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

Grieving Betrayal

This article was written by an Affair Recovery alumna who was a betrayed female. We are passionate about our community members sharing their stories and insights as they move through the healing process. We hope the author of this article can be an encouragement and light to you today.

The Wound

If someone asked me to describe how I felt four years ago when I discovered my husband's infidelity, I would reply with words like indescribable pain and complete shock. But the truth is, these words don't even come close to describing how I truly felt as I watched my whole world crash in around me.

After a summer of sensing that something was not right in our marriage, I finally broke into my husband's email while I was at work one night. My thought had been that I would likely find evidence of an emotional affair, but what I found was way more than I had bargained for. None of it felt real. The room began to spin and go black. I felt like I couldn't breathe. All I could think was that I didn't want anyone to walk in and find me in my state of shock and shame. When I stood up to close the door, I found I had to hold onto the walls to keep from falling down.

Over the course of the next few weeks, I got the rest of the story. I learned that my husband had been introduced to sex way too young and in all the wrong ways. I also learned that he had been unfaithful to me all through our dating, engagement, and married years. I felt lied to, betrayed, and used.

About two weeks after my initial discovery of the infidelity, my husband came clean with a full disclosure during a couples counseling session with Rick Reynolds. After listening to his detailed report, Rick turned to me and asked how I felt. I remember answering honestly that I felt nothing. My heart was numb with shock, so I truly felt absolutely nothing. Perhaps this was a coping mechanism of some kind. Somehow, feeling nothing seemed like a pleasant alternative to feeling the intense pain of what I had just heard. But Rick warned me that this was not a healthy response.

I remember him telling me that I had to let myself feel this, or I would go sideways later.

I wasn't sure what he meant by "sideways," but it didn't sound good, so I went home that day, determined to feel this beast of a situation.

Letting Myself Grieve

Deciding I needed to let myself feel the pain that I had somehow locked away was one thing, but actually doing it was another. I remember fearing that if I opened the door even a crack, the pain would come rushing in like water through the windows of a sunken car. I was afraid I would drown under the weight of so much pain.

Fear of being overwhelmed by my pain was only part of my problem. While I hadn't realized it before, I really didn't know how to feel such overwhelming negative emotion. Having grown up in a relatively happy home, I was very accustomed to positive emotion. Negative emotion was somehow the unspoken enemy, so I had become very good at ignoring it, often times without being aware that I was doing so. While this had been a useful tool for handling life's minor irritations, it had become a stumbling block in my quest to find healing for my deeply wounded heart.

I had to change my mind about what was "good" and "bad" emotion.

Once I finally understood that emotions such as pain, sadness, and anger were simply negative emotions, rather than "bad" emotions, I felt free to feel them.

As hard as it was to allow myself to feel the pain, I jumped in with both feet, because I had been warned that the only way to truly heal from this kind of heart wound was to embrace the pain and grieve the hurt. I remembered what it was like to wake up in the morning with a heart that was happy to greet the day. I also remembered how it felt when my heart had been whole and healthy, so I was determined above all else that I would not give up until my heart had been completely healed of the pain of betrayal.

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My Own Grieving

Just as the care of a critically ill patient becomes a 24/7 endeavor, the care for my heart very much became a constant task for me. As you can imagine, life did not stop and allow me time to solely focus on healing. I found that setting up specific grieving times in my day and week was very helpful.

At the very beginning of my grieving period, I set aside every evening as my grief time. The evenings were particularly painful for me because that's when my husband and I had typically spent the most time together. His absence was acutely felt after I sent my boys to bed. After the bedtime routine with the boys was done, I would immediately go into the bathroom. After filling the tub with hot water, I would light some candles and hit play on my favorite music. Sometimes I would sing a little, sometimes I would just quietly listen. Often, I would just sit in the tub and cry out my pain to the only One who felt stable enough to hang onto—God. I asked God why this had happened. I told Him how much it hurt. When I had no words to express the depths of my feelings, I would simply cry without saying anything. I remember sensing His presence all around me as he listened to my broken heart. Depending on what had bubbled up that day or what memory or pain had been triggered that evening, I would stay in the bathroom anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour or more. After I had worked through whatever I needed to work through that night, a sense of comfort would fall on me, and I would go to bed.

