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

Practical Tools for Betrayed Spouses

You don't have to stay stuck after infidelity

Functioning and participating in everyday life is one of the toughest things for a betrayed spouse to do after discovery of infidelity. The future can seem completely uncertain, reminders and triggers are off the chart, anger continuously stalks them and we feel as if we don't have what it takes to make it. Often times we can also feel alone and painfully desperate, searching for not only answers, but peace of mind. Today I've provided three videos for you to preview from three separate areas of our website: private Harboring Hope Q&A's available only to its participants, Recovery Library members' only Q&A's, and lastly a video from our public video blog.

HH Q&A: What does Full Disclosure of an Affair Look Like Practically?

Recovery Library Q&A: What Are Signs That Someone Might Relapse?

Video Blog: Tools to Stay Focused in Recovery

Despite what your spouse may be choosing to do or believe about your future together, Harboring Hope provides answers for the pain you're in and a blueprint for your own healing. Take for example, just a couple of real life testimonials:

"In the face of betrayal, it seems impossible to take care of yourself - much less others around you. But Harboring Hope gives hurt spouses the opportunity to develop self-love and self-care on a journey of self-recovery. To any betrayed women or men out there, just know you are worth it and one of the best things you can do right now is take care of you by joining Harboring Hope!"
- A. TX | HH Participant

"Harboring Hope walked me along my path of recovery after my husband's infidelity. It was helpful to talk with others experiencing similar emotions and struggles that I was feeling. Knowing that the facilitators, and everyone associated with Affair Recovery has been through infidelity, was reassuring. Everyone was very empathetic to me."
- K. PA | HH Participant

We believe you should give yourself permission to be where you're at emotionally. Infidelity is a pain like no other and carries within it a wound that can seem insurmountable. However, both myself and our community are here to tell you it's more than possible to weather the storm, heal the trauma and uncertainty and find new life and new hope. Harboring Hope not only provides an expert driven curriculum, written by Leslie Hardie, LCSW and John Haney, PhD., LPC, but also provides hundreds of private, video Q&A's for its participants. You'll take part in a powerful journey to help find healing and ultimately, gain your life back.

At Affair Recovery, our desire is to provide a safe place where you can find practical yet expert care for your own healing, even in the face of what has shaken you and your life to the core.

Remember, Harboring Hope opens today at 12:00 PM Central Time and typically fills up within an hour. I hope you'll consider becoming a member of this community for betrayed spouses and giving yourself a chance to find new perspective and restored hope.



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How to stay focused

I always love listening to Samuel. He seems like such a compassionate and self-aware person. I really appreciate is perspective and believe if all of our husband's had his perspective, the betrayed spouse would heal so much easier and faster! But, I am a bit confused by his first point in this video... when things get hard in recovery, you remind yourself weekly, sometimes daily what is at stake? AFTER the affair? The fact that my husband reminds himself of what is at stake AFTER he has had his fun, isn't very meaningful for me. If he would have reminded himself that we have an wonderful bond and friendship, two amazing boys, and he had so much to lose if he HAD the affair, then it would be meaningful. That fact that my husband reminds himself of what he will lose now and doesn't throw in the towel doesn't help me... My perspective is that he DID throw in the towel already when he chose to share all of himself with someone else after he promised only me. I am the one who has to remind myself of what his actions will lose us if I decide to divorce him. Reminding myself of all we will lose seems to just make me sad and bitter.It reminds me that he didn't care about everything he could lose enough to stay faithful. Choosing to stay in this so called marriage now just brings me pain. It is a lose, lose battle they my husband put me in without my approval. If only our spouses had been decent enough to remind themselves of all they would lose BEFORE they acted selfish and betrayed their spouses, things would be different. But they aren't.

hi there.

