, 8 years 5 months ago

Along the road of recovery there will be immense frustration. Frustration at your spouse, frustration at circumstances, and hopefully, yes I said hopefully, frustration at even yourself.

I hate to be a downer but if you think recovery and the pursuit of restoration is always this joyous, redemptive season of renewed love and compassion, I'm sorry but it's far from that. If you also think you can go back to business as usual, friend, you are sadly mistaken. You and your spouse have just experienced great turmoil and destruction, and life doesn't just pick up and move right back on. (side note: life doesn't bow down to a desire to recovery either. Kids still fight, bills still come, sickness still happens, and peripheral drama amongst loved ones, family and work all...

, 8 years 5 months ago

I’ll never forget when the leaders of the organization I worked for during my affair practically bribed Samantha to divorce me when it all came out.  Some of these executives, if you will, were friends of mine for about 10 years who had been through all kinds of life experiences together, all to see them completely turn on me, my wife, and even my kids. They had helped dedicate and baptize my kids. They had been there with me at my greatest accomplishments. I had helped them in their greatest times and their worst times. Instead of rallying behind me, they ran away as fast as they could, considered me dead and even had personal funerals for our relationship. True story!

Through a few sources I also heard they said my wife, Samantha, was “mentally off” for being willing to...

, 8 years 5 months ago

Many, who fall, including myself, will confess to eventually feeling like a slave to the affair partner or addiction. Before we know it, what once was an adrenaline filled endeavor, full of excitement and dark, thrilling passion, eventually becomes slavery. The elation and electricity of it all, fades, then slowly but surely turns to dread, regret, and sometimes even disdain. Disdain for ourselves, the affair partner and even our spouse.  

As we continue in our duplicity, the shame and condemnation become overwhelming and we find it seemingly impossible to break out of the pattern we’ve created. Quite honestly, we walk right into where we end up. Somewhere along the way of life, we made a group of small, seemingly unimportant decisions, which slowly but every so surely...

, 8 years 6 months ago

This week, I thought I’d take a moment out of Jesus’s life and share a unique perspective. Even if you’re not a Christian, or perhaps even angry at God for what you’re dealing with, I get it. I most certainly do. But I hope you’ll keep reading as I think there are some good points in here to still ponder, even if you do not subscribe to a Christian worldview at all.

Anyone under the weight of recent infidelity (whether betrayed or betrayer) or even addiction can relate to the words of Jesus, when He uttered in John 12: 27-28 "My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, `Father, save Me from this hour'? But for this purpose I came to this hour. "Father, glorify Your name."

Infidelity will do more than just trouble our families and our souls. Yet the...

, 8 years 6 months ago

Early on in recovery it was ugly. Everything seemed like it was my fault. No matter what happened it would eventually be tied to the fact that I had an affair. It was a painful way to live. Looking back even my wife Samantha would tell you that most things ended up being my fault. It wasn’t accurate but Samantha was in so much pain, and flooding so quickly, it was hard not to put it all on me.

If we were going to heal it was going to have to be that way for a short time. Let’s just be honest: I had a two year affair. The fact that I had to go through some emotional pain and hurt and even some ‘shaming’ from my Samantha, is not that big of a deal when you consider the bigger picture. If we are going to compare which sin is worse, I will win every time. When I talk to spouses who...

, 8 years 6 months ago

Quite often when I talk to couples in crisis due to infidelity, one of their paramount questions is, can it ever be the same again?

Honestly, my answer is a frank, but delicate, NO, it will never be the same again.

But I immediately follow up with, “But why would you want to go back to what you had, when you’ve now discovered (or come clean about) what you then had was a lie?” Why would we want to go back to the settings which allowed for and created the affair in the first place? It’s a harsh answer I know.

Don’t get me wrong….before you push send on that ‘leave a comment’ button, I’m never going to say that the affair was the betrayed spouses fault. It’s just not that easy, or realistic, or true.  But what I do want to communicate is the infidelity has ruined...