After a few weeks, the nightly grieving sessions were no longer needed. Although it wasn't a daily, scheduled thing, I knew I still had a lot to grieve, so I settled on a weekly grief day. Tuesday from 9 - 2 became my grief day. For about a year, I guarded that day like my life depended on it. Many times, this day started out in my closet. I would play some music and fall face down on the floor. I have to tell you that this is where the healing began to take shape. It was in those quiet moments, alone in the closet that I truly learned how to expose my heart to be assessed for hidden hurts. I felt like God began to show me how to name what I was feeling (I am feeling very insecure right now because…). I cried over every fresh moment of pain that was triggered in my heart for as long as I needed to. Then, when I was ready, I felt like I could leave my pain in the closet and with God, and take another step forward in my own personal recovery and healing.

Grieving with Others

As important as grieving in the quiet of my bathroom and closet was, processing my grief with others was also very necessary as well. Unfortunately, when the wound was still fresh, I shared my pain indiscriminately with whoever happened to be within earshot. Not only did this give all of my acquaintances the unnecessary, gory details, but it also gave every one of them the opportunity to give me their own personal advice. Being in the wounded state that I was, I was very ill prepared for the task of weeding through everyone's idea of what I should do.

It took me awhile to learn who was safe, and when I finally did, I had a wonderful support system. One of my friends knew about my grief day, so every Tuesday she would give me a call. I also met with a group of friends every Wednesday night. Their acceptance of my pain and fears along with their prayers of love and encouragement breathed much-needed life back into my heart.

These women loved me and my husband through the darkest part of my grief.

Finish Strong On Your Own Grief Timeline

Please understand that this was a long process. For about a year, I found myself grieving the same pain or fear over and over again. After that initial year, I found that I no longer needed to spend an entire day each week in my "grief closet," but the pattern was firmly established so that, if something triggered a fresh or remembered hurt in me, I would go straight back for a good cry. During the second year following discovery, I only found myself needing to grieve the pain of betrayal a handful of times.

You have probably heard the saying, "Time heals all wounds." While it is true that healing takes time, it is not time in and of itself that heals. Please don't be discouraged by this all-too-common phrase. How we choose to use that time—however long it is—is what truly matters.

It's not time that heals the wounds; it's how you spend the time.

Your grieving timeline may be similar to mine, or it may be quite a bit longer. However long your grief may take, please see it through to the end. Don't give up by trying to stuff down your emotions just because it hurts or because you feel like you should be over it already. Finish strong! Let yourself feel this out to the very end because there is an end. If you allow yourself to grieve your pain until it is completely healed, one day you will wake up and find that you haven't felt it in a while. Your heart is your sacred treasure. It is worth every moment of hard work to restore it to good health.

We'd like to say thanks to this Affair Recovery alumna for sharing her story with us!

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Thank you for sharing your story about grieving. I just started going through mine and not sure how to handle it especially wth my busy family schedule. I want to grieve but I cannot allow everyday things to fall by the wayside. Right now, what I really feel is I want out but husband says he doesn't want to give up. Do I believe what could be empty promises?

Are you still with your

Are you still with your husband? If so, what has he done to help you heal?

We have been married 31 yrs.I

We have been married 31 yrs.I discovered the affair 1 yr ago today.Our Marriage is no better,if anything it is worse. I feel I have lack of trust of God as well. I am still with my husband praying for his eyes to open, praying he will value me and our marriage.He says he wants to stay together and yet he does NOTHING to help me heal.Nothing to make me happy and secure. He is the most selfish person I have ever known.I know I need to separate at the very least but I cannot bring myself to part.He has never told me any details and refuses to discuss anything.The other woman told me everything. Now I am suspicious that he has always cheated.

we focus on God not the man

Very painful being betrayed and the betrayer shows no remorse. Since you would like to hold on to your marriage, focus all your pain and emotional needs on God. Save yourself the experience of hitting your head against the wall. Become less needy for hubby's faithfulness but more of God. God alone is consistent in faithfulness and in time after your husband has had his "wilderness journey", God will bring him back to you. Sorry love, its tough but a rewarding exercise. Mine has not disclosed much and refuses to talk and has refused to affirm an end to porn, or open his devices to me. For my own healing, i turned entirely to God to supply me the love and compassion i needed and turned that love and compassion back to my husband. I loved God unconditionally and He in turn would lift up my dragging soul to a place of joy. My happiness does not depend on my husband, he can only add to it by being truly a devoted husband but he can not reduce it. I add to my joy by bringing smiles to the face of others and truly being of service to God. Friends who have known me for 20 years or more say they have never seen me look this radiant and i should continue whatever is working this well for me.

