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

How to Find Answers

Has a lack of knowing what to do ever made things worse? You can bet I've found that to be true. For instance, when I was a kid, a few close friends and I decided to go cliff jumping in the dark of the night. Our plan was birthed from watching Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. For some strange reason we thought the excitement would be intensified if we leapt off the cliff in the dead of night. Can you imagine the rush from jumping off a 20-foot cliff not knowing when you'd hit the water? Only we failed to consider the ramifications of our night jump; a little education and forethought would have been useful.

Swimming in the Dark

We had yet to learn about the problems associated with swimming underwater in the dark. Hitting the water from 20 feet left me totally disoriented. I couldn't find my way back to the surface. In the dark I had no way of telling if I was swimming up, down, or sideways. I was in a pickle. After about 45 seconds of futility, I began to panic. I had to face the reality that I was in serious trouble. Thankfully, David hadn't jumped. When he didn't hear us he turned his light on, and as the saying goes, I went toward the light.

If infidelity has disrupted your marriage, you're likely familiar with that same disorientation I experienced when swimming in the dark. The shock created by my actions was so painful and disorienting – we had no way of knowing which direction to swim. Like swimming in the dark, often times you can't tell if you're improving, regressing, or stalled after the affair. Without a point of reference, it feels like swimming in the dark.

Someone Turn the Lights On

This weekend Stephanie and I were with our friends, Jeff and Liz. Jeff used another analogy to explain what they experienced after his betrayal. He said, "It was like running through the forest at full tilt in the dark. Every time you hit a tree it knocks you for a loop. Until someone turned the light on, there was no way to avoid smacking into trees."

Like most of you, Stephanie and I were paralyzed. We had no idea where to turn; we had no road map to follow. Even worse, some of the suggestions we received were downright destructive. In years past we posted a bad advice blog. What well-meaning friends and professionals offer as words of wisdom would be humorous, if not so tragic. If not for the blessing of finding another couple who had already traveled this road, I'm not sure we could have made it. Our newfound friends not only provided much needed hope, but answered our questions and gave us direction. Having their journey as an example, we could see where we were and where we needed to go. Before that, we were swimming underwater in the dark not knowing which way to go.

A Source of Light for YOU

For most of us, the complexities of infidelity make finding help for a specific situation difficult. The Affair Analyzer on our website has over 850 possible outcomes and that's a conservative number. There is no "one size fits all." Don't give up if initially you fail to find something that speaks to your situation. If you keep searching, eventually you'll find someone or something who can speak specifically to where you're at in recovery.

Ten years ago, I dreamed of providing an expert-driven, resource library where people could find answers for their specific questions. The difficulty of creating an affordable resource proved far greater than I imagined. However, we now have a way to provide answers to your specific questions. This incredible resource is called the Recovery Library. If you're not already a member, I encourage you to join today. Find the answers to your difficult questions, gain understanding of the healing journey for both you and your mate, and know you're not alone.

If you're the wayward spouse, consider registering for Hope for Healing today at 12:00 PM CST. This course provides a safe place to find healing and insight as you work through expert-created curriculum. Have a difficult question you can't seem to find an answer to in the Recovery Library? Purchasing the course grants you access to submit a question to the Ask Rick Q&A for the duration of the 17 weeks. Click here to learn more: https://www.affairrecovery.com/product/hope-for-healing



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Rick this is Dead on. My wife and I have received "bad" advice to advice which was intended to destroy. Thanks be to God that We found the Help we prayed for! Thanks

any other answer

Rick - Is there any other answer than acceptance? For more than two years, I have not found any comfort, peace or resolution toward understanding, accepting, or forgiving my wife's affair. In fact, only time and medication seem to have made it better. But I feel as if I am losing my love for her.

The only real answer that I seem to find is acceptance.
* Accepting what caused the dysfunction.
* Accepting that she made a bad choice.
* Accepting that I did not make that choice, only she did.
* Accepting that it happened and there's nothing I can do to reverse it.
* Accepting all of it as a part of our history and just moving on.

It feels very defeatist and as if I just have to give up and surrender to her affair. Logic tells me that this is just a part of life, but my heart feels differently. It is broken and shattered and cold.