, 8 years 7 months ago

"I can't make you NOT have another affair. If you're going to cheat, you're going to cheat."

About a year or so into recovery, Samantha very calmly told me those words in Rick's office. I immediately saw Rick's eyes light up, followed by a gentle smile that showed Rick was very pleased with the new insight Samantha had arrived at.

It was a significant moment for her, to realize she needed to let go, trust God and even trust me (in developing levels of progression) that if I was ever going to have another affair, she in her own power couldn't prevent it.

After all, I was a great liar. If I want to, I still can be.

The difference is - I don't want to.

And I don't have to.

Samantha realized that if I wanted to have another affair I could,...

, 8 years 7 months ago

A toxic response mechanism in recovery will always be defensiveness. Defensiveness communicates to the betrayed spouse that we don't "get it", are not sorry or empathetic over what we've done and that we're just not safe in general.

Just recently Samantha and I had a significant breakdown over some financial decisions I had made in the past, and I quickly became both angry and defensive. I felt as though my decisions were the best that could have been made at the time of the recession, and that if she truly understood the entire picture she would have made the same decision. To be reminded of her interpretation, time and time again, upset me pretty significantly. Now, several years removed from my affair, I remembered I needed to take stock of my emotions and ask myself why I...

, 8 years 7 months ago

If there was one issue that was probably one of most difficult issues for me to overcome personally, it was shame. I was truly ashamed of what I had done and how I had hurt both Samantha and so many other lives. There was, however, a bit of a time release to my shame though and you'll probably only understand this if you are an unfaithful spouse. What I mean is it didn't hit me all at once. If it did I think I would have ended it all. Were it not for my kids I think one night I would have committed suicide with all the sobriety that began to come crashing down around me. Don't worry, that's not a cry for you to feel sorry for me, it's just a bit of a window into the mind of the unfaithful.

As the days and weeks would go by, and as we began to get the right kind of help, the...

, 8 years 8 months ago

It's been several years since my affair was disclosed and life took a turn for what felt like the end. Almost every time Rick writes an article it hits me in one way or another. This newest one was no exception. The fact is, time doesn't permit me to share the enormous litany of reasons why, if anyone shouldn't have been having an affair, it was me.

If anyone was in a position of authority, integrity, and alleged impeccable character, it was me. Yet, the numbers of people affected by my moral failure (more like moral disaster) is no short list, and to this day lives still show the residue of a leader who failed them and left a sea of disoriented lives a drift, looking for direction and hope.

Today I'd like to talk about how I disengaged from my moral compass and...

, 8 years 8 months ago

Not too long ago, Samantha and I were having an incredibly difficult time. If you're on this site, and have gone through this nightmare which necessitates recovery, when I say an incredibly difficult time,' I know you know what I mean. I felt like I just couldn't win and couldn't gain any ground. To say I was frustrated is a severe understatement.

Looking back, what I truly was feeling was hopelessness. Walking out your recovery from infidelity (or your spouse's infidelity) can seem impossible. It can also seem as though nothing you do works, no action taken produces any fruit, and no matter what road you take it just never goes the way you want it to go. It's a toxic combination of anger, bitterness and frustration and it can lead you to a place of "Why even try???"

I...

, 8 years 8 months ago

Not too long ago, I was talking with a therapist who explained to me what it means for a couple to relapse. I was immediately thrown for a bit of a loop when I heard him say that even the betrayed spouse can relapse. It basically boils down to not doing what both spouses did early on in their recovery. If you're a betrayed spouse reading this, I can hear your blood boiling, but please let me finish before you get too angry with me.

Now, does it mean the betrayed spouse has an affair of their own? NO, absolutely not. Nor does it mean that the unfaithful spouse has another affair. It also is not meant to suggest that the affair was the betrayed spouse's fault in the first place.

What it does apply to though is allowing old behaviors and old mannerisms and old ways of...