He wasn't who he was

How do you reconcile with the feeling of emptiness as if someone has ripped you apart and left you bleeding?. When even the happy memories give you pain, how do you forget all that you thought , believed and hoped for if they meant nothing to the person you shared them with? It's as if you're grieving your own imagination. The realization that while he was talking to me and telling me he loved me he was lying and cheating. While telling me that I was beautiful and that he felt so lucky to be with me, he was also sharing his body, mind and heart with a woman with no moral standards. How do I forgive all the broken promises ,the shattered dreams he caused when he walked away as if I meant nothing to him for 16 years. Acting as a stranger, like what we had was only a dream? I don't know how. His father did the same thing with him mom and abandoned him and his brother as if they weren't important enough and forming a new family with another his high school sweetheart and her children. How sad!!! He is doing the same with me even if we don't have children. How can I smile again? This was my second marriage and I my chance at happiness. I cry but the tear wont stop...at times I can't find a place of comfort. the pain is so deep it keeps coming up....It doesn't look like it will ever end. I think one of the worst emotions is the pain of betrayal...I've been through a lot in my life but this one beats all.

Best message I’ve seen

I hope you’re still active on this site - my D day was less than a month ago and your post gives me so much hope. I would love to talk to you. You seem like a strong woman of God.

Feeling stuck

What you have described is exactly what I’m goin thru since D_day 1.5 years ago. We’ve been married 23 years and although he said he would separate at the beginning he’s still at home, but has not shown any remorse or make me feel safe. He has not mentioned anything about the Ap since the declaration so I don’t know the details and really don’t want them as they give me triggers.
All I want is for him to voice his feelings and recommit to our future without feeling obligated to stay.

Thank you!

Your story is very similar to mine. It was surreal to read your experience as I could have written it... I am hurting from betrayal, but I would love to see my husband healed and whole. There have been so many lies and deception that I don't know whether to believe him any more... He has had repeated affairs, a lot of them started in a virtual setting...and he had told me before he wanted to be better for us, but never followed up his promises. This time he is saying he wants to get counselling to get better, but I am very apprehensive and don't want to fall victim of even more deception - he could be living a double life now. I find it scary to see that he is capable to trick people with such ease. We have separated, but not divorced. The distance gives me a chance to grieve and I do have an amazing network of support. God has been faithful to me and my little girl and I truly experience that people may let you down, but God never will! Praise the Lord! I do pray for my husband. I do want him to be healed, but it is hard to know whether I am supposed to just let him go and start shutting down emotionally, or as difficult as it is just patiently wait and fight for his soul and our marriage.

Grieving betrayal

Oh wow, my husband cheated me while we were dating, our very short engagement and throughout our marriage. We have been going to counseling for 6 months now and I am still grieving. I do do it while no one is around so my little ones do not see their mommy sad. It is very difficult to get through a cheating spouse but he seems to be very remorseful and has been doing everything he can to make me happy. I do not know if it would have been worse for him to leave me or for him to have cheated so long. He stated it was a huge mistake and then could not get out of it because he was a coward and could not come forward with the truth. The mistress was the one who told me but he then admitted to it being true. He states it would have ended a long time ago but he was afraid of losing me. Could this be true? She would stalk him he states and she has even admitted to this but why could he not just come out and tell me to end the nightmare, so he says? I do not understand. This is still very difficult to get through but with God's help, I am managing.

So true

It's true, the only way to release the pain is to truly experience the ugliness if it. , and move through it. I have felt this and it works, even though it isn't pleasant. However, this process is complicated and feels impossible when new details or new betrayals come forth since the lies and hiding is so strong and second nature of the cheating spouse. I have realized I cannot spend my life grieving when my spouse keeps lying and deceiving me. even over stupid stuff. It's hard to let go when reality is still with you today, and the new hurts keep piling on.

how do move forward?

This is where I am, also. I can't seem to move forward due to the fact that there are so many lies and they haven't stopped even though he has moved out. I don't understand why I "need" to know the truth, but I do. I don't want to spend my life grieving either. I deserve to be happy and allowed to move on. But, the pain is so raw, just when i think I am doing good and being strong, a trigger hits me or memory and the emotional breakdown happens. I'm not sure how someone could schedule a grieving day. It just hits me and takes over. After I found out, I tried everything to make our 20 yrs marriage work, but I was the only one trying for the past 9 months. He was still working on his other relationship.... and still lying and being emotionally abusive to me. I suppressed all emotion to keep life as we know it together for our two boys and for the 20 yr marriage vows. Now, the grieving is doubled and the anger only hurts me. I want to grieve that way it doesn't creep up years from now, but how do I know when is enough?

