As past participants, we want our walks through infidelity to bring hope, inspiration, and courage to your own journey.
, 7 years 3 months ago

“If my husband ever cheated on me I’d leave him in a heartbeat.”

This is what one of our friends blurted out in reference to the news of some celebrity’s infidelity. The woman who made this comment didn’t know that I had been unfaithful to my wife. This was not the first time we heard someone say this – and it would not be the last.

It was early on in our recovery and this was a major trigger for my wife. My wife was flooded with a rush of emotions. Sadness. Fear. Panic. Along with being bombarded with these feelings, she was also deluged with questions:

  • Was she doing the right thing by trying to work things out with me?
  • Was I really earnest in my recovery?
  • Was I still lying to her?
  • Was my “recovery” just another deception like...
, 7 years 3 months ago

About two years into our marriage Wayne’s papa passed away. I will never forget going to his memorial service. After parking near the cemetery, we met his mom and grandma at their car and walked the rest of the way to the grave site with them. I remember the surprise I felt to see his grandma there since his papa had divorced her about 50 years before he had died. As we got closer to the tent where everyone was gathering, she began to get visibly uncomfortable. When we finally reached the small crowd she quietly announced that she wanted to stand in the back and urged the rest of us to sit in the seats that had been reserved for family to sit in. I had only met his papa once, but had spent quite a bit of time with his grandma, so I felt drawn to stay with her rather than follow Wayne...

, 7 years 3 months ago

I recently read a letter to the editor of a magazine that got my attention. It was written by a woman who was at the breaking point in her marriage. She described how she had spent many years working long hours at her job to the point of exhaustion, until one day when she came home to find her husband with her best friend. The quote that keeps running through my head went something like this: “While I worked myself to death, he was off having romantic flings. It just isn’t fair. Suddenly I realize what I am missing in life. I want to have the secret romantic get-away too. I want that thrill of hidden romance for myself.”

Reading her letter got me thinking about desire. Before we were born there were certain desires poured into us. One of the strongest of these is the desire to...

, 7 years 4 months ago

I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately. That happens to me from time to time and I am sure it’s nothing compared to what you must be going through. But what gets me is the advice I keep getting from well-meaning friends and family. If I wasn’t down, I’m sure some of it would be downright funny. So far I’ve been told to “get over it,” “quit my job,” “get rid of my stress” (that’s something I’d like to do, but I’m not sure life will cooperate), “turn my underwear inside out,” “cut lose and get drunk,” “relax more”…

And that’s just for a funk. The advice many of my clients have been given is far more outrageous.

So, in hopes of gaining perspective, we’re going to have a bad advice contest. Just post a few sentences about the worst advice you’...

, 7 years 4 months ago

I have previously shared how I chose to forgive Wayne out of a desire to protect my heart from the burden that unforgiveness brings. While deciding whether or not to forgive him, I sensed that withholding forgiveness was somehow very dangerous for me, so I chose to forgive. As easy as the words ‘I chose to forgive’ may sound, believe me, it was not at all easy. It was incredibly hard. Having said that though, I can now look back and see that as hard as it was, choosing to forgive my husband was not the hardest choice I had to make in the area of forgiveness. Oddly enough, it took more time and effort to forgive Wayne’s dad than it did to forgive Wayne himself. Forgiving his dad for the choices he had made during Wayne’s childhood, and the way they had affected both Wayne and our family...

, 7 years 4 months ago

Shortly after I chose to forgive Wayne, I began to hear several lies about what forgiveness is. Looking back, I can see that the enemy was aiming his arrows of shame at my heart by trying to get me to agree with his explanations of what I had chosen to do. His methods for delivering those arrows came in a variety of ways. Some of these lies were spoken directly to me by ‘helpful’ friends. Some I read in popular magazines. Other times the Liar would speak silently to my heart, painting a vivid (yet wrong) description of who I was, and what I had chosen to do.

The biggest lie that I heard was that I was living in denial. I saw this reaction on several people’s face when I told them that I had forgiven him. I was told that I was nuts and that he didn’t deserve it. Of course he...

, 7 years 4 months ago

I think it was the night after I had discovered Wayne’s betrayal that he asked to meet with me so we could talk. He said he had some things that he wanted to tell me in person. Hoping to get an answer to my biggest question -“why”- I agreed to meet with him. I did not get the answer to my question that night, but what I did get was more pieces to the puzzle. He told me how he had begun to act out sexually when he was 12, then filled in some details from that time to the present. There was a long silence that followed his revelation. As I was trying to make sense of everything that I had just learned he said, “I am so sorry. I know you will never be able to forgive me.”

Honestly, until he brought it up, the question of forgiveness had not entered my mind. I was in a state of...

, 7 years 4 months ago

I have a great Dad. When I was a little girl I looked forward to going to his boot repair shop so I could hang out with him all day long. I remember him being very busy, but never too busy to talk to me as he worked. One thing he told me on a regular basis was “take no prisoners”. His words keep coming back to me as I think about the recovery process that I went through as a betrayed spouse.

I have begun to see my marriage with Wayne as a union that the enemy wants to steal, kill, and destroy. If you will allow me, I would like to show you a picture of how I saw this played out.

