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

What is Healing?

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If you've ever read one of my emails, you may have noticed that my closing remark is always "To healing." Recently someone asked what that means to me? What is healing?

Webster's Dictionary says that it's "tending to cure or restore to health." All of us living on this planet are well aware of the wounds life brings and the need we all have for healing.

Healing enables me to wake each day feeling fortunate to be alive. It grants me freedom to live beyond the painful events of my past and liberates me to move forward, enriched by what has happened. While my scars will always be there, they are healed, and although each wound tells a story, I don't dwell in the past anymore.

Life is hard. And as those of you reading certainly understand, it isn't fair. It's bad enough to try to handle the problems and pain created by my own poor decisions, but it's even worse when I have no choice or control over the difficulties perpetrated against me by life and/or by others, especially my spouse. These wounds, received in the process of life, will either enrich or destroy our lives. But we do get to choose which it will be.

I think an honest evaluation of life confirms the reality of life's pitfalls, but what vexes me are those who choose to not get back up. Why would anyone choose not to heal? What would cause us to choose to remain tethered to life's injustice rather than to push forward, even if it's an extremely slow and arduous process, in order to ultimately heal and find new life?


One factor causing people to choose pain over healing is negativism.

To heal, there has to be a desire to live. Choosing life takes courage.

I once read that courage is the condition where your desire for life is greater than your fear of death. A person trapped in a burning building may have to run through a wall of flames to escape. It takes courage to act in the face of fear. But if their desire for life isn't stronger than their fear of death, then they'll never find the courage to run to freedom.

When wounded, some seem to prefer their current state of misery over taking the risk that comes with experiencing life.

You never have to worry about disappointment if you never allow yourself to take a chance on life. But at the same time, you never get to experience life's joy if you're not willing to heal and move on. Healing is a willingness to take a chance on life. There's the risk of failure and of being wounded once again, but without that risk, there's never opportunity to experience life's abundance.

Healing is a willingness to take a chance on life. There's the risk of failure and of being wounded once again, but without that risk, there's never opportunity to experience life's abundance.


Some choose not to heal because they want to punish the ones who have wounded them.

They believe that healing would somehow let the ones who have wounded them off the hook. In reality, "healing" is the only process whereby those who are wounded can let themselves off the hook. Why would you want to suffer for the sake of making someone else pay?

I can look at it one of two ways. First, I can fight the injustice that someone did this to me by staying focused on what they've done, refusing to let go, sacrificing my current and future happiness, and bludgeoning the perpetrators in my life with my miserable state. Relief comes when I believe they have paid for their crimes. But the net result isn't healing, but rather, getting justice.

Second, I can choose forgiveness, letting go of the debt incurred by others and choosing to focus on what brings life. This scenario is about a refusal to let circumstances rob me of my attitude of choice. There are a few things that we control in life, but one factor I do control is my attitude. I can choose to heal and do what's necessary to move forward, even if that journey has numerous stages to it.


Sometimes it's not for lack of motivation but for lack of knowledge that people don't heal. As humans, we tend to think that doing more of the same will somehow bring about the change we're seeking, but it won't. If I had been capable of changing, it would have happened a long time ago.

To heal, we have to take on a beginner's mind and assume that we may not know what or how it will happen.

It seems that some would rather remain in their wounded state than abandon their pride and admit they may not be right. Where there is healing, there is a simple humility that allows us to receive from others and to find a path that can restore our health.

"To healing" is about my wish for you to have a more complete life. My hope is that by grace, we all experience new life.

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"I would like to say thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your ministry and the materials you have provided as part of EMSO and Married for Life. We, all five couples that started EMSO, have just completed the Married for Life 52-week course. We are now deciding what to study next as a group, as we so value the relationship we have together as couples. With God, with your materials and with each other, we have saved our marriages." - B. Minnesota | EMSO participant, March 2021.

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When. Does this happen

How can we begin to heal. I am six months since first DDay. I had three. Yes, trickle truths that have come out slowly and painfully. How can I forgive my husband for continuing to lie about things I knew I my gut and beg him to tell me? How can I trust anything he says. We had a happy marriage and for six months he was having an affair. I knew something was wrong and never in a million years did i think he was having an affair, until my friend said “he is having an affair”. I asked him point blank, not only did he lie but he continued affair. He continued to treat me horribly and make me. Think everything I did was wrong. He vilified me, and i just kept trying to make him happy. He didn’t stop affair, her husband caught them. He wasn’t. Going to stop and through my detective work found out they were planning a romantic weekend. He fell. In love with her, how do i get over that? This woman is a serial cheater, swinger and attended sex clubs regularly. Still he continued and lucky me got two STDS. How do i get over that? I dont want to live like this, but i am haunted. He says he loves me and never stopped. How do I believe that when there have been so many lies?


Wife's 11yr Affair do know that it's harder on men than women to heal and forgive and forget, could have someone speak about what men go through. I'm ready leave my wife she through away 34 yrs of marriage, I found out this last September 2018 what she did regarding detail is totally in called for in my book . Hopefully you can help us men! Thank you


Curious why you say that it is harder on men than women to heal, forgive and forget?