Grieving with my Wife

This is so wonderful to read. It gives me hope that my wife and I can get through the grieve and strain that i have caused her and our marriage.
i was unfaithful to her off and on from the beginning. I know she never deserved any of it and i am truely sorrowful. It started as it does for most on the internet. Talking to woman, than becoming friendly, than flirting, than cybering. I cant tell you how many individual people there were but it was more than it should've been. I married my wife because i love her and she needs to be the only one. I want her to be the only one. Than after a time it seemed like i was healed than it would go months without incident than happen again each time lasting longer than the last. As much as i wanted to heal and make our marriage sacred, i felt as if i couldnt. I had become addicted. Than just last year after our son was born my wife was in the hospital. This time i started online than got a phone to text them. Than i started going to the club. Though nothing happened, The very fact i put myself so close to temptation now feels like such betrayal. It never got to the point of physical sex though once i went to a strip club. That was the worse thing i ever did the thought that i could do such things to my beautiful wife and our wonderful marriage hurt immeasurably. It isnt too long ago this happen so the wounds are still fresh in our marriage. But we have worked on a more open communication. I also have decided that i will no longer hide anything from my wife and gave her the access to all my devices so that she can see that i am trying my hardest to make a safety zone for our marriage.
I know as a betrayer that i have cause so much pain to my dear wife and i have decided that no time is better than right now to start healing. We both go to therapy and we read up on sites like this as much as we can. Though things are still rocky are marriage is healing and we both feel that in the long run our marriage can only get stronger from this. God has played such a huge part in this too. Because I am man enough to admit that I cant change on my own. I was addicted and hooked. Only through God and the constant vigilance of my dear wife have I changed this far.
Thanks again for your wonderful article. It is so inspiring

How do I know how much to grieve?

So I found out about my wife's emotional affair of 2 years last July 2015. While we are still together and she is going through individual counseling and we are doing weekly marital counseling, she is still very disconnected from me. She has her emotional walls up and she does not want to pray together because spiritual intimacy is too close for her right now.

All the good memories I have had of our 22-plus years together just feel so tainted and tarnished now. I feel so discouraged on a daily basis that it is hard sometimes to think straight. I feel over the first 6 months after I exposed this affair, all my crying has pretty much been soaked out of my body. I still tear up when triggered by songs we shared or memories of the past and especially when she is loving on my kids when we are sitting on opposite couches on the other side of the room (she doesn't let me hold her hand, kiss her, cuddle with her or hug her).

So as I press daily into Christ, my heart still longs for reconciliation and connection again with the woman I still love and cherish who admits she is not "in love" with me, does not respect me and definitely doesn't cherish me. She is pressing into God on her own side of things and says she is staying in the marriage only out of obedience and prays that God will soften her heart to really connect with me again.

It is so hard because it seems like she is the one that has come out the other side smelling like roses. She still has her friends from church (even though we had to leave the church because the other man and his family still attend there) and she still has her friends from work that she is close to. She hasn't lost the affection and admiration of any of our three kids (two are in college) or her family (her brother -- who is not a believer -- told her to leave me if she isn't happy). I haven't told my family and I only have a handful of guy friends who have stuck by my side throughout this. I feel like I have lost so much of who I am as a man and husband because of the pain she has caused, yet I feel like I am the one who has taken the brunt of the crap from her sinful choices and that she still holds all the power as she keeps her distance and remains disconnected in so many ways.

Please help me with any advice as I try to be faithful to Christ and to my marriage covenant. As weird as it seems, I still want to be married to this woman for the rest of my life. I still love her and cherish her even though she does not reciprocate the same feelings. How long do I wait before just washing my hands of all this? I am trying my best to by patient and understanding because I know I am working on things in my life that she has had issues with.

Thank you for any reply! Praying that God can make beauty from these ashes and redeem my precious martial covenant!!!!

i think i need to grieve

I think I need to begin grieving soon. I feel numbed out. I found out at 1:30p on a Sunday after church on April 17. I have never participated in an online support group so this is all new for me. I am a professional mental health therapist by day so I have to watch my counter-transference when a client presents with similar issues. More later. Patient just arrived.

