, 2 weeks 3 days ago

To Tell or Not to Tell…Our Friends and Family

People struggle with the decision of whether to tell friends and family and, particularly their children, about the infidelity that occurred in their marriage. For some, the ugly truth comes out before they consider it. Sometimes, kids are collateral damage in the ensuing chaos, overhearing or directly witnessing the arguments and drama by parents overwhelmed with their emotions.

I’ve heard both sides of this dilemma declare with certainty that their perspective is the only right choice for one reason or another, but I’ve also heard people regret how they handled it and wish they could go back and do it differently. Some feel it is inherently wrong and deceptive to keep a secret like this within a...

, 3 weeks 1 day ago

Freedom begins in a community of “me too” people, people committed to helping you carry your burden. ~ Sheila Walsh

When a person experiences a loss or tragedy, those around them often offer support differently. People say things like, “Let me know if you need anything,” or “I’m here for you.” This can be genuine and well-meaning, but to the person amid crisis or grief, they’re not especially helpful. That is passive support, meaning if the grieving person comes to me and asks for something specific, I will provide it.

Active support looks like this: “I have two hours free on Tuesday evening. I’d like to bring you dinner and babysit your kids....

, 3 weeks 3 days ago

As I first ventured into the world of betrayal recovery, I listened to several experts advise against asking too many questions and getting too many details about their spouse’s betrayal. They cautioned that the details can be damaging and cause lingering intrusive thoughts. The predominant advice is to stick to the basic information of timeframe and generic summary of events but otherwise to steer clear of anything that could be considered a question related to comparison, like physical appearance, body type, specific sexual experiences, etc. The advice was that these things don’t serve to promote healing, and it is better to keep them unknown. (A list of suggested questions to consider asking instead can be found here.)

Not asking for details is very...

, 2 months 3 weeks ago
Can We Believe Again? Part 3: Maintaining Status Quo

During his affair, when faced with hard questions about his relationship with the AP, my husband lied. Every. Single. Time. After D-day when I asked him about that, he acknowledged he feared if he ever admitted the truth he would lose me, so he resigned to take the truth to his grave. When I asked how he could lie to my face during all those years even after the affair ended, his explanation was pretty simple. He said he knew if he played dumb and consistently denied everything, the...

, 3 months 4 days ago
Taking down those walls is hard and this is where I am now.

My emotional walls went up when his affair began, and had been reinforced from all the deception and mistrust. There was no easy way to sandblast them down; instead, they were chipped away as trust was built - trust in him and trust in myself. I didn’t trust myself anymore after having “allowed” everything that happened. I felt stupid and weak for not having done more to catch him in his lies, stop the affair, and protect myself. His repeated false reassurances (more on those later) only...

, 3 months 3 weeks ago
find some middle ground.

"The saddest thing about betrayal is that it never comes from your enemies, it comes from those you trust the most."
~Author Unknown

You are probably familiar with the fable of the Boy Who Cried Wolf. The tale concerns a shepherd boy who intentionally and repeatedly fools villagers into believing a wolf is attacking the town's flock of sheep. He cries, “Wolf! Wolf!” to watch them all come running, but they arrive to find there is no wolf. He does this several times, and eventually, when an actual wolf appears, the boy...

, 1 year 3 months ago
If someone had told me in the beginning I could carry the happy and sad feelings at the same time I would have been horrified thinking it meant the good ones would be forced and fake. I couldn't comprehend how I would everbe able to hold these feelings side-by-side and not feel devastated every moment of the day. But what I'm experiencing now is much more peaceful.

"When you are standing in [a] forest of sorrow, you cannot imagine that you could ever find your way to a better place. But if someone can assure...

, 1 year 5 months ago
it isn't fair that the aftermath of infidelity happens on top of the life that we had planned on living. That life gets derailed for a time, and that time can vary widely from person to person. But life doesn't stop for trauma or illness or death. It just keeps spinning, and eventually we catch up. But when we do, it can be a real gut punch to look back and see wht we missed.

The hard and sometimes messy...

, 1 year 5 months ago
I write from the place I wish I had available to me when I first started down this path the messy middle the real and raw places to offer validation and hope for others that are like me

I was having a conversation with my Affair Recovery editor recently, and we talked about the motivation behind my decision to blog about infidelity. It can be emotionally heavy, and logistically difficult amidst work, home, and family responsibilities, particularly as I continue to devote time and energy to therapy and...