, 8 years 8 months ago

Rick’s newest article once again, kicked me right in the teeth. Let me quote from it briefly, and if you’d like to read the whole thing, you can go here to read it:


Nine Signs of an Emotional Affair

(To have an affair) “Deceive yourself into believing you’re as wonderful as your Emotional Affair Partner sees you to obtain maximum benefit from your new found relationship. Always believe the lie that they’re better than your mate and that you’d have been far better off if you’d married them. Marriage partners are the makeup mirrors of our lives. They highlight every flaw and blemish. Emotional Affair Partners are vanity mirrors. We look amazing in their eyes. Approval seeking requires we...

, 8 years 9 months ago

Looking back upon my affair, and the justification of my affair, I can now see how blind I was. It’s neither an excuse nor a justification, as I did what I did and it’s no one’s fault by my own. But I was blind to so much, and in hindsight I can see just how that blindness fueled my actions and behavior. My blindness is what helped to enable the complete selfishness and self-absorption that had taken my life captive. What helped to keep me in my affair were both the emotional AND sexual components working together to what I thought would meet my needs, when in reality all it did was fuel the monster. But what was I blind to, you may ask. Well, here’s a list and it is by no means exhaustive:

  1. I was radically blind to how I was approaching my marriage. I wanted MY needs met,...
, 8 years 9 months ago

My affair was both emotional and physical. When asked which was worse, I'm not really sure what Samantha would leverage as the worst side of it. It was highly sexually charged, but we also communicated and worked together every day and the emotional component was off the chart.

It deepens the pain I feel for what I have put Samantha through, as it was a "double whammy," if you will, of both emotional and physical intimacy. The pain has been immense, but with the right methods and help, time, and the absolute grace of God we have healed in ways I never thought possible.

A new understanding about my past has helped me to live with a new approach. I call it "Living in Light of What I've Done." What I mean is, I understand my propensity to be, as Rick would say, a human...

, 8 years 9 months ago

Somewhere along the way, I remember coming to the painful yet life-changing realization that everything I wanted was here in my marriage; I just didn't see it or recognize it. It was a 'painful' realization as it only reinforced the personal shame I felt for allowing the affair to happen in the first place. Keep in mind, shame says I am something bad, when guilt, grief, or conviction simply says I've done something wrong and there is a country mile of difference between the two perspectives my friends.

I had let life, kids, marriage, ministry pressures and all sorts of less important things get in the way of taking care of what was supposed to be most important all along, and it was no one’s fault but my own.

While last week I talked about restoring and reconnecting...

, 8 years 9 months ago

At its worst, endeavoring to reconnect physically after my affair was nothing short of a cauldron of exhaustion and frustration. However, when we were able to sift through the wreckage and actually re-engage, the joy and elation and reward that would result is almost indescribable. If you too are dealing with this type of pain and in the middle of this process, believe me when I say Samantha and I have been there before and feel your pain.

Though we are not there anymore, we still remember the agonizing chore it was to communicate through the hurt. For several years now we have enjoyed a wonderfully rich sexual relationship with little to no residue of the past. We never knew it was going to be as hard as it was to reengage, till we got right in the middle of the process and...

, 8 years 10 months ago

If I had to pinpoint one issue of our recovery that was the most difficult to overcome, it would have to have been our sex life. My affair was highly emotional and highly sexual from the start and sharing the details with Samantha was gut wrenching for her. She was the type of spouse that didn't want to know all the intricate details of it all, but wanted to know the general truths about what went on, what we did, what we didn't do, and for how long. My situation was extremely unique as I had to give up specifics to the situation with absolute clarity as there were some individuals coming to corroborate my story the next day.

My affair had been very public, with an unfortunately large audience, and it only added to the shame and embarrassment for both Samantha and myself. If I...