Needing to grieve

Me too. I'm a psychologist, and this is the third time I've caught him. Same woman, who apparently doesn't even like him. I truly believe he's delusional. The possible counter-transference feels like trying to walk through a minefield while blindfolded.


I am 9 months into healing from my husband's emotional affair. The affair happened between Sept-Jan of this last year. So, as September started, I started getting a lot of triggers. Now, I am feeling all the hurt and pain all over again. Your post resonated with me strongly. Feel the feelings but find a time and place to cry and allow God to heal my wounds. Thank you so much for writing this.

How are you now?

Wondering how you are now on your journey to healing? I found out about my husband's emotional affair 6 months ago.

Grieving betrayal

Thank you for this been wondering how am supposed to grieve especially when everyone around you just wants you to get past the emotions quickly, but thank you cause I can relate and no longer feel alone in this journey.

Thank you

This article was so timely and helpful for me. It's been one year since finding out about my husband's affair next month and sometimes I feel crazy for still feeling completely heart broken. Sometimes the pain is too much to even look him in the eyes. Sometimes it feels like it will never go away no matter what I do. This gives me a sense of peace and hope! God wil make all things new in his timing when healing is complete.

It’s been two years since my

It’s been two years since my world as I knew it came to a crashing halt. The pain that I thought would consume me forever has eventually faded. Let me tell you...aside from a death of a child, there wasn’t any pain worse that I could imagine. My husband and I are still together and I have forgiven him. Though there are and always will be triggers that sting at times, I am gaining back my self-asteem and I know I am worthy of being loved and cherished. It is painful but so important to grieve. Grieve as hard as your mind and body will pour out. Take. Your. Time. There is no right or wrong length in time that it takes and whoever tells you there is, obviously hasn’t lived your personal experience. Surround yourself with those who you trust and I believe in keeping my circle small. I have a bible study group that has helped pave my road ahead. It’s hard to see in the hurricane, but life renews eventually and many times leads to beautiful beginnings.

It’s been almost two years

It’s been almost two years for me as well and we are also still together ... Too many people say things like if you forgive him u have to forget it and let it go ... because everyone around me only says to forget it.. unless someone has been in this position they can’t possibly understand how u feel. When I have my emotional triggers it’s seems as no one understands and I had to at first constantly bury what I feel causing more emotional harm.

Even with forgiveness it’s still there it still hurts

I worry...

I am the unfaithful, and D-Day was about a year and a half ago. My wife has definitely had her dark times...we've slept apart at times, she's cried a few times...but she tends to internalize. She has not told anyone about my infidelity...she talked with a therapist a few times, but has simply prayed about it and read books beyond that. She doesn't SEEM to be in pain or angry, though she does have bad days. Things have gotten a lot better, but since she didn't APPEAR to go through a prolonged grieving process, I worry that it will come back down the line. Or, perhaps she simply has dealt with it in her own way. Is that possible?

telling my spouse

I worry, How did you tell your spouse the things she wanted to know?

I'm so sorry you are going

I'm so sorry you are going through this - Thank you for your insight -
One question though - Is your marriage currently on the mend?

Too hard

We are nearing two years. It’s awful. I found the woman my husband had an affair with has fetched up at my daughters university. I want to be free from pain. My heart can not go through this all again.

My husband is not outwardly interested but I can not trust him. I found myself constructing a marriage framework wherein we could spend less time together...because I felt I needed to reclaim myself. He loved it because it gives him the same freedom. He has always wanted more ME time. Now I’m afraid he’d rather not have any US time.

I hate myself.
I hate myself more now for not getting over this.
I hate thinking about this.
I hate living this long.
I hate that the woman is still alive, living free and I’m not.

I want to remove my head and become someone else. When I try to feel this, my husband wants nothing to do with me, he just doesn’t respond. He knows I get out of bed and go to another room. He knows I cry and cry. He knows I have dark days. He doesn’t respond. I really try not to feel it all the time, but there really isn’t anything else to think about. My head is empty and full.

I’m starting a new job soon. I hope that will fill my head up. I’m done with living, I would make a better machine.

The worst thing about this pain is the going through it alone. Nobody knows. Nobody can know. If anyone knew I would die. Shame is a lie from the enemy, but it’s a truly effective lie. If I told anyone, they would never like my husband again. I can’t do that to him.

