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

Is There Hope After Infidelity?

The only question we hear more often than, “Why?” is, “Now what?” This question is typically quickly followed by, “Should we attend in EMS Weekend? Will it be helpful?”. The journey of a betrayed spouse can feel unbearable, and it is difficult to find somewhere to get help that you can trust with that delicate pain. The following is a letter I received from a recent participant at EMS. Read it all the way to the end. This letter tells the journey of a betrayed spouse from disclosure and getting to EMS Weekend to his experience at EMSW and what life is like now. I consider these types of letters very special gifts, and I hope you’ll draw the same hope and encouragement from the words of this betrayed spouse as I did.  - Rick

Jan. 6th, my world, as I knew it, was about to be completely annihilated, destroyed, and evaporated. I just didn't know it yet. You see, this is the day that I suspected my wife, Jenn*, was having an affair, and the day that I called her and questioned both her and her then-affair partner about their relationship.

They both lied. I trusted her so completely that I never questioned what she told me. It was not until Jan. 20th, that the bomb exploded; shattering both my life and my heart into tiny unrecognizable pieces. This is the night my wife began to “trickle truth” to me about her affair. Growing up, I remember many a summer night looking up into that huge Montana sky and being completely dumbfounded by the volume of stars. I remember thinking that there were so many that they were countless. The night of the initial disclosure, (there were many more to come over the next several months), my heart shattered into as many pieces and then some.

From that moment on, up to the writing of this account, the events of the preceding months really are not that clear to me. I feel as if I am in this horrible nightmare of which there is no escape. I have simply been existing, trying to take my next breath, and not sure how I was going to make it to the next moment in time. The sheer magnitude of the devastation, betrayal, lies, deceit, disgust, hurt, anger, and rage are not anything that I have been able to find words to truly and accurately describe. It's a devastation that extends beyond my life, but to hers and our immediate family and friends as well. Frankly, I am not certain how I have made it to this point of writing this manuscript. Actually that is not accurate, as near as I can figure, it has only been by the saving grace of God and the hope we found at EMS Weekend that I have been able to survive the events and disclosure of the affair. I solely, by myself, am certain that I would never have survived.

All the way up until we arrived at  EMS Weekend, I was terrified, afraid, and confused. Frankly, I wanted to run to my home state of Montana and disappear into the wilderness, never to be seen or heard from again. I wanted all the thoughts and images to be erased from my memory; I didn't want to talk about the affair, the lies, and the horrific feelings. I was tired and worn out from the grieving and the seemingly unending discussions, fights, arguments, anger, rage, name calling, confusion, AHHHHHHHH!!!!

Also, I saw no possible way that you, any of your staffyour program, or the psycho-babble bull crap was ever going to be able to help me, my wife, our relationship, our present and certainly not our future. I was certain that light at the end of the tunnel was the headlamp on a train.

From a human perspective, I did feel like IF  I was going to give anyone a chance to help me, it was going to be you and your staff. You see, in our research for seminar weekends, two things were vital to me. 1) It had to be a program that was staffed by experts who had treated infidelity for at least 15 to 20 years. Without that experience and expertise, I wasn’t willing to trust anyone. I needed someone who had seen almost all there was and is to see, not someone who was going to use a ‘one size fits all approach.’ We had been hurt enough and didn’t want any further hurt or confusion in our lives. 2) I needed to listen to someone who had been there and done that, not a counselor that had helped couples go through it and could relay stories about their clients that had somehow survived this wreck, but rather someone that had caused the wreck, been involved in the wreck, and had survived the devastation. To me, there is a huge difference in perspective from someone who was an eye witness vs. someone who was actually involved.

Upon reaching EMS Weekend, I was very uncertain as to what to expect. I think in the back of my mind I felt as if I was going to do everything possible to sabotage mine and Jenn's success there. But an amazing thing happened, as I listened to you, Leslie, John and  the other couples present, my heart began to find a new sense of peace and calmness.  I was able to not just observe from the cynical perspective I came with, but to really hear, learn, and be changed by what was being taught.  I saw the hurt and devastation in not only the betrayed spouses, but also the betrayers. I saw the genuine love, care, and compassion that all of you had for us, as we sat there in our biggest time of need, in what were the most devastating times of all of our lives. You just wanted to help us to realign with ourselves and with our spouse.

