Two marriages haunted by betrayal. Four people whose pursuit of the American Dream has taken a nightmarish turn.
Roman and Sage Bryant-Cole have spent nine months trying to salvage what was left of their marriage after it was rocked by the revelation of Roman’s serial affairs. Sage is dealt a second blow when she discovers that her cherished cousin, Owen Bryant, has been cheated on by his ruthless, gold-digging wife, Leah.
Sage’s discovery hits the reset button on the progress she and Roman had been making on their marriage, as all the doubts and fears she has tried to suppress come flooding back. In order to reclaim Sage’s trust, and to save a love now left dangling by a thread, Roman must take his efforts to win back his wife to another level.
Leah and Owen Bryant are visited by a ghost from their past; Leah’s college sweetheart, Casey. Leah and Owen must confront a dark secret at the heart of their marriage, if they are to stand a chance of surviving as a couple.
One family’s legacy, two marriages, four lives, and millions of dollars are at stake.
Doing Scary is a coming of age story which explores the transition from adolescence to adulthood and the battles we face in our thirties to keep our spiritual, emotional and psychological progress in check, as the things we hold most dear are put to the test.
I once again have to thank Clink Street Publishing and blog tour organiser Rachel Gilbey for inviting me onto the blog tour for Doing Scary. My thanks also to the author Donald M. Bell for taking the time to write a guest post.
Mythology around infidelity
Myth number one: Myth number eight: all adulterers are created equal. Over the years I have identified two types of adulterist relationships (predatorial and parasitic), and four types adulterers (predator, prey, parasites, and host). Adulterist relationships are coevolving relationships meaning they are antagonist built around a way of relating that benefits one person while it compromises the dignity and personal empowerment of the other. Adulterist relationships are inherently imbalanced relationships because of presence of a spouse in the life of one or both the adulterers.
Predatorial affairs are relationships initiated by a predator who holds the dominant role in the relationships. Predators attach themselves to persons who are willing to play the role of prey who identify with the perceived power and strength of the predator. The person who takes on the role of prey in a predatorial relationship supports has to walk in denial to support the delusions overdeveloped sense of self of the predator. The predator relates to the prey in a manner that I would describe as ‘loveless order.’ There are a whole bunch of rules without a lot of affection, which is why the most entrenched aspect of the prey’s denial is about how much the predator cares for them. The most lethal weapons in the arsenal of a predator are combativeness and contempt. The two themes at the heart of all the communication in a predatorial relationship are voice and choice. Arguments over who has the right to speak and who should listen along with arguments about who has the right to choose and who should be supportive are endless. At the end of the day the predator initiates an affair to affirm their manufactured self, while the prey is receptive because they are in need of a hero.
Parasitic affairs are initiated by a parasite who holds the dominant role in the relationships. Parasites attach themselves to persons who are willing to play the role of host whose need to be needed is feed by the inexhaustible neediness of the parasite. The person who takes on the role of host in a parasitic relationship supports has to walk in denial to support the delusions arising from the soulless core of the parasite. The parasite relates to the host in a way I describe as ‘disordered love.’ while there is a whole lot of passion and fire mixed with the chaotic drama fueled encounters. Because of the one-sided random nature of the way parasites do relationship the most entrenched aspect of the host’s denial is focused on the level of sharing that is taking place between them and parasite. The most lethal weapons in the arsenal of a parasite are disruption and distance. The two themes at the heart of all the communication in a predatorial relationship are needs and deeds. Arguments over who has done what and who needs to what for whom are endless. Ultimately the parasite initiates an affair to support their continual need for experiences to fill their emptiness; while the host is vulnerable to their advances because of their need to be needed.
Myth number two: infidelity is criminal act one spouse commits against another. Excluding for sexual addiction and sociopathy infidelity is more of a conspiracy perpetrated by both spouses than it is a crime committed by one spouse against another. Let explain to have an affair of any depth and duration you need at least two things time and boundaries that promote secrecy. To have the time and boundaries to have an affair a spouse must give their consent to both implicitly or explicitly. Unless your spouse is a black ops soldier for the government, they need to be accountable to for their time. Oh, and while I am mentioning it if you meet someone who claims their work is top-secret, you might want to verify that with a second source. File that under potential sociopath. One of the reasons a spouse stops holding their spouses accountable for their time is it serves their purpose too. Husband stop complaining about his wife working overtime even when she began coming home after midnight. When asked her if she was having an affair she broke down and cried. Later when I ask the husband why he never asked her what she was doing with her time he admitted that both he and the kids enjoyed the calm over the house when she wasn’t around.
