Rick Reynolds, LCSW
by Rick Reynolds, LCSW
Founder & President, Affair Recovery

Everyone Thought I was Crazy for Staying: Amanda and Kenneth’s Story

Recently, a client shared with me this text she received from a friend:

"Saw your post today and had to respond. A woman who decided to choose family over female pride, I admire you. You have more strength than most. It's easy to bail to try to prove strength to others...I didn't want to say before, but it IS for each woman to decide herself which path she chooses to take. Just because you choose to stay, doesn't mean you're weak. As a matter of fact, it takes a stronger woman to stay! Most take the path of least resistance, it takes a mountain of a woman to stay and fight!"

I understand the pain men and women experience who choose to work on their relationships after betrayal. In days gone by it was divorce that branded one with shame, but today, the shame of "staying" trumps the shame of divorce. Was it the same back in 1984 when I blew Stephanie's life up with my infidelity? I think not. For her, back in 1984, buying a book on infidelity was mortifying. Surely the woman at the checkout could see the truth - her husband had cheated and what followed was a long list of other stereotypical judgments. For Stephanie, the shame was related to what I had done and what that said about her and about our marriage. In today's world shame has an added dimension as now she might well feel scorned by society for actually considering staying.

Certainly, every situation is different and each person has to make a choice, but it's sad when someone who's already suffering the trauma inflicted by infidelity is made to feel the fool if they choose to explore the possibility of restoring the relationship. Not only have they been betrayed, but now they are labeled as weak for not leaving.

This week I want to share one woman's story of how she found the support and encouragement in her decision to explore whether her relationship could be salvaged. I hope it not only encourages you but validates the pain and hurt you're probably feeling paralyzed from. There is a way out my friends. You’re not crazy for staying and after you listen to Amanda and Kenneth’s story, I’m confident you’ll also want to take the next step and get the help you need. Harboring Hope is a safe place to help with your personal healing.

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The Video. Amanda / Kenneth

Excellent !!!

Amanda and Kenneth

Amanda Thank you for your bravery and honesty. It is never easy but you are an inspiration of what every hurt person hopse to find. Peace with yourself and strength to , at your own pace , move on through all the pain and get to the other side.
I send you love and gratitude.

Harboring hope

I'm 5 months past discovery of my husbands 2 year affair. He came to me not to confess but to request I not call his mistress anymore. He was full of shame, guilt. For 2 years he avoided me. Criticized me sex was infrequent and he denied any of my suspicions. It's a Roller coaster. He says he loves me, hasn't left our home, is a little more open about what bugs him, he does nor blame me for his cheating. I still harbor hope, I'm not dysfunctioning since I lived through this with my first 18 year marriage and now my 27 year marriage. We both worked hard to build our home our marriage, at this point in my life I'm devastated but still in love. Yet I harbor hope that he will see the fantasy of his affair and renew commitment to me. Soooo much for both of us to loose. He holds me says he loves me but still not stating commitment, yet I harbor hope.

Amanda & Kenneth Story

Listening to they're story brought tears to my eyes. My husband cheated we've spent thousands of dollars for him to go to recovery groups & he's not recovering. I relate to Amanda's shame, anger & exhaustion. Where me & my husband go from here I don't know but I enjoy your articles.
Thank you

Hope

I'm still struggling with what to do...I have been married for 25 years and the last 15 years plus have been a nightmare. My husband was addicted to pornography which led to a physical betrayal. Because of his addiction, intimacy in our marriage was almost nonexistent. This all came out about 7 months ago, five days before Christmas. I knew something was wrong with my marriage but I just did not know how to fix it. My sweet daughter was the one who "caught" her dad looking at pornography at 1:00am. Everything spiraled from there. We are now separated. He filed divorce papers, but has since asked for reconciliation. We too, do not have the funds to afford any type of real counseling. I have been living this nightmare for so long that I just want to wake up and get on with my life. I have not signed the divorce papers, but I am leaning that way. We have been to counseling only once together. This video was great and I am happy for them, but in my world I really do not see any hope.

Addiction

Hello Karen,

Thank you for sharing. I know how tough it is to share these types of things, I just wanted you to know that I am also dealing with a husband who is a sex/love addict. His addiction is not porn, but other women. We have been together for 19 years and it seems as though I haven't ever gotten rest from the insanity of infidelity. I absolutely love this site. I will pray for you and your family. Please know you are NOT alone even though sometimes it feels that way and you are NOT crazy no matter if you stay or leave. Take care!

Hi Karen,

Hi Karen,

I am so incredibly sorry for your pain. Your sentence "I have been living this nightmare for so long that I just want to wake up and get on with my life" really jumped out to me and really is exactly what I felt prior to finally recovering. I can tell you that for sure full healing is possible for you regardless of whether your marriage heals. Have you considered any of the courses here at affair recovery? Either Harboring Hope or EMS/EMSO?

Stuck

I can relate to this video. Thank you for sharing and giving me a glimpse of hope I only wish my husband of 38years would stop telling me to get over it.

Bless you. Thank you for your

Bless you. Thank you for your vulnerability and honesty. I'm so glad you are on a good path in recovery. Trusting that God will redeem every ounce of our pain for good.

Thank you. I really needed to

Thank you. I really needed to see this. In a world of betrayal in my marriage, I feel so alone. Questioning sometimes daily, if the choice I made to stay is the right one. All the emotional stress & anxiety of waiting for my husband to "wake up" is exhausting. As painful as it is, it is comforting knowing & reading other's stories & their journeys. It reminds me that I am not alone in this & to trust God. Thank you for sharing.

Thank you

Your sharing and your husband's willingness to be visible and sit by your side is an encouragement. Thank you.

thank you

Thank you, Amanda, for sharing your heart and your story. You communicated your story with great compassion, clarity and insight. I also have chosen to stay with my husband; it has NOT been easy. Many people have judged me poorly because I stayed--especially as he betrayed me again and again AFTER I had discovered the original betrayal. Even my pastor counseled that leaving would be acceptable in the eyes of the church based on my husband's behaviors/addiction. I did ask my husband to leave our house for a time. However, eventually God expressly told me to forgive my husband and resume our marriage. My husband thankfully did get counseling (not with Affair Recovery, but another respected Christian group that deals with men's sexual addictions) and came home a changed man. Now 2 years post-counseling our marriage is stronger than ever. All of those behaviors I tried to control--being open/transparent, making me feel safe and loved, avoiding situations that could be tempting--he does for HIMSELF as well as for me/ our marriage. I had to let go (of control) in order to let GOD work his miracles. Prayer, time, patience, self-care and good counseling are equally important in order to save a lost marriage. My message to those in the early stages--have hope. It took over 10 years to get to this point. Each day is more of a blessing to me because of where we have been. And there are even whole days(!) where I don't even think about or dwell on the betrayal.

Thank you

It has taken me a bit of time to get the energy emotionally to watch this video. I thank you for sharing your story. Your description of your "before" finding harboring hope is my exact position now. Three years out from discovery and no closer to having answers on how to move my life forward. Depression. Loss of all friends. Struggling to care for my beautiful babies. I'm not the mom I know I could be without this mountain on me. Financially unable to afford the program. Unable to make a decision about staying or leaving.
Thank you for helping me to see that there is another side and I'm so sorry your friends were unable to be there for you because their fear of it happening to them took over.
All the best!