I'm so sad and disappointed in her, that I feel I've lost desire for her. I've lost respect for her. I've lost my marriage. It's there, but for me...it's only a shadow of what it once was. I wish that I did not feel this way.

any other answer

You took the words right out of my mouth. 2 years later and I feel like the pain and memories of my husband's affair are never going to go away.


6 years on & the affair still rears its ugly head at times... it doesn't matter how I try to completely forget about things, they tend to riggle their way back into my thoughts. My husband seems to have completely forgotten what he done to me (or does he?) I don't want to bring the subject up after this length of time but I do drop a few hints about what happened but the penny never seems to drop where he's concerned or does it?

Not Knowing

I am currently swimming around in the dark despite. When my wife's affair ended, she immediately launched into two emotional affairs, one of which has continued now for several years. I believe, but cannot convince her, that these emotional affairs which she refuses to acknowledge are keeping us from connecting at a husband-wife level. We have made very little recovery progress because she gets her emotional satisfaction from them. I feel our marriage is drowning because I cannot get her to see the "light." Hoping maybe she will agree to a weekend with Rick.

Not knowing

Dito Dito Dito
My wife's emotional affairs are with men who I think champion her choice to cheat. And she got away with it for years. She is good at turning on the tears for 5 minutes to make people think she is remorseful but she tells me she doesn't care how I feel, because she wanted a real man. That's how she shuts me down when she stone walls. It's hard to see her as an attractive desirable woman or respect anything she tells our daughter about character or moral values. When the affair was going on she would talk about how great of a man her boss was. All the while she was sneaking to his office on a regular basis and doing things with him she never has done with me. Coming home and compartmentalizing her work relationship and pretending like nothing ever happened. I think years of of doing that made her unable to feel empathy and lying became second nature. Her first instinct is to lie even if it doesn't matter. To know someone for 25 years, have 2 kids and kept a productive conservative lifestyle and find out that they have been living a double life is the most mind numbing gut wrenching experience I have ever experienced. The 1st time she told me the truth about the affair 15 months ago she said many things but " I will do whatever it takes to make it up you" is the one I held on to. Not one single thing have I felt, heard, or see from her has made it up. How do you make up for cheating your spouse out of 12 years of a fulfilling emotional and physical relationship. Especially, knowing now that she gave all of that away to someone. I feel like the biggest idiot in the world.

Wanting answers

Your comment resonates so much with what I am experiencing. My husband of 17 years and partner of 22 years has had a 7 year sexual affair with an English teacher from his workplace. Only he has promoted her over that time to second in command and they now run his schools together - whilst leading a completely secret double life - attending conferences weekly but using them as sexy getaways and “working” from her home all through the Lockdowns while I looked after our children and homeschooled them. I knew none of this ( although suspected) till recently when I followed him to her home after an elaborate set of lies told to my children and myself about where he was spending the weekend. He had just arrived but already they had gone to bed.
I too am struggling to see the man I thought he once was . Or to find connection after knowing how he has conducted himself with her. She tells me it is true love and they are soul mates but he tells me he wants to be back home and to reconcile with me. But that he cannot leave his job or let her go as she is intrinsic to his success . So I must suffer daily , knowing they are in his Office all day. As he used to phone and say unexpectedly he was at a late meeting but then would go to her house for the evening, every time he rings and changes plans with the boys and me - I still feel the angst that he is lying to us . To me.
My husband seems to lie perpetually - he even lied about where he was living currently ( I asked him to leave 3 months ago after I discovered them together ) and then told me an elaborate lie about where he lives which I very quickly discovered was untrue. Of course by not telling me where he is living he allows the opportunity for them to continue meeting in secret ( they can no longer meet at her home as I know where she lives) . And when I tell him this doesn’t sit well with his request to reconcile - he tells me I am causing him stress and responsible for him being unwell and I am bringing drama to our family and hurting our boys because I won’t take him at his word and “move on “
On a good day I feel numb. On a bad day I feel as though my heart is being ripped out of my chest and my head is being hammered from both sides while I search for solutions.

Bad advice

Can you provide a link to the bad advice blog you referred to in the article please ?

Bad Advice Blog

Here is the link to the Bad Advice Blog, as requested: https://www.affairrecovery.com/experts/Rick/bad-advice Wishing you well in your recovery!

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-D, Texas