I have travelled this road alone....entirely alone. My husband travels a different road. I may as well physically walk off down a dusty lonely path and just keep walking...pain will surely die off somewhere along the road....surely?

I want to be someone else. New job. New clothes, new makeup, new person. I hate what marriage has done to me. I hate who I am.

Throughout this time, there have been some joys. But they are public joys, not private joys. My husband doesnt want me, but tells me he DOES love me. That’s just weird. He says he needs to build up to intimacy, but as he takes his time doing so, all I think about is I must be abhorrent to him and then my suspicion grows and then I run away from our room.

Should I stop playing musical beds and just sleep in the spare room, rejected, alone, miserable, but not annoying him?

I wish I had a switch to flick off and die.

Get Help

I can hear such sorrow in your soul that I wish I knew where you were. I, too, traveled this horrible journey alone. No one could know. Although, I suspect there are some that do. But, I took the stand that if there was going to be change I had to demand it. Is the current life you are living the one you want? Then demand better. Demand better for yourself. If you need to make changes, make them. If you need your spouse to make changes, demand it. But get busy living instead of getting busy to die!! There is joy out there I promise. Find a support system. Find joy. Realize that a bad day only last 24 hours, and hope the next bad day will only be 23 hours, and so on and so on. I do not mean to sound trivial and that my experience has been an easy one. It was the most horrific thing I could ever imagine. To make things worse, my husband works with his Emotional Affair Partner. So EVERYDAY, I'm triggered. But I found that I can not obsess anymore, but I did. I will pray for you. Again, I wish I knew where you were. I have been there and do not want to return, but I would love to help people find their voice, their way and their joy!!! God Bless you Dear One. You are Important and Loved, REMEMBER THAT!!!!!

praying for you

My heart breaks for you. I have definitely been there. I've felt so many of these same emotions. Please don't go through this alone. Have you checked out or signed up for the Harboring Hope online course? I've not taken it but I'm guessing it would help you. I'm going on 4 years after finding out about my husband's 5 year long affair with a supposed friend. I did have a support system of friends and can not imagine going through it alone. I do remember so many times thinking I should be over this by now. It is a very long process and I've come to the conclusion that the scars will probably always be there. However, I am finally at a place where life is looking up again. There is hope, it's a very long process, longer than anyone who has not been through it can ever imagine. I should also say that I did divorce, however; only through the help of my Lord working in and on me that my exhusband and I have salvaged a good friendship and able to co parent our children wonderfully. I thank the Lord every day for His wonderful grace and restoration of my life. I know your pain and am praying for you.

You don’t deserve to die

You deserve life! Don’t allow yourself to let him or anyone else control how you feel. Your value doesn’t come from a person. It comes from God. Although I have thought many of the same things you have, I refuse to stay there. I refuse to stay in the trash can. If your husband doesn’t want to help you recover then you recover yourself. You don’t need him to feel loved. You need to love yourself. Start by keeping a journal and writing down all of your pain. Write down all of your bad thoughts. Write down all of your victories too. Surely you have good things in your life. One of them is the ability to care about other people that are hurting just like you are...you have helped me to not feel alone in my thoughts. The way you feel is normal for someone who is enduring such pain. But you have to get some goals and starting reaching for them and crawl out of that trash can because it is not where you belong. I bet if I met you, you would be an amazing woman with so much to give to this world. Don’t stop fighting for your right to live!

Too Hard

You are not to blame for what has happened. I do, however, understand wanting to pain to stop. I too, have days where I feel I will never feel normal again.
Take time to heal, see a counselor, spend time with a friend or friends who let you grieve and don’t try to tell you how you should feel or what you should do.
Healing is a two way street, it will take both of you to commit to doing whatever it takes to heal.
Please know you are not alone.

Dear Too Hard

You are not alone in the way that you feel. I felt this way for a very long time. We have just passed the 5 year mark since D-Day, and it took me at least 4 years to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Do not look toward your husband for validation. The affair had nothing to do with you and everything to do with HIM. It's a very selfish, careless act that causes great devastation. Do not put a time limit on your healing! You need to start healing without him if he is not a willing partner. Look toward God for your validation because He is the only one that can truly heal you.
My heart breaks for you and I so wish you had someone to talk to. My friends and support group from this website were my life line. I wish I could talk to you in person and hug you and tell you that YOU. ARE. WORTHY.
Don't give up! Keep a journal of your feelings and make small goals for yourself. Checking off those goals one at a time will make you feel better.
I am fervently praying for you.

