A little mystery can go a long way in adding spice to your marriage. Many couples succumb to affairs out of fading interest in their spouses. One way to continue your wedded bliss is to surprise your mate with love notes or an occasional unexpected outing or gift.
  • Living in denial. Pretending that problems do not exist in your marriage will only widen the gap between you and your spouse. Many extramarital affairs start when a frustrated spouse searches for a reality check in marriage by turning to an officemate or friend of the opposite sex for support. Dare to face the truth of your marital struggles.
  • Forgetting your commitment to each other.Over time couples are prone to forget why they fell in love. In our easy-come-easy-go culture, it takes courage and determination to honor commitment instead of convenience.
  • Failing to resist come-ons and temptations.In our over-sexed world, even the most innocent husband or wife can fall prey to sexual temptations. Before you or your mate find yourself in compromising situations, talk about safeguards for your marriage. You may need to avoid after-work soirees, certain hotels on business trips and sexually compromising magazines, movies or television shows. Thinking “Just this once,” can lead to a lifetime of regret.

Quick Infidelity Quiz

If your marriage partner exhibits several of these following behaviors, your marriage may be in danger of an affair:

  • Avoids eye contact with you.
  • Talks continually about the unknowns of the future.
  • Shows an increased disinterest in the topic of sex.
  • Makes excuses for not spending time alone with you.
  • Acts unusually guilty when you do something nice for him/her.
  • Quits complimenting you on your physical attractiveness.
  • Stops saying, “I love you” and even acts rudely to you.
  • Starts buying you gifts to ease his or her guilt.

Many factors can drive a marriage to the rocks. Help ensure an enriching relationship for a lifetime by taking steps today to guard the fidelity of your marriage.

One of the best recommendations for troubled marriages is enlisting the help of a licensed, Christian counselor. Often, involving a third party — especially one who’s trained to counsel — can force root issues out into the open and guide you and your spouse on the road to healing. Focus on the Family donors have also made it possible for us to offer limited live counseling support over the phone. To find out more about speaking with our counselors at Focus on the Family, please visit our Counseling FAQ.

Copyright © 2005 Beth J. Lueders, bethlueders.com. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Used by permission.

Mending Your Marriage After An Affair


Infidelity causes intense emotional pain, anger, disbelief, fear, guilt, shame. But an affair doesn’t have to mean the end of your marriage. Understand how a marriage can be rebuilt after an affair.

By Mayo Clinic staff

When an affair is first discovered, both partners feel as if the world has collapsed — you’re left wondering whether your marriage can survive.

Few marital problems cause as much heartache and devastation as infidelity. Money worries, disagreements about children or a serious illness can strain a relationship. But because of the deep sense of betrayal, infidelity undermines the foundation of marriage itself.

Divorce doesn’t have to be the inevitable resolution to infidelity. With counseling, time to heal and the mutual goal of rebuilding the relationship, some couples emerge from infidelity with a stronger and more honest relationship than before.

When an affair is discovered

The initial discovery of an extramarital affair can trigger a range of powerful emotions for both partners — shock, rage, shame, depression, guilt, remorse. Both members of the couple may cycle through all of these emotions many times in a single day — one minute vowing to end the marriage and the next wanting desperately to save it. At this point, it’s important to take one step at a time:

  • Get support. For your own well-being, seek support from family, friends, a pastor or counselor — people you trust and feel comfortable with. Talking about your feelings with those you love can help you cope with the intensity of the situation. Objective support can help you clarify what you’re feeling and put the affair into perspective. However, avoid confiding in people who you know will take sides — this tends to increase the emotional intensity of the situation.
  • Give each other some space. Both partners need a break from the emotional stress generated by the discovery of an affair. Although difficult, experts advise taking a “timeout” when emotions are running high.
  • Take time. Avoid delving into the intimate details of the affair with your partner at first. Postpone such discussions until you can talk without being overly accusatory or destructive. Take time to absorb the situation. You may need to air out your feelings with someone who is a good listener before you can have a constructive conversation with your spouse.

What is infidelity to you?

