There are millions of women who have been devastated by the recent Ashley Madison hack. I have worked with many of these women for over twenty-five years. Let me explain to you how they feel and what they need for themselves and from their friends. She is in extreme pain! She did not cause this. She feels isolated because of this secret and falsely feels shame for his behavior.
In the book ‘Partners: Healing From His Addiction,’ I explain that men who cheat are 100% responsible for their behaviors. He may have broken issues in his life or a sexual addiction, but he is the one responsible for his behavior. As the president of AASAT (American Association for Sex Addiction Therapy), I help train counselors globally to understand the grief of those like Mrs. Duggar, and how her anger and sadness are appropriate reactions to this trauma. She is a victim of his bad choices.
What she needs is support and there are support groups around the country for wives of sex addicts (contact my office for one close to you). She might need counseling, so please get someone who really treats partners of sex addicts. She doesn’t need to be blamed in any way for his choices. He will need to start a recovery program that could include polygraphs, which we have in our intensives at Heart to Heart Counseling Center in Colorado Springs.
She can only believe in a change of his behavior, not his “I am sorry and I won’t do it again” statements. From her friends, she needs a hug, no judgment. Give support for her without trying to help her decide if she needs a divorce right now. She is in too much trauma to make that choice.
For over twenty-five years, I have seen thousands of these stories actually have happier endings than ever imaginable. So believe in her and give love to her through her Duggar experience.
Douglas Weiss, Ph.D.