I came to your weekend secretly hoping to find a way to run from my marriage, the pain, the hurt, the agony, despite the fact that I had committed to myself and to Jenn to stay in the relationship and rebuild.

I left the weekend with hope, and with the ability to be able to communicate with Jenn about the affair. With the realization that in order to truly heal I was going to have to walk that road, there were no detours that didn't dead end. I left knowing that it was okay and normal for me to have the feelings that I was having, that the timeline I was operating in was okay and was not to be rushed. I was so confused when I arrived as to why I was still experiencing so much pain. I felt it should have been over within a day or two of disclosure. Man was I naïve. I learned that it was okay to grieve and that I actually needed to. I left knowing that I wasn't crazy. I left knowing we finally had a chance, that we could even be better than where we were before the affair.  

Your weekend saved my marriage and my future with my wife. You see Rick, I truly believe that Jenn and I are meant to be together. It’s not the way I would choose to see our marriage grow stronger, but it’s working nonetheless.  For the first time since D Day, I feel like we finally have compassion for each other in ways that would have never been if we didn’t sacrifice and attend your weekend. I don't know how to say or put to you what I am about to say, so I am just going to write it the way I feel it and hopefully you'll understand. If I had a choice to continue to live my life with Jenn the way we were prior to the affair, or to have to go through what we have been through and are going to go through to get what I am getting from God, my wife, and my life after the affair, then I choose the post affair life and living that pain in order to get to the other side, every time, without fail, no exceptions. To be experiencing life the way I do now, to know my wife the way I do now, to be known the way Jenn knows me now, to be able to be there to help my wife realize and see the woman I see inside of her, to have her at my side helping me realize the man I want to be, to see her amazing strength, courage and character, to see her grow in recovery daily, yep, I'll take that any day over what we had before.

I wish that there was not a need for EMS Weekends. I wish this world and the people in it didn’t wreak the havoc, hurt, and devastation they do on one another, but the reality is that people like you and your staff are needed. I hope that I never have to recommend anyone to you, but statistics and life say I probably will. Should that occasion ever arise, I can share with you with absolute confidence that I would recommend you and your program at the highest level. You saved my marriage, but more than that, you saved my life.


Miracles do happen and Will* and his wife are a prime example. If your marriage is in crisis and you can't see any way out, please take action by coming to an EMS Weekend or going through an EMS Online course. There really is hope and there really can be healing. I hope you’ll take a bold next step and talk to one of our staff members about finding practical help for you and your spouse.

 

*names have been changed

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Comments

Response to letter

Great letter. I enjoyed reading it. The description of the devastation is very accurate. The trauma of trickle truth I can also validate. My experience very similar. No truth from my spouse. I learned ALL from other people. Still no truth from spouse. The lies continue. The sad part is somehow things get turned and twisted. Beyond my understanding, I am to blame for this mess. Don't get me wrong. I know I am not to blame. There is no ownership on my spouses part. Hope? No. Montana wilderness sounds very inviting!

Commitment and perseververanc prevail!!!

What a great article!!! Although my situation was slightly different in terms of the discovery of wife's afffair and the emotional roller coaster I went through, I feel that God truly lead Cindy and I back to Him through Rick's program. Even though my wife truly didn't want to be there, I don't believe our marriage would have survived without it. The most important thing I learned that was most difficult for me to deal with was giving my wife the time she needed to let go of her affair partner. Our marriage, our communication and our love for one another is more steadfast than ever before. EMS was the best investment we could have ever made in our future. Looking back it all seems so trivial yet in the moment it looked like a insurmountable obstacle that could never be overcome. I'm grateful that Cindy and I are enjoying the fruits of our hard work and dedication in establishing our new marriage. I would have never dreamed that we would have made it this far. Praise God and thanks you Rick and staff for what you do!!!!!

EMS weekend

Dear Rick and family at affair recovery: I am continents away from you and yet your website is a lifeline. For the first time, I knew all the betrayed suffer from the same agonies, the mincing, shredding, shooting-a-hole-through-the-guts and I am NOT alone. Unfortunately EMS is not available to me, but at least I can put one foot in front of the other. Had I not believed that God is in this marriage, my feet would have run over the Drakensberg mountains long ago. My husband is one of the juts-get-over-it crowd and refuses to talk about the reasons, the way ahead (other than what was wrong with the way it was?!) His AP had dropped him and yes, that in itself leaves many questions, such as where would we be if she hadn't?

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