, 1 year 6 months ago
I want him to see and understand how important it is that I make this special despite the pain.

After the revelation of infidelity, memories and milestones become a very tricky landscape. Reminiscence that used to instill joy, nostalgia, and peace, can now elicit a very different set of emotions. Reflection on the past can be truly debilitating in the face of betrayal. As a whole, anniversaries, dates, seasons, etc. now carry a sting. But there is a particularly cruel mockery that enshrouds a wedding anniversary...

, 1 year 9 months ago
Healing is not a gentle journey. We are raw and the fire burns. Because everything is new. And that's healing.

How Do You Know if You're Healing? Part 1
How Do You Know if You're Healing? Part 2

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

—Hebrews 11:1

I guess when I first heard someone talking about the process of "healing" I envisioned a...

, 1 year 10 months ago
It can be the small, incremental, things that feel like nothing, that are actually tiny steps toward healing

For that matter, what is "healed" anyway? What does it mean? What does it actually look like? I will explore this further in a future blog, as this question has perplexed and frustrated me since I learned of my husband's infidelity. More to come on that.

In the meantime, the process of healing is hard to measure. You can't take out a yardstick or step on the scale to track the progress. It's subtle and murky. Healing is slow and...

, 1 year 11 months ago
I wasted so much time trying to talk myself out of validating my own experience, that I lost the opportunity to face it head on and deal with it.

You may be familiar with the life analogy of the contrast between the way cows and buffaloes face an impending storm. As a storm approaches, cows sense it coming and move in the opposite direction, away from the storm. Unfortunately for the cows, they aren't very fast and as a result of this decision, they actually remain in the storm longer as they run alongside it, prolonging the unpleasantness.

...
, 2 years 1 month ago
A betrayed spouse who is dealing with severe anger will need to actually grieve first, then slowly and steadily move towards forgiveness
Forgiveness - Burden or Gift

Part I: What is Forgiveness Anyway?
Part II: The Journey of a Lifetime

Last time we talked about the reality of forgiveness - what it is and what it isn't - and how forgiveness plays a vital role in recovery and potential reconciliation. So why don't people forgive? Lots of reasons. Fear, pride, anger, resentment,...

, 2 years 1 month ago
after the dust settles and the real work of recovery begins forgiveness is something each of us has to face
Forgiveness - Burden or Gift

Part I: What is Forgiveness Anyway?
Part II: The Journey of a Lifetime

When discussing forgiveness of marital betrayal, other words that often spring to mind include impossible, unfair, and undeserved. Some of you may have even cringed at the mention of forgiveness. I definitely understand that. I think this...

, 2 years 2 months ago

Being loved is a hard concept to grasp when our dreams lie shattered around us, and the God whom we thought loved us, has let them shatter.

Vaneetha Risner

If the title of this blog gave the impression that I have the answer to this question, I want to let you know up front that I don't. I am still in the trenches and I wrestle with this often. I wondered if someone else might too, so I decided to talk about...

, 2 years 3 months ago

God knows that the mended heart will be much more stunning and substantially stronger than the unscathed soul.

Sharon Jaynes, author

I have never put much stock in New Year’s resolutions, and have even rolled my eyes at people claiming “words” for the upcoming year. It seemed artificial to me. However, now that I find myself in a reality that I really want to change, it seems perhaps assigning a word may provide a targeted reminder of...

, 2 years 3 months ago
The Slow Crawl Back to Life: A Two Part Series

Part 1
Part 2

It is both difficult and precarious to measure growth related to something so deeply painful and personal. Even acknowledging progress produces a reflexive twinge, like somehow that diminishes the devastation I experienced. That is definitely not the case, but I think, at least for me, making sure I don't forget how bad it was is a defense mechanism to ensure I don't get hurt this way again. Also, growth is not linear and sometimes is...

, 2 years 4 months ago
The Slow Crawl Back to Life: A Two Part Series

Part 1
Part 2

You will either step forward into growth, or you will step backward into safety.

~ Abraham Maslow

I don't know if I have said this yet, but when I talk to you about hope and recovery, I am also talking to myself. I am still on this journey too and I get discouraged, frustrated,...

, 2 years 5 months ago

Ambivalence - am·biv·a·lence /amˈbivələns/ (noun).

