Rick’s recent article, found here: http://affairrecovery.com/newsletter/founder/infidelity-and-transition-stages-the-mystery-of-change, is brilliant, but poignant for both sides of the affair. It’s relatively easy to understand why a betrayed spouse would need to grieve. After all, life will never be the same again, and life has been changed forever. It’s not un-repairable, but the fact remains, understanding why the betrayed spouse would grieve is rather easily comprehensible.
Grieving for the unfaithful is paramount as well. For me, I had to grieve for what my affair did to Samantha and also what it had done to so many other...
I’ve written on relapse before, but today I’d like to ask the question, which so many ask which is, whether or not relapse is inevitable? I will tell you there are varying, differing opinions on it for sure and I’m not sure that I think anyone is per se the expert on relapse besides maybe Rick Reynolds.
Some say it’s absolutely inevitable. If they cheated, they will eventually cheat again, but in what degree or what stage is what is undeterminable, and the best you can do is shore up their recovery plan, and the betrayed spouse’s recovery plan, and hope for the best.
Some say, no, not necessarily. That a good, strong, recovery process is what will prevent them from falling again and there is hope of it never happening again.
Many times during our discussions early on in the recovery process, even after we met Rick by the way, anger was a normal part of our lives. We were smart to never let it fully unleash in front of the kids who were pretty young at the time, but it was there: simmering….waiting for a chance to manifest.
It wasn’t uncommon for me to get angry when Samantha wanted to talk about it. I didn’t always show it, but internally, I was about to burst. I don’t know if anger was the most definitive term, but perhaps better, more descriptive words would be short, trite and borderline uncooperative.
I genuinely felt terrible about what I did. I felt like I was a complete failure and had let down so many, including myself. Let’s face it; I did...
During the very first few weeks after disclosure, Samantha and I were dealing with a hellish situation. I can’t go much into it, but there came a time that Samantha was convinced I was lying about a few key details. I had lived a lie for about two years now, and for the first time, I was in fact coming clean with all the details.
Somewhere along the way though, it came to critical mass and she was convinced I was not being honest about the truth regarding some pretty far off allegations and rumors. She devised a bit of a plan to trick me into telling the truth and she set me up. Yes she was grasping, and yes she was desperate, so looking back I don’t fault her at all. Back then, that was a different story as I was far from healthy...
It’s a common understanding; we just don’t want to talk about what makes us feel uncomfortable or ashamed. We certainly don’t want to talk about our failures, unless we’ve experienced a great deal of healing for those failures. Early on in our recovery, I made the mistake of saying to Samantha several times “Let’s not talk about this anymore. Let’s start over, move on, and save us!”
What a great heart’s intent right? Who wouldn’t love that? Sounds sincere enough right?
What I thought I was conveying was “I want to be with you, and I’m willing to work on the marriage at all costs.” But what I was conveying was, as long as we don’t talk about the affair or how I failed and I am ready to get...
If you were to meet me about 8 years ago, I’d tell you I was a completely different person. More importantly, my wife Samantha who is probably the best judge of what type of a person I was and am now, will tell you, she had a special cuss word for me. It’s not uncommon that we’ll have a jovial moment together in the kitchen or in bed where she’ll say I’m so glad you’re not the ******* you used to be, and I’ll reply with I’m so glad you’re not the ***** you used to be either. And we’ll laugh pretty hysterically. I know, for some of you in crisis right now, it’s a reach. But if we can get there I’m quite sure you can too.
Now I don’t recommend this banter without incredible healing and restoration for...
I’ll never forget a lunch I was having with a couple who eventually became like mentors to Samantha and I. Samantha wasn’t there but I was venting a bit and talking to them very openly about my anger and bitterness and unmet needs which I felt led to the affair in the first place.
They listened and graciously I might add. I say graciously, as the fact is, I’m not quite sure how they stomached my deception and lunacy. But finally, he had had enough add said, “Samuel, are you done yet?”