hi Dusk.  i get it.  im so sorry for your pain and where you're at.  let me explain a bit more of my focus and intent in the video.  the reality is, we're working towards healing and recovery here.  so, while it totally sucks that we did NOT have the character and integrity to see what was at stake before or during the affair, we can't go back.  most of us would gladly go back and say no and not do what we've done.  but, for those that want to heal, we're doing our best to do repairwork and heal and help our spouse heal.  yes, i try and help unfaithful spouses remind themselves of what is at stake now, so they will do all they can to save and repair their marriage, if their spouse will let them.  i wish we all would have NOT done what we've done, but my focus is to help those who have, heal and restore themselves and maybe, hopefully their marriage and betrayed spouse.  i don't see recovery as a lose lose, as IF both parties are willing to heal and do what it takes, the marriage can be saved, life can be healed and there is great joy ahead.  it's not for everyone.  not everyone makes it.  not everyone find this life, but more than we hear about on social media, or in forums, etc, do actually make it and love their life, and love their spouse again.  it's a hard road nonetheless.  i'm sorry the video confused you and I thank you for your kind words. 


How do you know if you are one of the ones that just can't heal?

Hi. I feel so much like the previous commenter.

My husband took a year of no contact to come back to fully wanting the marriage. He was defending the feelings in the affair and his resentment and anger In our marriage pre affair and during the 2 year affair until recently.

He only recently started trying to help me heal (15 months no contact) He still says the way I treated him broke our marriage vows first and he felt like the marriage was over anyway.

My hurt and betrayl and anger runs deep. I sent him Ricks videos on the 20 things not to do to heal from an affair and he admits he did most of them for close to a year. He is only just starting to get individual real help with a first appointment next week. He has woken up and regreats everything deeply.

Is this really something I can heal from? How are these things addressed at the EMS weekend?

Thank you.

sorry for the delay

hi barbara, terribly sorry for the delay.  no excuses, just so sorry.  the ems weekend will address these things are you're dealing with:

1. expert professionals who have been unf or betrayed themselves. they also have their own practice and have treated inf for between 15 and 35 years.  

2. they aren't rookies and understand the nuances to your situation and have treated it probably hundreds of times.  

3. until your husband is getting help from experts and outside of just sitting on a couch playing the blame game with the therapist, you'll probably be stuck for long periods of time which will seem unedning.  the videos alone, while powerful, are not sufficient enough.  there are exercises at the weekend specifically designed to help him find empathy, remorse and clarity.  you can't find that just by watching videos ya know? 

4. you CAN absolutely heal from that.  but it takes a specific protocol to heal from it.  general protocols won't work.  it's like having liver cancer and going to a general dr.  they can make suggestions but they aren't going to give you a specific protocol for your cancer.  it's the same in recovery.


Reply to Samuel

My comments may not exactly match your last reply.. but here goes anyways.. my wife had an affair with her boss 2yesrs ago.. I just found out 6 months ago when she said she cheated with someone but wouldn't say who..( she still works with her boss everyday).after being drip fed 3pieces of information over a 6 months of psychiatric appointments.. I'm having issues about possibly leaving. We need her income and health insurance to survive as a family. D day will never get here I feel. I'm having real issues with her working beside him every day..and can't get this whole situation out of my head(as to be expected) I have tried not to micromanage her recovery..she has done none other than our counselor.. but I am seeing myself recovering slowly, by helpful words from you and Samantha on "affair recovery " along with counseling. I have sent her the boot camp link to which she replied.." she didn't have a two-year affair, so she cannot relate to Samuel "..she still in denial and excuses.( just as you have stated in videos) . as you well know I'm in great agony and defeat at times ,but I still press on for another day. I cannot afford an EMS weekend, and I have no support people besides my counselor.( I'm not one to cry for help.. but I'm crying alone ,so I do need help).. thank you for your vlog.. it does inspire me and gives me comfort. Especially when I feel nobody else wants to hear my bull crap. So thanks for your sympathetic and reasonable voice. You do make a difference!! God Bless You And Your Family.

what a wonderful response..


i'm sorry for your pain my friend.  it's gut wrenching to read it alone, and to live it must be isolating like nothing you've ever faced.  i'm so sorry for the pain you're in and i'm so so so sorry she minimized your pain and gave such a lame excuse that she didn't have a 2 year affair etc.  sheesh.  it reveals her lack of empathy and remorse.  working with the ap never works.  i'm sorry.  perhaps it's time for your own boundaries or your own consequences to her for not getting help ya know?  you can email me at samuel@hope-now.com if you like.  i'll pray for you mark.  i definitely will. 