Infidelity is so very hurtful to the faithful party, the lies, deceit and secrets are so hard to recover from. Affair recovery has helped me to see there is so much more to recovery than just forgiving and forgetting, I do recommend their hope for healing course to just give you a place to wrap your head around this terribly painful process.

This isn't a men and women thing

It's a betrayer and betrayed thing. If you do the 7 day boot camp you'll understand and isn't about what kind of man you are or woman she is but a deeper look into what kind of husband you are and could be. Look past what you've been and strive to be something more for your marriage.

What is Healing

Thank you for this segment as I’ve been struggling with trying to heal from my hysband’s Infidelity 2.5 years ago, a huge hurtful disclosure last fall, and an incident in April. I’m tired of it all, tired of the arguments, I just want to move on but don’t know how. What is the work I need to do to move forward?

Rick's email

I always read your emails. I am so thankful I came across your site. You are providing such a wonderful service for those that don't have the funds to sign up for your direct services.

I have learned and realized so much from you and your staff...especially Samuel. Remarkable videos...on spot...no holding back...truth.

I never realized I would be a statistics...never in 34 years did I think this would happen to me...I am a doer...a giver...a deep feeler...and wasn't enough. Which now I have learned...

I am enough. He just made a really poor choice.

I did not realize how many people do this to their loved ones. It amazes me...in this fallen world a sin is a sin no matter the degree, so I must forgive and as you say...take that risk and continue to live.

Thank you Rick

A Healing Statistic

Rick's email - What is Healing?

Dear "A statistic",

Thank you for your remarks. I can really relate to them. I am 9 months post D-day, although things trickled out for another 6 weeks. My spouse is doing the right things but I am struggling to heal. I, too, am so grateful for AR - the resources, videos, and programs. I am registered for the one-day seminar for betrayed spouses in October. This is a very rough course. I am 64 years old and did not expect to spend my retirement this way.

“A Satistic” ( Me Too - same age)

Dear “ A satistic,
I feel your struggles- I am in the very same situation. Very close to your age and recently also retired - NOT how I thought my retirement years would look - struggling to get through a day without some kind of emotional breakdown/flooding/tears/ and so much more. Coming up on the beginning of CS affair at the end of Sept. Of course I did not learn of it until the beginning of Nov 18 - sadly on “our” anniversary which I plan never to acknowledge again. It has been a year of pain and truly like a bad dream. Many days and weeks if not months I can barley account for to even remember much about them. If not for keeping a detailed calendar to help me clear some of the fog not sure if I would even remember most of this past year. I wish we could talk - sounds like we have several things in common and might be at least a support to each other. May Gods peace surround you and help you heal. I pray God helps us both. This is no way to live after years of hard work to try and just relax and have a little peace. Instead we are thrown into hell on earth through no fault of our own - I have even struggled with my faith wondering why God would allow this to happen - but I know the answer to that - my husband made the choices - he has taken ownership and is remorseful- begs for forgiveness - it’s been very hard on us both - I just have too much fear to trust again - too much hurt and anger to stop seeing him as the traitor that he was. I struggle everyday feeling that I don’t want to live this way. If I left him I would destroy his relationship with kids and grands. He would be left a very lonely old man with no one to care as he grows old. Not sure I would be happy alone - I do still love him and care for him - but life is nothing but miserable at this point almost a year in and 4 months since the latest DDay. May God help us all who struggle to heal the deep would inflicted because of selfishness and ego.


Exactly what WOrK and how. I am 84 he is 86. Where are we going at this age. We have been to 15 various councelors.
Psychiatrist 2 hypno thereapists, one narcisist specialist one united minister two psycho therapists/ We live in Canada. We do not have the priveledge of Affair recovery .I love the info I receive from you online but everything is geared for people who want to start again.I just want to get through this so I can die a peaceful death.He is 86 now. It happened in his 40's he just confessed 5 years ago.

I have been through the

I have been through the affair recovery programs and I dont find them to be geared toward starting over the programs are geared towards healing. They give the building blocks of healing which are empathy and forgiveness. It was nice hearing the stories of others and being able to relate and understand my situation through others. It does bring quite a bit of peace. There is a time you have to come to where you make a conscious decision to be at peace or let it ruin your life.

Re: Infidelity

I'm so sorry that you're having to endure this pain. I too am a betrayed spouse living in Canada. My husband took the Hope for Healing course online and it made a significant impact for him. If it's not financially feasible, you could apply for a scholarship with Affair Recovery. When my husband confessed he had been out of the physical affair for 5 years - but it hurt no less than if he had been actively deceiving me. We are 2 years past D day and we've both done a lot of counselling work, reading, talking and figuring out are problems. I can genuinely say the man I'm married to now is a much happier, well-adjusted loving man than he was before. And this has made bearing the pain of his affair easier. I hear your frustration... all counsellors are not created equal, and some just don't click with us. I hope you will continue to search for help and find the peace you deserve.

No. The choice is different

This will destroy your life. And destroy you too if you are betrayed. And when you are destroyed then you can choose. Stay that way. Or heal and live with a scars that are reminder that you are strong enough to handle them. And those scars from time to time will hurt. No matter how healed you will be. And that is the price of someone’s betrayal. Scars and strength.

What type of affair was it?

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