, 8 years 11 months ago

When I talk to people who are thinking about pursuing recovery, many times they ask me if wanting to stay just for the kids is actually enough. Adamantly, I almost always agree with a resounding “YES, it is.” It may be imperfect motivation, but it’s motivation enough. It’s an impetus to get one or both spouses into specialized help, to see if the marriage can be saved. In fact, sometimes it’s the best motivation, as our feelings fail us quite often and on any given day we can feel so much differently about our spouse. It’s just not worth trusting emotion. Especially in the middle of absolute chaos and emotional trauma, to use our feelings for any sort of rudder is to everyone’s detriment. However, with our kids, short of some disappointments here and there, our concern and love for...

, 9 years 15 hours ago

When my affair became public, many so called “Advisors” came out of the woodwork, as they say. To this day, I still shake my head at some of the things that were said to me and to my wife Samantha, about me, my future, our marriage, our family, and my overall mental health. Looking back now, until we actually found a couple that would help support and lead us, as well as Rick Reynolds here at Affair Recovery, all of them gave us ridiculous advice or assessments of what they thought needed to happen or had genuinely happened to us. I don’t think one of them really acted in love at all, but more out of shock and disappointment from the events they heard had happened. What did in fact happen was truly heinous and grievous. Yet, the gross rumors and wicked gossip about this...

, 9 years 2 months ago

Upon hearing that statement from Rick one day, I about reached over hit him. I was stunned. “How Rick?” After I’ve caused so much damage and so much hurt and pain to both my wife Samantha and many other caught in the crosshairs, how can you say that this might be the best thing that’s ever happened to me?

With a whole lot more control, grace and wisdom, Rick simply replied “Think about how much more of an idiot you’d become if God didn’t reach into your life and save you from what you had created….how much more chaos and pain and hurt could have been caused if you weren’t exposed?”

He was right.

After 7 plus years, I have learned that I have indeed been rescued. The most painful, agonizing experience of my life, though caused by me and not anyone else, was the...

, 9 years 2 months ago

Recently Samantha and I were doing some “Vision Casting” in regards to the next season of our marriage and family. It’s been a great two month exercise, but last night we hit a point where we began to talk about our past and how it has shaped our marriage and life, now, almost 8 years later. The question was in regards to joy, pure joy in life as of a result of choices and life changing events and ultimately we came to the question of why people cheat?

I can tell you, I’ve made some choices that have wreaked havoc upon my life and countless others. I regret so many of those choices and their indelible mark on so many. Through much therapy and infidelity specific help, I’ve have come to be able to forgive myself, as well as others that affected my decision making process. But...

, 9 years 4 months ago

When it all came out, to say my life was rocked was an understatement. Due to the public nature of my position and affair(s), many lives were altered forever. I knew little about life at that point, but I knew I wanted my kids, I wanted my family, and I wanted life to be what it once was.

It would never be again. (At least not the way it was before and truth be told, I’m glad it’s not what it once was.)

As I started down the long road to recovery with Samantha, it was frustratingly apparent that I was NOT in control. This realization hurt like all hell, as I’m a control freak. Whether it was my professional position, or during college and professional baseball, or almost every other thing in life, I had learned how to “will it so” in my own strength, power and...

, 9 years 4 months ago

Recently my family and I went on a two week vacation, picking up a travel trailer along the way and journeying across 4 or 5 different states. The trailer is a bit of a beast, I think at least 24 feet long. My SUV pulls it, but not very well and the gas mileage is something to marvel at (in an expensive, almost regretful way). My oldest wanted to see Vegas and Jodi wanted to see The Grand Canyon again, so we decided The Grand Canyon would be our last stop before we headed home to Texas.

I had no idea what kind of drive was ahead of me. The drive there was easy, in fact too easy, and now I was pulling a trailer with (at the very least) a 50 gallon water tank that was completely full.

Having so much fun in Vegas, I thought the drive to The Grand Canyon would be...