Difficulty with focus - ditto

I completely and totally agree with you, Dusk. I am having a terribly hard time trying to understand how my husband could have disregarded what he had BEFORE he chose to betray not only me but our family ... our life. My husband had multiple affairs over many years. It is clear that he had no regard for what was at stake. He stopped because he was found out. Consequently and unfortunately, him considering what’s at stake now seems meaningless. The unrelenting pain I endure trying to save our marriage is exhausting. And gives me cause to question whether this is the best course. Because of the difficulty my husband is having with his own guilt and shame, he is paralyzed and unable to help me. And I again agree with you, that if my husband’s perspective was more similar to Samuel’s, my path of healing just might become easier and faster. And then OUR healing could flourish. Sadly though, it is not.

not so fast...

laila, i was an idiot early on.  i was also paralyzed by grief till someone took me to the woodshed.  it can happen if he gets the right help. what actions have you taken?  bootcamp?  ems online?  ems weekend?  what will he do and what are you willing to do recovery work wise, and we'll start there.....

it's completely normal that we see what we were in danger of losing, AFTER we come out of the affair fog.  anyone that says that's not true has never been an unfaithful spouse and never been in the darkness of our own confusion, shame and self hatred.  i'm sorry to be so direct, but there is hope for you, but hope will flourish in the right setting of expert help.  how can i help with making suggestions for you.  what will he do? 


Everything you said rings true for me, too. It is painful to stay. My CS did not ‘fully’ engage in an affair, but not for lack of trying. He attempted to give a gift to another woman. She asked him if I knew what he was doing. His response, “No, my wife does not know, don’t tell her, it will destroy us.” Thank God she had the conscience to approach me about this very difficult and awkward situation. I try to wrap my brain around the fact that he was willing to risk it all. I don’t think he ever expected to get caught and now he is trying to backpedal in the hope of restoring our relationship. I wish I could move in that direction but the trust has been broken and the realization that he no longer cared enough about me, no longer loved me has left me completely damaged in the marriage department. And yes, his actions were a complete shock in what had been a ‘normal’ marriage. Wish I had been given the memo that he was so unhappy prior to his deception.
I’m truly sorry for what you are going through and hope that one day you (we) can find peace.

Lose, lose battle

I completely understand your feeling like you are in a lose , lose situation. I too felt the same way. If you choose to leave you are breaking up your family and losing the dream of growing old together and you will be alone. If you stay you have to do all the difficult & painful work for somone who had no regard for you. You ask yourself, If you stay , does he really love me? Will he do it again? Will you ever be happy again? I can completely relate. I also relate to the part about throwing in a the towel. I am a year and half after d day and i still have moments of rage and wantbto walk away . I feel it would ve easier to release myself from all this pain & humiliation. Sometimes I don’t want to care anymore . I am tired of looking like a crazy person. I dont want to be tgat person anymore.