Laughingly I said, “Oh, yes, I’m sorry” and chuckled.
It was at this moment that he led me by the hand and took me to the proverbial woodshed of sobriety and awareness of what an idiot (to put it lightly) I was...
Samantha prayed for years for our situation to change. Sadly, it never would till that obscure day, several years ago in August. Life would come crashing down in an instant. Life as we knew it would be radically changed not just overnight but forever.
Friends, relationships, our house, income, you name it: gone overnight after being exposed.
Our situation was dysfunctional at best and was riddled with deception, justification, codependency, blindness and turmoil. No different than many, if not all of you, I’m quite sure.
I’ll never forget one day when Samantha was talking in Rick’s office and she began to weep and say, “I had prayed for change for years, but didn’t want it to come this way……but I’m forever...
If there is one thing we have learned through this mess that we have to keep going back to each year, it’s the concept of prioritization. No, this is not going to be a self-help post, or a menial approach to six steps to peace, etc. etc. It’s more about seeing the world and seeing the situation through the right lens of prioritization.
Let’s face it. My affair, and possibly yours, happened due in large part to me making everything else, and everyone else, a priority except my spouse. Work came first, people’s needs came first, my affair partner came first, and even my kids came first. Samantha was dead last in terms of genuine concern, focus and attentiveness. My boss and his family even had priority over her in many ways.
When we allow life to get...
Wikipedia defines courage as is the ability to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty, or intimidation.
There’s a school of thought that says it takes raw courage to move on from an affair and pursue life on your own without your spouse. The intimidation alone of heading out into the next chapter of your life or family without your spouse requires courage, and a willingness to stare fear in the face and move forward. This transition in life simply cannot be underscored enough.
However, it takes just as much courage (and some would say more) to face infidelity or addiction, and still choose to pursue your marriage while it’s enveloped in ashes and uncertainty. While there are many cases when a spouse is unwilling to make changes, or turn from their affair...
Along the road of recovery there will be immense frustration. Frustration at your spouse, frustration at circumstances, and hopefully, yes I said hopefully, frustration at even yourself.
I hate to be a downer but if you think recovery and the pursuit of restoration is always this joyous, redemptive season of renewed love and compassion, I'm sorry but it's far from that. If you also think you can go back to business as usual, friend, you are sadly mistaken. You and your spouse have just experienced great turmoil and destruction, and life doesn't just pick up and move right back on. (side note: life doesn't bow down to a desire to recovery either. Kids still fight, bills still come, sickness still happens, and peripheral drama amongst loved ones, family and work all...
I’ll never forget when the leaders of the organization I worked for during my affair practically bribed Samantha to divorce me when it all came out. Some of these executives, if you will, were friends of mine for about 10 years who had been through all kinds of life experiences together, all to see them completely turn on me, my wife, and even my kids. They had helped dedicate and baptize my kids. They had been there with me at my greatest accomplishments. I had helped them in their greatest times and their worst times. Instead of rallying behind me, they ran away as fast as they could, considered me dead and even had personal funerals for our relationship. True story!
Through a few sources I also heard they said my wife, Samantha, was “mentally off” for being willing to...
Many, who fall, including myself, will confess to eventually feeling like a slave to the affair partner or addiction. Before we know it, what once was an adrenaline filled endeavor, full of excitement and dark, thrilling passion, eventually becomes slavery. The elation and electricity of it all, fades, then slowly but surely turns to dread, regret, and sometimes even disdain. Disdain for ourselves, the affair partner and even our spouse. As we continue in our duplicity, the shame and condemnation become overwhelming and we find it seemingly impossible to break out of the pattern we’ve created. Quite honestly, we walk right into where we end up. Somewhere along the way of life, we made a group of small, seemingly unimportant decisions, which slowly but every so surely...