Not sure

It’s been 1year since D-day and I moved out about a month ago. I’m healing but it’s hard when my husband is not broken and contrite over what he has done. Forgiving is a process and healing is definitely difficult but I’m not sure reconciliation is in the books for me.

Just In Time

God showed me about 2 weeks ago that I need to go through the grieving process and allow myself to feel the pain. I’ve been working through what this looks like and have come up with my own grieving times, journaling, and just letting out the tears. This article helped me to see that the grieving process is highly important and not something I can rush. I need to let God guide me so that I grieve well.

Just In Time

God showed me about 2 weeks ago that I need to go through the grieving process and allow myself to feel the pain. I’ve been working through what this looks like and have come up with my own grieving times, journaling, and just letting out the tears. This article helped me to see that the grieving process is highly important and not something I can rush. I need to let God guide me so that I grieve well.


Thank you for this beautiful article. I am coming to the end of my second year of grieving and I have discovered that letting the pain be, treating it with respect and gentleness has been healing. I'm stronger than I was last year but find that it's still a process. My worldview has changed and although my spouse and I are still together it feels like a different marriage. I'm still working on this. Your article gives me strength. Thank you

Alone in France

26 Days ago my husband an myself went on a "Once in a lifetime" trip to the French Rivera, 26 Days ago was also D day. The day my world was shattered.

WE had planned this fantastic trip to France (we travel a lot), my husband travels for work and will sometimes be away for a couple of weeks at a time then home for a weekend. We started our trip and i was feeling very uneasy "something was wrong, something was going on". He was in panic mode when his SIM card didn't work. Once it was fixed, so was he...on his phone! I could see the last time he would log into WhatsApp and every time i would leave a room or go to sleep he was on his phone. I just knew, somehow I knew there was someone else. I confronted him at 3am on January 2nd, i said "hand me your phone"!

And then there it was the face of a stranger who will forever be etched in my memory, she was not pretty (or even cute) she was YOUNG. I am not old but i am not 25 anymore. This is our second marriage so failure is not an option. My first marriage failed after 25 years, this is not going to happen to me again! Then the real discovery began, i found out about another "girl" this one lasted for 3 years, she happened to have gotten so mad when she found out that we got married that she had sent me a DM on Instagram (2 years ago but i had never seen it), it said " I Have been dating M for 3 years, I lived with him, i took vacations with him, I hope you enjoy being married to someone like that. WHAT? OMG? how is this possible. We have been together 12 years, I Was with you EVERY weekend.I asked questions and God Bless her heart i could still hear the pain in her texts he had hurt her too. He made her his hidden secret, she had to live with knowing about me. The mother in me wanted to protect her from reliving the pain that he had caused her but the shock of it all was too much. She consoled me, told me i was not alone, texted me daily until i could get home to make sure i was ok. Now i am faced with the questions, my husband is answering them ALL and believe me it is not pretty folks. I am a detail girl, I want to know EVERYTHING, terrible details, like when, where, how many times a day. Every disgusting detail.

I waiver between having to manage my life and being a complete basket case. I manage an entire company, account, my friends, my family, I am the rock, but i have crumbled. I have these terrible crying episodes, i just cant stop. I cant control it. I cant breath.

For his part i must say he is really trying to make me feel validated. He lets me cry, he holds me (when i let him) he tells me that we are going to be stronger after we come through this, he is getting help for his part in this. I have all the same questions I have seen from everyone here.

How could you do this to me?
When am i going feel normal?
Why did you take away my happiness?
What are people going to say if they find out?
How do i go on living knowing that I wasn't "Enough"?
We were so happy, what made you look somewhere else?

I am the strongest person i know, i forgive others, I love God and am a faithful servant, i give to others, I don't harbor resentment, I don't do negativity, i make sure everyone is included. How could this happen to ME?

I just want to feel normal again, I want to smile again, I want to be the social butterfly i was, I want myself back. I want the marriage i thought i had back, only i need a real marriage, one actually built on trust, love and a mutual commitment. Is that possible? IS it too early to tell?

I am looking forward to feedback, I need help, i need guidance, I need answers.

Grieving too

Thank you for this article and honesty. My husband just shared with me that 7 years ago when we believed we were going to be separated, he slept with a prostitute. He regretted and hated it- and finally told me. How donI heal over a wound where now in our marriage we have been so good?

