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

Repairing the Damage after Infidelity

The day after Christmas 2002, our family piled into our red suburban to see the movie “Catch Me if You Can.” It’s long been a family tradition to see a movie after Christmas Day. Our choice of country living had made trips to town quite a family event, so our kids never left home without first grabbing various items to keep themselves entertained for the trip. Perhaps that’s what gave the trip, on the day after Christmas, even more novelty since the newness of this year’s gifts had …
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Rick, great article!

Rick, I have forwarded this to our ladies support group facilitator. This is very much similar to my story of self-destruction which included the tornado-like destruction of our marriage, until we assesed the damage and realized, like Nehemiah, we could rebuild anew.

working thought it

I had a year long affair and broke it if a few months ago. My husband has been a saint through all of this. Wanting me back through every step; me moving out, disclosing the affair so he would finally be willing to divorce ( which he still didn't want even after that), even me intentionally hurting him. I was so caught up in affair but deep down I knew up was making wrong decision. After all I had done to him he still wanted me. That's what eventually brought me back to him. I've been reading a lot if articles on this website trying to heal and I've come a long way in two months. I'm moving back in with my husband of 8 years but I am worried about his healing. He still wants me but doesn't want to really talk about what happened. He wants to renew our vows but is hesitant cause he doesn't believe I really want this. How can I make him see that I do when he goes on with day to day life without addressing the past, present, and future with me? I want to talk and heal but I can't get him to do it with me even though he says he wants to. Help.

What exactly is left that matters?

I really like the concept of this article as one of my largest hang ups committing to reconciliation is that I struggle to see anything of value left of our marriage after my husbands 18 months emotional (8 months, turned physical (9 months) affair. Anything I would console myself with to feel comfortable in the relationship is gone. I'm the beginning I would think to myself, "well maybe he didn't have sex with her, or maybe it was only a few times, weeks or months, etc;" "maybe he didn't tell her that he loved her..." But all were disproven over a sow and painful gathering of evidence, most of which came from the affair partner which made my husband even less credible as he wouldn't even become honest with me when backed against the knowledge that the affair partner was sending evidence in the form of text messages between them.
There is no safety, trust or loyalty. He couldn't even remain loyal to me in the form of declining to verbally attack my character to her. They had sex, he continually lied to me directly and by omitting the truth, he took advantage of my kindness and compassion for him. He used me to care for the children and the household while he was only minimally involved with us-too busy keeping the AP happy to be bothered with things like family and commitment. He told her he was leaving us, wasn't happy, and wanted to marry her (he denies that he meant these thing but who could know since he lied about everything else). Considering what deprecated a marriage from any other relationship I arrived at the following:
1. We have chosen our partner and believe them to hold special value worthy of taking ourselves off the market (unless otherwise understood).
2. It is assumed that you hold a special bond/connection with this person.
3. Refrain from any sexual acts with anyone outside the marriage (again, unless otherwise understood).
The knowledge that my husband "choose" another woman, had a connection with her and engaged with her sexually dilutes any value I can find within the marriage. Those acts reduce what should be a place of "special" value to near nothing for me. He, however, returns to a wife who was faithful (definitely not perfect) and stood by him during a very difficult and dark time in his life.
As can be expected I'm very hurt and devastated and desperately want to find something left of the marriage that's salvagable. I'd really like to hear what others in similar situations have identified as salvagable. Rick, if you read this and could elaborate on what those special items might be I would be very grateful.

To Sunflower

My situation is similar and wonder how you are doing. If you would like to connect I would love to.

To Sunflower

My situation is similar and wonder how you are doing. If you would like to connect I would love to.

What exactly is left that matters?

I really like the concept of this article as one of my largest hang ups committing to reconciliation is that I struggle to see anything of value left of our marriage after my husbands 18 months emotional (8 months, turned physical (9 months) affair. Anything I would console myself with to feel comfortable in the relationship is gone. I'm the beginning I would think to myself, "well maybe he didn't have sex with her, or maybe it was only a few times, weeks or months, etc;" "maybe he didn't tell her that he loved her..." But all were disproven over a sow and painful gathering of evidence, most of which came from the affair partner which made my husband even less credible as he wouldn't even become honest with me when backed against the knowledge that the affair partner was sending evidence in the form of text messages between them.
There is no safety, trust or loyalty. He couldn't even remain loyal to me in the form of declining to verbally attack my character to her. They had sex, he continually lied to me directly and by omitting the truth, he took advantage of my kindness and compassion for him. He used me to care for the children and the household while he was only minimally involved with us-too busy keeping the AP happy to be bothered with things like family and commitment. He told her he was leaving us, wasn't happy, and wanted to marry her (he denies that he meant these thing but who could know since he lied about everything else). Considering what deprecated a marriage from any other relationship I arrived at the following:
1. We have chosen our partner and believe them to hold special value worthy of taking ourselves off the market (unless otherwise understood).
2. It is assumed that you hold a special bond/connection with this person.
3. Refrain from any sexual acts with anyone outside the marriage (again, unless otherwise understood).
The knowledge that my husband "choose" another woman, had a connection with her and engaged with her sexually dilutes any value I can find within the marriage. Those acts reduce what should be a place of "special" value to near nothing for me. He, however, returns to a wife who was faithful (definitely not perfect) and stood by him during a very difficult and dark time in his life.
As can be expected I'm very hurt and devastated and desperately want to find something left of the marriage that's salvagable. I'd really like to hear what others in similar situations have identified as salvagable. Rick, if you read this and could elaborate on what those special items might be I would be very grateful.

Hi Sunflower02, I'm not Rick.

Hi Sunflower02, I'm not Rick. And its your journey, so I don't know what's special to you that might be still of value. But in your reply you mentioned children. Sometimes people find after a few years of recovery that they come back to valuing the children they had with their unfaithful spouse. I can understand that at first, or for a long time if the healing is slow, that it won't be the case. But over time and with investment from both spouses, the family can return to being of value. But another thing of value can be your own self image. You can of course take the choice of dumping your spouse after betrayal. But you can also see the affair as a major setback that you want to overcome. For some this can be like the "great depression" or "WWII" experience of their life - devastating but not the end of their story with that spouse. It might also depend on where you place your perspective of this life. If this life is all there is, then dumping might make more sense, carpe diem. But isn't that also the unfaithful spouse's original perspective when having an affair? So, that seems questionable. What if there is more to eternity than just this life? What if this life is like being a caterpillar, then death/metamorphosis, then a new much more beautiful life? And what if part of that metamorphosis is to overcome the pain of the heart and to grow more mature? It has been found that the excruciating process of squeezing out of a cocoon is what inflates a butterflies wings. What if that's your valuable thing you are looking for, maturity in the next phase. Not saying you are wrong to feel this way. Just saying maybe your gaze is too short term or too narrow.

What type of affair was it?

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