Thank you Samuel for this and

Thank you Samuel for this and other videos which I didn‘t miss to watch. I often ask myself why do cheaters not think of what they might lose while they are in their affair? Why do they only think of it only when they get caught? I was neglected physically, emotionally and sexually for more than 5 years by my husband who is 12 older than me. I always expressed my needs but he stonewalled me. I stayed, loved him unconditionally and never thought about getting my needs outside my marriage. I gave him love, attention and always was on his side in hard times. As a reward he started to look around for much younger women, and finally found one who accepted to be his lover although she knew that he was married. The hard part which I can‘t forgive or move beyond is that we had to look for the penny while he was offering her huge amounts of money she continuously asked for. As if it was not enough, she started to ask him to buy her presents and personal things like face creams and shoes. This was the year when we celebrated our 25th anniversay and my 50th birthday. I received nothing from him while his young greedy opportunist was asking for 1000s every single month. And again this was not enough, she took him to rent a boutique expecting him to pay the expenses. This is when I discovered the affair through an email showing the costs of the shop which exceed 34’000 and later on found a bill of 2 VIP Concert tickets for another 1350, not to mention the expensive presents including computer and Iphone. My husband was willingly giving all this without seeing that this woman was taking advantage of him. He even had to take his bottle of wine when he visited her. So in other words she gave him nothing in return but sex and the illusion that she loved him. He didn‘t give a damn about his family, took her to expensive hotels on weekends, and a week to our holiday house. How can I forgive him for allowing another person sleep in my bed and get too close to my life? How can I get over this pain and images which haunt me day and night?!! He keeps on telling me that he never stopped loving me and he even told his AP that we had a good relation and he loved me. How can he love me and still be with another woman? How can he love me and give all the attention and what I was in need of to another woman he claimed he didn‘t love but made him feel young and special? It‘s been 1 1/2 years since Dday and the wound is still bleeding. I‘m stuck and don‘t know how and when I will wake up from this nightmare. I‘m aware that my husband is ashamed and shows remorese, I also know that we can‘t go back in time and maje it unhappen, but I also know that there is bitterness in me which is making it difficult to find peace and just move on and enjoy the quality time we spend together.

all very normal...

the fact is, all you've expressed is life changing trauma.  there are no 'simple answers' and i would hate to provide some ridiculous platitudes which offer no clarity or support.  here's what i will say.  you need expert help.  will he attend an ems weekend with you?  he and you need outside, expert help and care to be able to see things differently.  you can't see it now, but samantha had to forgive things exaclty like what you're facing.  samantha and thousands of other betrayed spouses have had to forgive what you're working through.  some even worse, some not as bad.  nothing about what you've written makes you the albatross and unable to heal. if we can, you both certainly can.  but you need a bit of an intervention.  so what work have you done?  what work will he do?  ems weekend?  hope for healing for him?  harboring hope for you?  

Defensiveness: Stonewalling or Guilt?


I'm new to the website but have been watching your vlogs since shortly after D day. My husband lied about his affair, which neither he nor many other people would consider an affair since we were separated. I (along with our two toddlers) left because of his persistent emotional abuse despite counseling. Your video on layers of infidelity conveys how I perceive our entire situation and why his actions feel like a true betrayal.

No matter what he says, such as "I want us to be happy," he could never put actions to words. I got to the point where I told him I didn't care what he wanted and to stop telling me that he loved me, because it rarely showed. I had to leave to be safe and regain my sense of self and could only do that much after desensitizing myself from this trauma. We never discussed the marriage being truly over, much less the prospect of seeing other people. A picture was posted on Facebook of him and another woman, and he said "there is nothing between us-we didn't do anything but talk and hang out with kids, but if I wanted to, I could because we're separated."

After cutting off communication with him and exchanging children through his mother for almost 4 months after that, we began talking again. We were all together at our home like a family and even became intimate, then the next night I questioned him about his relationship with the woman, and he finally admitted they had sex.

He was extremely remorseful, even cried like I never thought he could, and said many things that conveyed true empathy for what I have been feeling our entire marriage. Still living separately, I decided the next morning that I wanted to move past it and make our marriage work. For the first few weeks, he was very understanding and patient with my questions, my crying, my ups and downs, and the few times I unleashed verbally (marathoning/flooding).

Now (six weeks later), when I try to talk to him about it without marathoning or flooding, he interrupts me and says "OK, OK I'm just a piece of crap, etc." I do not know what to make of this. I'm thinking he could be stonewalling, but my insecurities and betrayal of the one redeeming quality I thought he had which was his honesty - the lying hurt almost as bad as the infidelity - make me wonder if this is guilt over other information he is withholding.