This week, I thought I’d take a moment out of Jesus’s life and share a unique perspective. Even if you’re not a Christian, or perhaps even angry at God for what you’re dealing with, I get it. I most certainly do. But I hope you’ll keep reading as I think there are some good points in here to still ponder, even if you do not subscribe to a Christian worldview at all.
Anyone under the weight of recent infidelity (whether betrayed or betrayer) or even addiction can relate to the words of Jesus, when He uttered in John 12: 27-28 "My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, `Father, save Me from this hour'? But for this purpose I came to this hour. "Father, glorify Your name."Infidelity will do more than just trouble our families and our souls. Yet the...
Early on in recovery it was ugly. Everything seemed like it was my fault. No matter what happened it would eventually be tied to the fact that I had an affair. It was a painful way to live. Looking back even my wife Samantha would tell you that most things ended up being my fault. It wasn’t accurate but Samantha was in so much pain, and flooding so quickly, it was hard not to put it all on me.
If we were going to heal it was going to have to be that way for a short time. Let’s just be honest: I had a two year affair. The fact that I had to go through some emotional pain and hurt and even some ‘shaming’ from my Samantha, is not that big of a deal when you consider the bigger picture. If we are going to compare which sin is worse, I will win every time. When I talk to spouses who...
Quite often when I talk to couples in crisis due to infidelity, one of their paramount questions is, can it ever be the same again?
Honestly, my answer is a frank, but delicate, NO, it will never be the same again.
But I immediately follow up with, “But why would you want to go back to what you had, when you’ve now discovered (or come clean about) what you then had was a lie?” Why would we want to go back to the settings which allowed for and created the affair in the first place? It’s a harsh answer I know.
Don’t get me wrong….before you push send on that ‘leave a comment’ button, I’m never going to say that the affair was the betrayed spouses fault. It’s just not that easy, or realistic, or true. But what I do want to communicate is the infidelity has ruined...
"I can't make you NOT have another affair. If you're going to cheat, you're going to cheat."
About a year or so into recovery, Samantha very calmly told me those words in Rick's office. I immediately saw Rick's eyes light up, followed by a gentle smile that showed Rick was very pleased with the new insight Samantha had arrived at.
It was a significant moment for her, to realize she needed to let go, trust God and even trust me (in developing levels of progression) that if I was ever going to have another affair, she in her own power couldn't prevent it.
After all, I was a great liar. If I want to, I still can be.
The difference is - I don't want to.
And I don't have to.
Samantha realized that if I wanted to have another affair I could,...
A toxic response mechanism in recovery will always be defensiveness. Defensiveness communicates to the betrayed spouse that we don't "get it", are not sorry or empathetic over what we've done and that we're just not safe in general.
Just recently Samantha and I had a significant breakdown over some financial decisions I had made in the past, and I quickly became both angry and defensive. I felt as though my decisions were the best that could have been made at the time of the recession, and that if she truly understood the entire picture she would have made the same decision. To be reminded of her interpretation, time and time again, upset me pretty significantly. Now, several years removed from my affair, I remembered I needed to take stock of my emotions and ask myself why I...
If there was one issue that was probably one of most difficult issues for me to overcome personally, it was shame. I was truly ashamed of what I had done and how I had hurt both Samantha and so many other lives. There was, however, a bit of a time release to my shame though and you'll probably only understand this if you are an unfaithful spouse. What I mean is it didn't hit me all at once. If it did I think I would have ended it all. Were it not for my kids I think one night I would have committed suicide with all the sobriety that began to come crashing down around me. Don't worry, that's not a cry for you to feel sorry for me, it's just a bit of a window into the mind of the unfaithful.
As the days and weeks would go by, and as we began to get the right kind of help, the...
It's been several years since my affair was disclosed and life took a turn for what felt like the end. Almost every time Rick writes an article it hits me in one way or another. This newest one was no exception. The fact is, time doesn't permit me to share the enormous litany of reasons why, if anyone shouldn't have been having an affair, it was me.