Infidelity isn’t a single, clearly defined situation. There are different kinds of situations that some may consider infidelity. What’s considered infidelity varies among couples and even between partners in a relationship. What may be acceptable for some couples may be unacceptable for others. Similarly, what is tolerable for one partner in a relationship may be intolerable for the other partner. For instance, is it infidelity if your partner is attracted to someone outside the marriage — but never acts on it? Is an emotional connection without physical intimacy infidelity? What about online relationships? If your partner is regularly chatting intimately with another person online, is that infidelity?

As a general rule, a person who is having an affair:

  • Feels a strong sexual attraction to someone other than his or her partner
  • Feels the need to keep the relationship a secret, and uses lies and deception to do so
  • Feels emotionally closer to this person than to his or her partner

Marital recovery

Recovering from an affair is a difficult and ongoing process. But it’s possible to survive an affair. Marriage counseling can help you put the affair into perspective, explore underlying marital problems, learn how to rebuild and strengthen your relationship, and avoid divorce — if that’s the mutual goal.

Understanding why an affair happened is crucial to recovering your marriage. Affairs can happen in happy relationships as well as troubled ones. The reasons vary:

  • The involved partner not getting enough from the marriage relationship or, conversely, not contributing enough to it
  • Low self-esteem
  • An addiction to sex, love or romance
  • Fear of intimacy
  • Immaturity
  • A life transition, such as the birth of a child or an empty nest
  • Acting on impulse while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs
  • Retaliation
  • A means of ending an unhappy marriage

Moving on: Steps to help recover your marriage

Although every relationship is different, often these steps are necessary to help mend a broken marriage:

  • End the affair. First, the affair must end. This includes any and all interaction and communication with the lover. True reinvestment in your marriage can’t happen without this.
  • Be accountable. If you’ve had an affair, take responsibility for your actions. If you were cheated on, consider the role you may have played in your spouse’s unhappiness and reasons for straying.
  • Determine your shared goal. Be sure you both agree that you want to mend your marriage — but don’t make this decision in the heat of powerful emotions. It may take some time to sort out what’s happened and to see if your relationship can heal. If you both arrive at the goal of reconciliation, it’s important to realize that recovering the marriage will take time, energy and commitment.
  • See a marriage counselor. Find a marriage counselor who will help you restore your marriage if that is the mutual goal. Seek help from a licensed counselor who’s trained in marital therapy and experienced in dealing with infidelity. Avoid therapists who see an affair as the end of marriage.
  • Identify the issues. Infidelity often points to underlying problems in your marriage. Examine your relationship to understand what has contributed to the affair, and what you need to do to prevent it from happening again.
  • Restore the trust. Make a serious commitment to rebuilding your marriage. Go to counseling together to help visibly confirm the commitment and to prevent secrecy from continuing to erode your relationship.
  • Talk about it. Once the initial shock is over, discuss what happened openly and honestly — no matter how difficult talking or hearing about this may be. Know that you might need the help of a marital therapist to be able to talk constructively about it.
  • Give it time. If you were the one cheated on, you can set the timetable for recovery. Often the person who’s been unfaithful is anxious to “put all of this behind us” to help cope with his or her guilt. Allow each other enough time to understand and heal.
  • Forgive. For many people, this is the hardest part of recovering from an affair. Forgiveness isn’t likely to come quickly or easily — it may be a lifelong process. Talk to a counselor or spiritual advisor about what forgiveness really means. Don’t use forgiveness to cover uncomfortable issues that you think are too hard to face. If you’re committed to your partner and your marriage, forgiveness tends to become easier over time.
  • Recommit to your future. What you’re going through is emotionally devastating. But times like this can make people and marriages stronger than ever before.

The end — or not

Not every marriage touched by infidelity can or should be saved. Sometimes too much damage has been done, or both partners aren’t committed. Painful as it is, it’s important to acknowledge when this is the case. But if both of you are committed to rebuilding your relationship and you have the strength and determination for the task, the rewards can be great — a partnership that grows in depth, honesty and intimacy.

May 2, 2008

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