Accountability and Trust Building

Accountability comes from two sources, Raw Honesty and the Power Apology.

1) Raw Honesty. When asked, and only when asked, tell 100% of every deceit. Don’t twist the knife with cruel comparisons, or vengeful descriptions of detailed, specific acts.  But don’t silently decide, “Oh, I won’t tell that story because I don’t want another fight/to hurt her/it doesn’t matter.” Just learning to come clean may take the support of your group and therapists.  Owning up is a process that could take months.

2) Power Apology. Mastering the art of apologizing will also take a while.  Real apology is not a weak and ineffectual, “I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.” Here are the four steps to a Power Apology:

1.Describe what you did.  She deserves to have her questions answered. Don’t mince words. You need to really own it. “Yes, I took 30K from our IRA and blew it all on a sex vacation when I told you I was on a business trip. I spent 20K on over forty sex workers, and came home with a disease that we both need to be retested for. I did that, and lied through my teeth to you, the kids, our financial advisor, and my boss. And that was only the first time.”

2.Describe the damage done. Show her that you have insight. How much money did it cost? How much did you expose your family or your career to risk? Did your cheat-partners come to your home or office? Handle your credit cards? See pictures of your kids? Meet your kids? Take precious vacation time away from your family?  Upload photos they took of you? Post on FB about you?

3. Describe what 1 and 2 did to your partner. Show her your empathy. Use adjectives for feelings: You must feel shocked, bitter, heartbroken, confused, angry, stunned, enraged, etc.

4. State what you’re doing to ensure that it does not happen again.  Show her that you are accountable by taking action. “I’ve blocked their texts and emails, changed my credit cards, I’m going to therapy, I’ve booked us that holiday you always wanted, etc.”

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