Regardless, I'm afraid this is indicative of false accountability and empathy, re-canting on his remorse if it was ever genuine in the first place, and that he's frustrated that the recovery process is actually going to take work. In all, I'm thinking he may not have what it takes to help me get through this. He's even gone so far as to kindly say "well, I didn't really lie, but I insinuated."

he's probably managing his shame...

 in many ways, to your point, marathoning and flooding will frustrate the entire process if you don't have boundaries.  have you gotten any help at all?  what about some of the courses on the site or the ems weekend?  trying to do this on your own, or even in counseling with someone whose not an expert won't bring much relief from the pain you're immersed in.  it's going to require, outside, expert, third party help.  i think he probably wants to heal, but is immersed in shame, condemnation and maybe self hated.  he's also clueless as to how to help you in his pain so then he gets frustrated and pulls back even more.  i'm not blaming you, just explaining what the dynamic is that you both are facing.  there's a way through for sure my friend.  there really is.  it's all very normal, but you need help to guide you through this.  you can't do it alone, or on your own.


I can relate to the post above

My husband had an affair 6 years ago, had a child and I decided to stay, he promised he won't do it again, said it was the group he was hanging with and the drinking and partying and we moved to a different state. We got involved in church, he joined leadership in church and then this January I found out he was unfaithful. At first he said it was just oral sex and seting, just fantasies, we never meant it to get that far.
He was very remorseful at first promised to do what it takea, watched a few videos bought some books, we spoke to a mentor couple who told us to read love and respect book. I felt so upset because the real issue was not being addresed.
Then Feb 2nd he confessed that he had a Porn addiction, had actually had full sex with her an dthey had been planning it for a while. I got mad at him because I had been begging him to tell me the full truth for the whole month.
Then he started saying I had problems too, I disrespected him and I don't listen to him or value him, I think he's worth nothing. And he feels like he has nothing of value to add to our family.
I asked him to stop watching porn and we work on our marriage he said no because he doesn't want to lie that he has stopped, that he will tell me when he is ready and that I push him to watch anyway. I asked him let's see a counselor with no expectations or do the ems online and figure out what our next step is and he says no because I am trying to change him and I don't want to change. Our pastor has spoken to him, an old friend of his has tried reaching out to him, but he feels that I have turned everyone against him and they all think he is a horrible person. He is so angry and so mean and moody that I asked him for an in home separation since he refused to move out. He agreed then cried and said I am ruining everything , then the next day says He doesn't agree to my plan. Its been 7 weeks now and I feel stuck and unsure of what my next step is. I opened my own bank account, signed up for harboring hope and just trying to watch the blogs and pray. I don't know what else to do. So fed up with it all.

Thank you

I forgot to mention, this website and your blogs have been a lifesaver in some dark, hard days. God bless you and please keep doing more of them. You have saved many of my days.

Rollercoaster Ride

A rollercoaster ride is a rollercoaster ride.

It doesn't matter if it involves infidelity, emotional abuse, or wanting to buy new house. The indecisiveness, the ambivalence over everything drove me crazy. The contradictions in his words drove me crazy. My husband and I finally had a breakthrough last night. As I asked the same questions to him over and over again trying to connect the dots as to how "this" relates to "that" in his decision to sleep with another woman, I was able to finally get him to say the words "I wanted a divorce. I wanted to have sex with -----." It forced him to stop dancing around why he did what he did and take some accountability for the choices that HE made. You definitely have some decisions to make, but I encourage you to get off the rollercoaster ride that he is taking you on so that you can think straight.


Thanks, Samuel.

Reading your reply to my comment makes me feel like I just met a celebrity, ha.

I've been hoping that everything is genuine and it, in fact, does stem from shame. I realize now that there is no guarantee that he has told me the whole truth, but that doesn't mean that I can't work towards feeling safe with him and eventually trusting him or that I can't receive what effort he IS making.

But, I need to be patient with myself and with him - we are only seven weeks into this, and he's been offshore for four of those weeks (that's when everything REALLY began to hit me, because I had too much time to think about it without him home).

We're meeting with a pastor at our church and hoping to get connected with couples who have experienced infidelity. My husband sat with me today and watched your videos. When "Why is my unfaithful spouse so angry?" came on, he jokingly shook his head and said "I'm not angry, I'm not angry." Your vlog definitely hit it home for him, and I'm relieved that he humbled himself enough to receive it and respond in jest. I will aim for the EMS weekend next!

P.S. I'm almost finished with my Masters in Professional Mental Health Counseling and working toward licensure and have a bad habit of trying to be his therapist.