Grieving betrayal

Wow. As I sit grasping for answers, struggling with this grief that is all consuming, I read my affair recovery articles. I read them for hope, guidance, and a feeling that I’m not alone. This article just said without YOUR god there is no hope. Thanks for alienating me while I try and find my way to healing. Thanks for telling me healing is hopeless.


I’ve heard this account of the lady setting aside specific grieving time several times since my dday 3 years ago. I envied her then and now I think she’s superwoman. I haven’t been able to compartmentalize my emotions that well. I have learned a lot. Still working on it…..

affair from the past

in 2010 my husband of at that time 17 years had an affair/fling with a woman who came to his job and came on to him, she said that she knew he was married and wanted to spend some time with him anyway. That night he called her and tried to engage in intercourse but felt guilty and left abruptly she continued to call him, then he went back to see her a second time, to have her perform oral sex on him at which time when she was done he told her this was still a mistake then left, he remained friends with her on the tele for then next couple years stressing that he did this to minimize the guilt of having been physical. I discovered the affair and from phone records and he said that it was emotional affair only, now fast forward to 3 weeks ago and the fact that he is in therapy to be a better person, so has now admitted these 2 physical encounters. I am devastated and yet still trying to remember this was in the past, and that we have been good since I found out about the original "emotional" affair we went to counseling after that discovery but now I have to relive all the pain again from the same encounter, my heart hurts, and I don't feel like I will survive this time.

This was helpful

This article was extremely helpful to me today. I’m 9 months from the day he first told me of the affair and 5 months from full disclosure and although the intense rage and shock has greatly subsided, my whole life structure (faith, belief in God’s goodness, view of myself) is fragile and completely turned upside down. Her statement about remembering days she woke up with a happy heart and feeling hopeless that she’d ever feel that again resonates.
I’m grateful for her honesty as it has given me a seed of hope and an example of how to move from a floundering and drowning grief and step forward and grieve in a way that is intentional and with purpose.
Thank you for sharing.

I could’ve written this myself

I could’ve written your response myself. Verbatim. Word for word. Even the timeline part. If I did t know better I would say we are walking the same path and the same timeline. My heart goes out to you. I want so badly wake up feeling happy and loved again. But try as I might, I wake up suffocating. Pushing myself to keep living my life day by day but not really leaning into the joy in front of me. I can’t see clearly thru the pain. I wonder if I’ll ever be whole again. I walked this path twice with my former husband. My new husband was so different. Or so I thought. Now I’m not sure how I can ever trust again. I walked the painful path to healing. TWICE. I’m not certain I have it in me to walk it again. I felt resilient after my prior healing journeys. Now I just feel broken and fear I will never be the same. I know I will never be the same but I want to grow. I want to recover. But the pain is suffocating me.


Thank you so much for sharing this. It is exactly what I needed to hear at this time in my own process. I continue to struggle with embracing and moving through the necessary grief. This is something that I would like to share with my therapist and discuss incorporating some of these strategies in my own healing journey.

Two affairs,twelve years apart

My wife and I are going to “celebrate” our 38th anniversary this year. We were in our 8th year when she cheated the first time, during the holidays, (I used to love that time of the year), and in our 21st year the second time, one week before our 22nd anniversary. I haven’t had a happy anniversary since. I found out, both times, by finding letters she had written to them which detailed what they did together. The first man was an acquaintance we hadn’t known for long but I knew by the way she looked at him that she was interested in him because she once had looked at me like that. The second man was someone who I called friend for 17 years. Obviously he never really was my friend or he would never have allowed something like that to happen. I’m so tired of feeling so sad, and having sex has been unfulfilling for me for a couple decades. I’m told by numerous ladies that I’m a good looking man and I’m inclined to believe it because I’ve had many, many opportunities to step out on my marriage over the years, and honestly, I’ve been seriously tempted by some beautiful, sexy women, but I made a promise to her on our wedding day, and I pride myself on keeping my word. So I’ve kept myself only to my wife for the last 40 years. Ever since our first kiss. I know she isn’t cheating now but I don’t know if the two times I found out about are the only times, or if maybe there were others. I’m almost 63 years old now and only God knows how much time I have left, but I don’t want to waste it on sorrow. Is there a way I can hold her again without thinking about her being with them? To make love with her without thinking of her being with them? Every time we kiss, it’s like I’m kissing those other guys too and I just don’t feel the same way I used to. I’m still in love with her and I know I want to grow old with her as planned. Help me.

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-D, Texas