, 9 years 4 months ago

Francis Schaeffer wrote, “We do not want to deny ourselves. Actually we do everything we can…to put ourselves at the center of the universe. This is where we naturally want to live.”

If there was one struggle, one colossal mistake, among the myriad of smaller ones that helped lead to my affair, it was that of outright self-absorption. Somewhere along the line, life became about me and what I wanted and needed and deserved. So when my wife Samantha was having babies, and spending up to 6 months in bed during her pregnancies, vomiting more times in a day than I care to describe, my needs were sent to the back of the bus.

For a few weeks I was able to grin and bear it. Sort of put a face on it of sacrifice and humility, and look at how good of a dad and husband I...

, 9 years 4 months ago

When it all came out, to say my life was rocked was an understatement. Due to the public nature of my position and affair(s), many lives were altered forever. I knew little about life at that point, but I knew I wanted my kids, my family, and I wanted life to be what it once was.

It would never be again. (At least not the way it was before and truth be told, I’m glad it’s not what it once was)

As I started down the long road to recovery with Samantha, it was frustratingly apparent that I was NOT in control. This realization hurt like all hell, as I’m a control freak. Whether it was my professional position, or during college and professional baseball, or almost every other thing in life, I had learned how to “will it so” in my own strength, power and tenacity.

...

, 9 years 4 months ago

Lately I have had many pose the question, “Do you think my spouse, who’s been unfaithful, can fall back in love with me again?”

It’s interesting that the betrayed spouse is asking this question, as they know their betrayer is distant and has allowed their heart to either temporarily or ultimately beat for another. With most affairs eventually and completely blowing up, many wonder if the damage can be restored and the carnage repaired.

The answer is a resounding YES, from personal experience.

Not only from a clinical perspective is it possible, but from a personal, experiential perspective, it is possible for our hearts to beat with passion, romance, and joy for our spouse whom we’ve betrayed, and possibly even fallen out of love with.

Upon D-Day (...

, 9 years 4 months ago

Love and Respect, by Emerson Eggerichs, was such a wonderful book of clarity and insight for Samantha and I that I try and re-read it about once or twice a year. If we hit a rough spot in our marriage, I read it even more. (Let’s hope I only have to read it once this year.)

A quote I originally took issue with in Love and Respect was, “She doesn’t cause me to be the way I am, she REVEALS the way I am. If I react in an unloving way, then it reveals I still have issues going on inside me.”

I first hated that statement as I took a totally different approach to the realization that if she was this way, then I’d be that way. But what I quickly came to realize was, I was responsible for my reaction REGARDLESS of what came my way both in marriage and in life. I’m old...

, 9 years 5 months ago

It’s a pretty common occurrence during recovery that anger can arrive like a freight train out of nowhere. What’s even more common than anger is depression and raw hopelessness. These emotions are never triggered more than when a fight arrives due to a “reminder” or due to some sort of trigger in the betrayed spouse, or sometimes even the betrayer. When the exchange takes shape, both spouses can feel “stuck,” frustrated, or just plain exhausted. How we react in this moment can be very defining for recovery and for the humility we the betrayer have arrived at, or failed to arrive at. How we diffuse the argument, the trigger, the reminder, and the intrusive thought can be ground easily gained, or ground horribly lost. Due to our inability to be in the moment or aware of just how much...

, 9 years 6 months ago

Samantha and the kids were on a plane to Texas and I was at our California home, finishing up the cleaning out process of moving. At one time, I think I would have had probably 50 people helping us move and clean out our home that we loved. Now, after the fall, and after the dust was still trying to settle, it was just me. I had lost all our friends and staff due to my failure and it had been a long few days with movers, deep contemplation, overwhelming depression and a weight of uncertainty I’ve not ever felt in my entire life.

Finally, after I had removed all the debris from the home and it was just an empty shell, I experienced one of the darkest moments I’ve ever experienced. We had lived in that home since my middle child was born. She was now 4 and my youngest was 5 weeks...

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