question 4

My "nice guy" had
an affair
with his
ex-wife for the last
8 years (we've
been married for
19 years). He saw
her every few
months and called
her several times
a week. He says
he doesn't love her
—and his therapist
says it's the "nice
guy" issue. He's
read your book and
is practicing your
7 steps. BUT, I'm
still very angry and
hurt at the lies and
betrayal.
   Could the "nice
guy" syndrome
allow him to do
what he did?
Should I forgive
him?
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James:
It may seem contradictory to the idea of being "nice," but Nice People sometimes act out their issues by having affairs. Anger and hurt are quite understandable responses to such a destructive act. It would probably be tremendously helpful for both of you to understand the role that anxious attachment played in the affair, though this should never be used as an excuse for whatís been done. Ultimately, the chronically nice person has to be able to accept responsibility for their choices and take initiative to clean up messes and create an environment of love and growth. Forgiveness is an important step of reconciliation, but it doesnít make the other person trustworthy. Thatís something they have to achieve on their own.
     

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