If anyone was in a position of authority, integrity, and alleged impeccable character, it was me. Yet, the numbers of people affected by my moral failure (more like moral disaster) is no short list, and to this day lives still show the residue of a leader who failed them and left a sea of disoriented lives a drift, looking for direction and hope.
Today I'd like to talk about how I disengaged from my moral compass and...
Not too long ago, Samantha and I were having an incredibly difficult time. If you're on this site, and have gone through this nightmare which necessitates recovery, when I say an incredibly difficult time,' I know you know what I mean. I felt like I just couldn't win and couldn't gain any ground. To say I was frustrated is a severe understatement.
Looking back, what I truly was feeling was hopelessness. Walking out your recovery from infidelity (or your spouse's infidelity) can seem impossible. It can also seem as though nothing you do works, no action taken produces any fruit, and no matter what road you take it just never goes the way you want it to go. It's a toxic combination of anger, bitterness and frustration and it can lead you to a place of "Why even try???"
Not too long ago, I was talking with a therapist who explained to me what it means for a couple to relapse. I was immediately thrown for a bit of a loop when I heard him say that even the betrayed spouse can relapse. It basically boils down to not doing what both spouses did early on in their recovery. If you're a betrayed spouse reading this, I can hear your blood boiling, but please let me finish before you get too angry with me.
Now, does it mean the betrayed spouse has an affair of their own? NO, absolutely not. Nor does it mean that the unfaithful spouse has another affair. It also is not meant to suggest that the affair was the betrayed spouse's fault in the first place.
What it does apply to though is allowing old behaviors and old mannerisms and old ways of...
Rick’s newest article once again, kicked me right in the teeth. Let me quote from it briefly, and if you’d like to read the whole thing, you can go here to read it:
(To have an affair) “Deceive yourself into believing you’re as wonderful as your Emotional Affair Partner sees you to obtain maximum benefit from your new found relationship. Always believe the lie that they’re better than your mate and that you’d have been far better off if you’d married them. Marriage partners are the makeup mirrors of our lives. They highlight every flaw and blemish. Emotional Affair Partners are vanity mirrors. We look amazing in their eyes. Approval seeking requires we...
Looking back upon my affair, and the justification of my affair, I can now see how blind I was. It’s neither an excuse nor a justification, as I did what I did and it’s no one’s fault by my own. But I was blind to so much, and in hindsight I can see just how that blindness fueled my actions and behavior. My blindness is what helped to enable the complete selfishness and self-absorption that had taken my life captive. What helped to keep me in my affair were both the emotional AND sexual components working together to what I thought would meet my needs, when in reality all it did was fuel the monster. But what was I blind to, you may ask. Well, here’s a list and it is by no means exhaustive:
A few months ago my husband Wayne and I were laying on the hammock in the back yard enjoying a rare quiet evening together. I remember it being an unusually still evening, so much so that we could hear cars rushing by on the highway near our home. After about half an hour of relaxing and talking, the peaceful setting was disrupted by a horrible crashing sound. I was so surprised my armpits itched! (I realize this is probably an over-share, but what can I say… my armpits itch when I am scared.) My back was turned to the tree that had fallen, so I had no idea what had caused the unexpected noise. Hardly daring to breathe I whispered, “Fireworks?” Wayne shook his head no. “Pecan Tree” was all he said, but I could hear the disappointment in his voice. When we bought our land a few years...
My affair was both emotional and physical. When asked which was worse, I'm not really sure what Samantha would leverage as the worst side of it. It was highly sexually charged, but we also communicated and worked together every day and the emotional component was off the chart.
It deepens the pain I feel for what I have put Samantha through, as it was a "double whammy," if you will, of both emotional and physical intimacy. The pain has been immense, but with the right methods and help, time, and the absolute grace of God we have healed in ways I never thought possible.
A new understanding about my past has helped me to live with a new approach. I call it "Living in Light of What I've Done." What I mean is, I understand my propensity to be, as Rick would say, a human...