Myth number three: once an affair is out in the open and the spouse who has had an affair decides to end it a couple can get on with their lives. Not true – even though a spouse has committed his or her self to stopping an affair their spouse has no way of knowing what is in their partner’s heart. Especially considering the fact they just found out their spouse has been unfaithful. Another issue standing in the way of moving on is the likelihood that all the details about the affair haven’t been disclosed. If the spouse who had an affair is like the hundreds of people I have counseled with who have had affairs. They’ll opt to let the scandalous details of their affair leak out over time. At the heart of the ‘need to know basis’ approach to sharing the details of their adultery with their spouse is fear. Fear based on the self-serving belief that if I share all the details about my infidelity my husband or wife will leave me. So instead of being transparent, they engage in a second act of infidelity they let their spouse heal a little only to have the bandage ripped off as fact about the affair leak out.
Myth number four: my spouse’s infidelity is the only problem we have in our relationship. If infidelity were a physical ailment, it would be a symptom, not a disease. A very painful symptom but just a symptom nonetheless. One of the ways I try to break through the denial that there is nothing wrong is by asking the question; if the life you and your spouse built is so strong why did your spouse higher a subcontractor to build a part of their life they can’t or won’t share with you.
Myth number five: infidelity is a moral issue, committed by those who lack character. People don’t have affairs because they are morally corrupt they have affairs because they are emotionally vulnerable, moralizing the situation only drives their behavior further underground. While guilt and shame have the capacity to motivate, it’s like a sugar rush. It is a short-term fix that’s destined to be followed by a crash.
Myth number six: this is a private matter that two people in love ought to be able to work out on their own. While this may be true for some, it has been true for any of the couples I have walked with who have successfully rebuilt their marriage. The reality is it takes a diverse set of skills to resurrect a marriage. In wrestling (yes I know it is fake) there is a match called a Lumber Jack match. The way it works is two wrestlers enter the ring. Other wrestlers (called lumberjacks) then surround the ring, half of whom support one wrestler while the other half supports their opponent. If either fighter tries to leave the ring, the wrestlers that surround the ring toss the fleeing fighter back into the ring till the two of them settle things amongst themselves. Sometimes a couple needs some lumberjacks to surround their marriage, who will tell them the truth in love as they toss them back into work things out.
Myth number seven: because I am the one who had an affair I have permanently lost the moral high ground in our relationship. Because my spouse has agreed to take me back or work of the relationship I don’t have the right to complain about anything. Even though it may not be a good idea to voice your complaints about your spouse immediately following the disclosure that you have had an affair; know that at some point sooner rather than later you are going to have to share disappointments and frustration with your spouse. Holding it in only builds resentment, the kind people use to justify their behavior.
Myth number eight: time heals all wounds. Most couples I have encountered are operating on the mistaken belief that if enough time passes without a spouse having an affair at some point their relationship will be out of the woods and trust will be restored. Trust doesn’t get rebuilt because time passes. Trust gets established in an atmosphere where there are specific behaviors, with specific standards, that can be monitored and measured to determine a spouses’ commitment to earn back the trust they lost. In other words, there needs to be some hoops a person has to jump through, not to punish them but to give them the opportunity to earn back some of the trust they have lost.
Donald M. Bell Sr. is the Senior Pastor/Teacher of Covenant Blessing Fellowship (CBF) launched out of an adult bible study 2001. Pastor Bell has been preaching since he was sixteen and holds a professional degree in Organizational Psych. Behavior. Bell’s profound ability to communicate spiritual principles in secular settings has been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, ABC 20/20, and the documentaries Sister I’m Sorry, and Soul Mate. He was also a weekly guest on KJLH nationally syndicated radio program Love in the Spirit hosted by Kevin Nash. Bell lives in a suburb of Los Angeles with his lovely wife, Michelle, who wedded in 1994 and is the father of three.