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?" The journey following infidelity can feel unbearable. We know how difficult it is to find a safe place to get help from people you can trust with that delicate of pain. The following is a letter I received from a recent participant at EMS Weekend. I encourage you to read it all the way through. This letter, written by a betrayed man, shares a journey from disclosure, to his experience at EMS Weekend, to 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.
- Rick

A Participant's EMS Weekend Experience:

On January 6th I suspected my wife, Jenn*, was having an affair. I called her to question both her and her 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 January 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" 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 they seemed 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 aren't very 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, not entirely sure how I'll make it to the next moment. I have been unable to find words to accurately describe the sheer magnitude of devastation, betrayal, lies, deceit, disgust, hurt, anger, and rage. It's a devastation that not only affects us, but our immediate family and friends as well. Frankly, I'm not sure how I've made it to the point of writing this manuscript. The only things I can credit are the saving grace of God and the hope we found at EMS Weekend. Without these two things I wouldn't have been able to survive the events and disclosure of the affair. I solely, by myself, am certain that I would never have survived.

From D Day (discovery day) #1 until we arrived at EMS Weekend, I was terrified, afraid, and confused. 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!!!!

I saw no possible way how you, your program or any of the psycho-babble bull crap would ever help me, my wife, or our relationship. I was certain that the light at the end of the tunnel was the headlamp on a train.

From a human perspective, I knew 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 everything, 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 just a counselor who helped couples go through it and could relay stories about how their clients had somehow survived this wreck. I needed to hear from someone who had caused the wreck or 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 arrival at EMS Weekend, I had no idea what to expect. I think 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, the other therapists, 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 arrived with, but to really hear, learn, and be changed by what was being taught. I saw the hurt and devastation not only in the betrayed spouses, but the unfaithful as well. 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 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 communicate with Jenn about the affair.

I realized that in order to truly heal, I was going to have to walk that road; any detours would result in a dead end. I left knowing that it was okay and normal for me to have the feelings I was having, and that the timeline I was operating in was okay and not to be rushed. When I arrived I was so confused 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 that we finally had a chance - that we could be even 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 into words how I feel, so I'm just going to write 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.

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 there was no 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 can and do happen. Will* and his wife are a prime example. If your marriage is in crisis and you can't see a way out, please take action by coming to an EMS Weekend or registering for EMS Online. Registration for EMS Online opens today at 12:00 PM CST. Click here to learn more: https://www.affairrecovery.com/product/ems-online

*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?

Wow!!

Well said.... I feel this event brought me to y knee with no way up. I was very pessimistic when I went to EMS weekend in March. I am both shocked and pleased how well it has gone.we are both working hard at it but my husband (unfaithful) does not want to be defined by that act and leading us by example. 3 yrs since emotional disclosure;1 yr since Affair; 6 months since relapse; 4 months since EMS weekend.....slowly I am seeing a change and I am beginning to trust again. The biggest difference ....my heart has changed... for the better! Was this Gods plan to have a better marriage? I think so I just need to trust him.

Wow!!

Well said.... I feel this event brought me to y knee with no way up. I was very pessimistic when I went to EMS weekend in March. I am both shocked and pleased how well it has gone.we are both working hard at it but my husband (unfaithful) does not want to be defined by that act and leading us by example. 3 yrs since emotional disclosure;1 yr since Affair; 6 months since relapse; 4 months since EMS weekend.....slowly I am seeing a change and I am beginning to trust again. The biggest difference ....my heart has changed... for the better! Was this Gods plan to have a better marriage? I think so I just need to trust him.

On Point

My feelings exactly!

It has been 6 months since D-Day and I can honestly say that I've seen so much growth in both of us. The materials, my AR Therapist, EMS Weekend, Harboring Hope (for me) and Hope for Healing (for my husband) have been instrumental in our recovery. I know for certain I could not do this with a random therapist sitting across from me with general feed back. Having specialists in this area of trauma is crucial in my opinion. God lead us to this program immediately after D-Day and I couldn't be more thankful to Him for going before us and preparing a place we were going to need.

Thank you Lord and Thank you AR!

PTSD help.....

I read so many stories of recovery on your site. But, I have to believe that you all have counseled many betrayed spouses that have developed PTSD from the infidelity and possibly other traumas one experienced. I have scoured your boards over for PTSD help and see that specific type of assistance is not what your weekend retreats are focused on. I am desperately seeking PTSD help. Real help that can actually put my life back together again. I have tried all my local resources with not much results. My husband and I counseled with Rick 25 years ago when he was just getting started with Affair Recovery.
I pray that someone there would know of someone who provides PTSD recovery structured in a like way to your EMS Intensive Programs. Any referrals at this point would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for your consideration.

we would recommend something called EMDR or ETT for the PTSD

SusanD, thanks for your comment.  you'll hear in my video blogs that PTSD can be treated by EMDR or ETT therapy which are very helpful to those who are walking through that level of trauma.  at our ems weekend we do have the power to do some ETT therapy right on site and it works extremely well.  if you're not able to attend the ems weekend, i would look for someone in your area who specializes in those two forms of treatment and care and you should do very well under their care. 

1month and over 2weeks since D Day

It has been really tough reading through this.
The circumstances surrounding my marriage and infidelity is very unique.
I have been married to my wife for over a year and 5months now, and we literally have been living in different countries for the duration of our marriage, I have only seen my wife twice since we got married.
I am not saying these to get pity or give an excuse for my affair. I am a Christian and I know I messed up. I made wrong decisions and I regret them.
The struggle with masturbation and pornography had always been there and it was never being addressed until I confessed to my wife about my unfaithfulness. Those unaddressed struggles led the path to infidelity. Distance between myself and my wife played only but a marginal role.

As I write this, I honestly feel despondent. The years and months I've read that it would take to heal, recover and be whole from my acts of unfaithfulness is quite discouraging.
I really do love my wife, I regret all I've even done to hurt her and I just want this current nightmare to be over with.
I want to connect with my wife again.

It hasn't been easy doing marriage from a distance but not everyone is called to walk the same paths in life. We are more than ever working harder to be together permanently.
I am now working on myself, I am also working on loving my wife fiercely and unconditionally.

In my journey thus far, some days are hopeful and other days leave me with strong feelings of discouragement.
I am a young unfaithful husband, I'm 27 and my wife is 25.
We may not be able to afford the programs on AR for now but we have been working with all the gracious contents you guys make available to us through your website and on your YouTube and would keep working with them until we can pay for the programs.
I am going to be absolutely honest! The content from AR is hope giving, the truths in those content can sometimes weigh you down but I am choosing to trust God one day at a time.
Like Rick says, time doesn't heal all things, it is what you do with the time that could heal all things.

Thank you Rick and your staffs.

Renewed

This letter is spot on. I’m about 4 months from D-day & I have experienced just as much devastation. I have been struggling a lot lately & I was beginning to feel like I wasn’t going to survive this & my relationship was all but over. I am grateful to be reminded that I have to walk the road to recovery & there are no detours. I’m comforted knowing that my feelings are normal and my timeline is ok, I cannot rush this. I am committed to giving us a chance. Will our relationship survive, the jury is still out on that, but we are both here willing to do the work.

To Healing

Although this was written a while ago, this gives me hope beyond belief. Thank you for sharing your story with recovery.

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