Q&A Is There Hope for us to Move Forward After this Degree of Infidelity?

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Question: 

Dear Rick,

Nearly 24 years ago, I betrayed my husband. For 6 weeks, I was involved in a relationship then the affair ended and my husband and I began the work to repair and restore our marriage. We sought both professional counseling and Christian counseling. We dug deep and worked mutually to come out with a stronger, better marriage. We renewed our vows at two years post betrayal and from that point on, raised our family and had, what I would consider, a solid, trusting relationship. Six months ago, I found out otherwise. For the past 14 years my husband had soothed his pain by visiting massage parlors for sexual favors on the anniversary of our D-Day decades ago. Initially it was once a year, but when then he said he lost track of the number of times he went after it surpassed the number of times he thought I had been intimate with my AP. He escalated his behaviors by then visiting the homes of anonymous women for sexual favors, then the past few years, creating profiles on websites promoting affairs. He met sporadically with a variety of women and this past year, became emotionally connected with a woman from one of those sites. Even after disclosure of his on-line relationship in November, I discovered that the affair was on-going until this past January. We completed EMS Online and are seeking outside counsel. My question: When we dig into this mess, my husband contends that he was "loyal" to me for "more than half of our marriage" and that my infidelity was something he never got over. He wants to compare his loss over my choices as comparable to his betrayal and that I should "understand" now how he felt. I do get the "pain" but is it fair for him to excuse his behaviors or defend his choices on my actions 24 years ago when we seemingly worked diligently to restore our marriage? Did he cross over from soothing his pain through anonymous sexual encounters to sexual addiction and finally serial cheating? My heart is so broken as he never ONCE indicated any issues with his healing or unhappiness and lived a very well-maintained secret life. Is there indeed hope for us to move forward given the degree of acting out? I would so appreciate any help you can offer.

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Thank YOU!

I truly appreciate your wise words, Rick. I shared the video q/a with my husband and he completely agreed. We were able to validate that pain that is not transformed will be transmitted. He and I will continue on our journey, but what is most important in all our steps is that we step into the light of truth. Hiding behind reasons, justifications, blame leads to failure and more pain. He is attending an SA group and is committed to working on himself, which will ultimately lead to a healthier marriage. After 35 years of marriage, I am committed to the work to make it better, but I am more concerned that my husband continues to seek the help he needs to be a healthy, honorable man for his own self. The Holy Spirit is alive and working diligently in our hearts. There are so many miracles that I can't explain as to how we ended up here, and I am eternally grateful for AR and the people who have helped us the steps to healing.

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