The state of having mixed feelings or contradictory ideas about something or someone, simultaneous and contradictory attitudes or feelings (such as attraction and repulsion) toward an object, person, or action, continual fluctuation (as between one thing and its opposite), or uncertainty as to which approach to follow.

The word ambivalence is often misused to mean apathy or indifference, when in fact, it actually means strong feelings in opposition to each other,...

, 2 years 5 months ago

For most of us, whether we are betrayed or unfaithful, thinking back to D-day conjures vivid images of shock and horror, feelings of shame and disbelief, and a period of suspended animation. We recall falling off the edge of the world as we knew it and into a pit of numbness and despair. I remember too. It took the breath right out of me.

As painful as that experience was, looking back I have a different perspective on D-day. I see it as the day my husband finally let me in. Despite shattering my world, he finally gave us a chance to truly know each other and the...

, 2 years 6 months ago
Despair, Self-harm, and Hopelessness in the Pit of Betrayal Trauma

Part 1: The Darkness that Nearly Swallowed Me Up
Part 2: Finding My Way Out Of The Dark

Warning - this post is about self-harm and suicidal thoughts and may be intense or triggering. If you need help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, available 24 hours, at 800-273-8255 or https://...

, 2 years 6 months ago
Despair, Self-harm, and Hopelessness in the Pit of Betrayal Trauma

Part 1: The Darkness that Nearly Swallowed Me Up
Part 2: Finding My Way Out Of The Dark

Warning - this post is about self-harm and suicidal thoughts and may be intense or triggering. If you need help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, available 24 hours, at 800-273-8255 or https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org...

, 2 years 7 months ago

There are so many painful words that flood our minds following betrayal: Hurt. Stupid. Angry. Deceived. Heartbroken. Lost. Humiliated. Duped. Blindsided. Gullible. Used. Tricked. Embarrassed. Shattered. Disgraced. Ashamed. Crushed. Afraid. Numb.

All of those words are so painful, but there are two words that cut me to the core - not enough.

People compare themselves to others for a variety of reasons across many areas of life. The reasons for comparison may sound different on the surface, but mostly they are all pointing toward determining how much we...

, 2 years 8 months ago

The affair happens. Maybe the betrayed spouse knows something about it, maybe they don't. In my case, I was very much aware. I asked him about it. Pointedly. Directly. Repeatedly. He lied. He told me I was "crazy," "paranoid," being "ridiculous." He would not tell me the truth. I knew it. He knew it. He knew that I knew it. But, no truth was to be had and we were at an impasse. Maybe you can relate.

Time passed. After an excruciating season, the affair eventually ended. Life went on. We both pretended all was 'normal,' but the secret remained between us, a wall that could...

, 2 years 8 months ago

If you have a heart attack or are diagnosed with cancer, it is treated with seriousness and urgency. No one says "try not to think about it," "focus on good things" or "just let it go." No. The doctor sits you down and refers you to a team of helpful, trained professionals who are lined up to draft a plan with realistic expectations, answer your questions, and assist and support you until you are healed.

The recovery plan is laid out for you. You are given step-by-step instructions and a contact person, or a team of experts, to guide you through it to the end. No one would expect you to know...

, 2 years 10 months ago

Part 1: You Are Not Stupid for Having Been Deceived
Part 2: After Betrayal: Don’t Second-Guess Yourself Using 20/20 Hindsight

Last time, we talked about how stupid we can feel after betrayal is discovered or disclosed. It is a universal feeling that only adds insult to the injury of betrayal. It leaves us wondering: If we had been savvier, would everything have somehow been different and our spouses would not have betrayed us? There is nothing like marital betrayal to make you question everything about yourself, your reality and even your sanity.

...
, 2 years 10 months ago

Part 1: You Are Not Stupid for Having Been Deceived
Part 2: After Betrayal: Don’t Second-Guess Yourself Using 20/20 Hindsight

"How could I have been so stupid?" Anyone who's been betrayed has thought this, felt this and owned this at some point in time. But take it from me: You are not stupid.

Adding salt to the wound of betrayal is a series of self-doubt about who we are, what we are and how we are. After betrayal, we can doubt our value as a spouse and as a person, and we can doubt our intelligence and intuition. When we learn we've been tricked and deceived by the person we love, we can even turn on ourselves and join the proverbial pack of self-hating lions, devouring any shred...