Triggers Triggers are typically associated with the betrayed spouse. Research shows that early in recovery, the betrayed spouse encounters between 75 and 110 different reminders of the affair every day. They can be incapacitating and overpowering, making it almost impossible for hurt spouses to reclaim any stable ground. Samantha encountered thousands of reminders, and the courage and perseverance it took to press through them was monumental. The good news is they do dissipate over time and they can be diffused when you get the right kind of help. (Harboring Hope was a great asset for Samantha.) Unfaithful spouse, when you are aware of your mate encountering a reminder, choose humility and own the moment as an immediate first step. Something that worked for me was to actually go to Samantha (not retreat, which was one of my biggest obstacles) and approach her saying something like “Listen, I know that was probably a huge reminder to you. I’m so sorry it was and I’m so sorry that you even have reminders. It’s my fault and I’m forever sorry for that. You have these reminders due to my choices and I’ll do all I can to help you with them. They are my fault, not yours.” Then I would reinforce my love for her and my desire to be only with her. Often times she was too angry and hurt to even talk, but when she did open up and allow for a moment to talk, I was able to share those thoughts. Yet, here’s an example of a reminder. One day Samantha read an email from a business client I was trying to close. I wrote something that was simply incorrect word choice. Samantha stumbled upon it and read only a few words and became incredibly upset. My response (when she cooled down) was, “Honey, you can read any and all of my email. I don’t have any feelings for her at all, and it wasn’t the best use of words. If you’d like to call her, email her, or have me contact her or not even try to have her business, I’m fine with that. I’ll do whatever you want or need me to do. The goal is not her business, but saving our family.” Though she was triggered and upset for a few hours, she would later tell me my response to her reminder was one of the main factors that helped diffuse the reminder and helped her find balance again rather than letting it fester. Our response to their hurt and their pain can help dissipate the anguish and despair. How we handle it when THEY are triggered due to OUR past choices will set the course for healing or for collateral damage. What’s funny is, I started to write today about how even the unfaithful can be triggered, and the timeline associated with rejection and insecurity. Oddly enough, my own timeline seems unimportant today. Perhaps next time I’ll write about how the unfaithful can be triggered as well.