Somewhere along the way, I remember coming to the painful yet life-changing realization that everything I wanted was here in my marriage; I just didn't see it or recognize it. It was a 'painful' realization as it only reinforced the personal shame I felt for allowing the affair to happen in the first place. Keep in mind, shame says I am something bad, when guilt, grief, or conviction simply says I've done something wrong and there is a country mile of difference between the two perspectives my friends.
I had let life, kids, marriage, ministry pressures and all sorts of less important things get in the way of taking care of what was supposed to be most important all along, and it was no one’s fault but my own.
While last week I talked about restoring and reconnecting...
At its worst, endeavoring to reconnect physically after my affair was nothing short of a cauldron of exhaustion and frustration. However, when we were able to sift through the wreckage and actually re-engage, the joy and elation and reward that would result is almost indescribable. If you too are dealing with this type of pain and in the middle of this process, believe me when I say Samantha and I have been there before and feel your pain.
Though we are not there anymore, we still remember the agonizing chore it was to communicate through the hurt. For several years now we have enjoyed a wonderfully rich sexual relationship with little to no residue of the past. We never knew it was going to be as hard as it was to reengage, till we got right in the middle of the process and...
If I had to pinpoint one issue of our recovery that was the most difficult to overcome, it would have to have been our sex life. My affair was highly emotional and highly sexual from the start and sharing the details with Samantha was gut wrenching for her. She was the type of spouse that didn't want to know all the intricate details of it all, but wanted to know the general truths about what went on, what we did, what we didn't do, and for how long. My situation was extremely unique as I had to give up specifics to the situation with absolute clarity as there were some individuals coming to corroborate my story the next day.
My affair had been very public, with an unfortunately large audience, and it only added to the shame and embarrassment for both Samantha and myself. If I...
When I was a little girl I received a lot of forgiveness. Somehow at a young age I discovered that if I confessed what I had done wrong before I got caught, my parents were much less upset with me than if I waited to be discovered. So I told on myself often. After a while I began to do it more out of a desire to be free from the guilt than from a desire to receive a more lenient punishment. I really cannot begin to imagine how many times I went through the process of doing something wrong, feeling terrible, telling on myself, then being forgiven.
While I cannot count the number of times I received forgiveness, I can say for sure that it was enough, because when I found myself in the position of a betrayed spouse I was able to reach deep into my heart and find enough forgiveness...
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Alumnus. Unfaithful. Doing his best with his 2nd chance in his marriage and life.
Alumna. Member, EMS Weekend Retreat Team. Hope and healing are possible for anyone willing to work through the pain.
Alumna. Betrayed. Striving to recover and thrive after betrayal. I believe gratitude is the antidote to grief. If I can help you in your healing, therein lies my own.
Alumnus. Betrayed. Trying to find his way back.
Alumna. Unfaithful. A broken and undeserving mess who is learning what real love looks like.
Alumna. Betrayed. Determined to be positive as I navigate the quagmire of recovery.
Alumna. Betrayed. A soul restored. Encouraging others to keep walking because there is a way through. Author of Keep Walking: 40 Days to Hope and Freedom After Betrayal
Alumna. Betrayed. Grateful for God's love and grace. Recognizing that with God as my priority, I will be okay no matter what.
Alumnus. Betrayed. No matter how long it takes or how hard it is, my wife is always worth it!
Alumna. Betrayed. Learning to love recklessly while I cross the monkey bars of recovery.
"You have to let go at some point in order to move forward." - C.S. Lewis
Alumna. Betrayed. Walking in obedience to God's direction and experiencing a richer life and Renewed marriage.
Alumnus. Unfaithful. Living life differently, enjoying my wife and family, and grateful for God’s love.
Alumna. Betrayed. Experiencing God's love after divorce. Celebrating the healing of myself and my identity.
Alumna. Betrayed. Continuing to fight for my marriage and my children.
Alumnus. Unfaithful. Living proof that seeking truth offers both incredible pain and amazing freedom.