Our Story Stephanie and I just passed our 28 year mark and for us it's been more than worth it. However, the journey had lots of lessons along the way and we'd like to help you avoid the same pitfalls we discovered on the path. Moving beyond a betrayal is difficult enough without complicating the journey by taking wrong turns. If you can remember 28 years ago, you'll know there were limited resources. We could only find one book even addressing the topic of infidelity. Even worse, my affair cost us everything: our friends, my career, our home in Denver, Stephanie's dignity, our self-respect. We hardly knew where to start and we found it darn difficult to find anyone we could trust to give us direction. Our story is probably not that different than yours. Extreme ups and downs, along with isolation, seemed to be the order of the day. In the beginning, I never knew from one day to the next if we were going to be married. In fact, I wasn't even sure if I was ever going to get a good night's rest again. If I was sleeping well and Stephanie wasn't, she'd wake me up so we could talk about how I could sleep after all I'd done and the inequity of the reality of her sleeplessness. Everyone that knew about our situation seemed to have an opinion about what Steph needed to do, or what I needed to do, but few had been in our shoes. We had no idea who to tell, who to listen to, or how we could ever heal. If it hadn’t been for the blessing of finding another couple that had already been through this and had not only survived, but also thrived, I’m not sure we would have made it. It was their constant encouragement, their listening ear and sound advice that helped us through. They helped us work through the issues and to create a safe place for us to begin healing. They even showed us ways to deal with the trauma and facilitated our ability to have heart-felt talks that weren’t so emotional that we couldn’t hear one another. The hypocrisy of my work as a marriage therapist in Denver, Colorado necessitated a career change. What right did I have to tell others how to fix their marriages when I had just wrecked mine? So we moved from Denver to Austin, Texas to begin a new career as a home builder. That move left us even more isolated and alone, but thankfully Stephanie stuck it out and with time we began to heal. A friend once told me you can never tell the end of the story by the beginning, and about 5 years into my new career opportunity came knocking on my door. I was approached to work again as a therapist. Only one small problem: my potential employer wanted me to work with couples dealing with infidelity since I had personal experience. Well, the last thing I wanted was a job where I had to live with the shameful reality of my worst failure. Stephanie on the other hand had a different perspective; she felt maybe it was a way for our losses to be transformed into something good. She kept reminding me that ‘failure teaches what success cannot’ and finally I agreed to take the job. And you know what? She was right. There is no better teacher than personal experience. It didn’t take long for me to incorporate what Stephanie and I had learned from our recovery into a new methodology for the treatment of infidelity. It was more than counseling; it was about providing a community who could help with the journey. It was more than information dissemination; it was modeling how it was done using that community. It wasn’t shaming; it was about providing dignity and hope for all involved. It was about using failure as a necessary catalyst for change. What surprised me was how effective those techniques proved to be. Other therapists soon began consulting me on difficult cases; couples began flying in from all over the U.S. to work with me. I was shocked. Eventually, because of the effectiveness of our approach, my clients, other therapists and even my wife began encouraging me to find a way to reach more hurting couples. So I reluctantly began contemplating the best way to help those recovering from the trauma of infidelity. Affair Recovery and the EMSO course are the result of their encouragement. It is based not only on our personal experience, but also on solid research. If you’re any thing like Stephanie and me you’re not only wondering how to move forward with your life, but if you can even make it. Can your marriage be saved and is there anything worth salvaging? What makes it even harder is the fact that our culture seems to be more tolerant of divorce than we are of exploring the cause of infidelity and whether a marriage can be healed. In fact people who choose to work on their marriage after an affair are often seen as weak. They are not weak; they are the most courageous people I know. Recovery isn't for everybody, but it's certainly an option to be explored. Now you know my story. I’d like to hear yours, too. How are we similar? How are we different? What have been your highs and lows? I’d love to get to know you. Just click this link and add your comment at the end of this blog post.