When I discovered Wayne’s betrayals I received a very deep heart wound that required healing in a spiritual and emotional ICU. While I was receiving this intensive care, the enemy did not wait...

, 7 years 4 months ago

I have stared at the computer screen several minutes after writing the title, trying to think of the best way to approach this subject. After our period of separation, I remember the process of going back to being physically intimate was complicated and difficult for me. So many conflicting emotions. So many hopes, so many fears. Looking back, it occurs to me that the Keeper of my heart must have poured a double portion of protection over me as I waded into these deep waters. After being wounded my heart was extra sensitive, so it was easy for even a well-meaning friend to say something that would cause more harm than help. Thankfully though, healing words were also spoken to me during this part of my journey, so I was protected from any long-term issues that may have risen up from the...

, 7 years 4 months ago

Right after “D Day” I asked my wife for forgiveness.

I desperately wanted my wife to forgive me. I had sinned against her and deeply hurt her and now I wanted to make it all right. I wanted this horrendously terrible destructive episode in our lives to be behind us. I wanted to move on. I wanted her to say “I forgive you” and for her to mean it. I didn’t just want lip service; I earnestly wanted it to come from her heart. I wanted to turn the page on this chapter of our lives and move forward.

But that was what I wanted. I look back and see that so many of our problems were a result of what I wanted. I had made our marriage about me. And now I wanted her to forgive me. Again I was making it about what I wanted.

It was my fault that we were here...

, 7 years 5 months ago

Do you ever find yourself rewriting history? I know I did. I remember during the early stages of healing after discovery I spent a lot of time doing just that. I began looking back over our married life and second guessing what was ‘really’ going on. I remembered a few times when Wayne had come home later than expected. At the time I had thought that he had been in a wreck or some such equally tragic scenario, only to find him breezing in the front door, wondering why I was so frantic. He would tell me where he had been, and tell me not to be such a drama queen. I would feel a little silly, then we would go on with our day. As many of these moments came back to my mind I began to suspect that I had not been a drama queen at all, and that while he had indeed not been in a car wreck...

, 7 years 5 months ago

First off, I feel like I should clarify this by reminding everyone that I am not an expert on marriage. I am simply a girl who has been hurt by the man I love, and has been through the grief and healing process. By no means am I in any position to give advice on when one should stay or leave. All I can tell you is my experience and what I learned from it.

My first reaction when I found evidence of Wayne’s secret life was shock. I remember the room went black and I had trouble breathing. After about an hour of staring at the wall and gasping for breath, I had only one clear thought in my head - that I could not stay in the same house as my husband any longer. I remember being scared out of my ever-lovin’ mind because suddenly it became clear to me that the man I thought I was...

, 7 years 5 months ago

Upon hearing that statement from Rick one day, I about reached over hit him. I was stunned. “How Rick?” After I’ve caused so much damage and so much hurt and pain to both my wife Samantha and many other caught in the crosshairs, how can you say that this might be the best thing that’s ever happened to me?

With a whole lot more control, grace and wisdom, Rick simply replied “Think about how much more of an idiot you’d become if God didn’t reach into your life and save you from what you had created….how much more chaos and pain and hurt could have been caused if you weren’t exposed?”

He was right.

After 7 plus years, I have learned that I have indeed been rescued. The most painful, agonizing experience of my life, though caused by me and not anyone else, was the...

, 7 years 5 months ago

If someone had asked me to describe my life during the latter part of 2009, I would have undoubtedly described it as bad. The first six months following the discovery of my husband Wayne’s secret life was certainly the hardest six months of my life. I remember thinking that the depth of grief I was experiencing went much deeper than I had realized humans were capable of feeling. The sounds I heard coming out of my own mouth were sounds I had only heard a few times before. They were like the heart-wrenching sounds I had heard working in the hospital, like those of a momma as she held her sick child. Though I had witnessed several women’s deep level of grief on such an occasion, I had never felt it myself.

The darkness that surrounded me felt foreign and frightening. I found...

, 7 years 5 months ago

When going into battle you know that you need to prepare. You wear a helmet and armor. You have weapons and shields. You have a battle plan and fallback instructions. You have team mates who will stand at your side. First aid is standing by. You have a train of people providing support and encouragement. Marriage is a battle. We are faced with enemies and temptations on all sides. Pornography. Apathy. Easy divorce. Facebook. The media. We could go on and on.

On the other hand, the world would have us believe that marriage is 2 against the world; all romantic balconies in scenic locations. Heart fluttering, breathtaking, sweep you off your feet “lurve”. The enemy wants us to wing it and to follow our feelings. He wants you to believe the lies of the world. He wants you to...

, 7 years 5 months ago

When I first discovered my husband Wayne’s infidelities the first question I asked was “Why?” Why did he do this? Was it something lacking in me? What did they have that I didn’t? Why did he choose them over me? These torturous questions ran through my mind like a CD in the ‘repeat’ mode.

The friend who had been with me when I broke into Wayne’s email and discovered his secret life begged me to call the girl with whom he had been having an emotional affair. She thought that if we talked to his affair partner we would get the real story, or maybe even tell her that he was married and beg her to leave him alone. Had she been the only one with whom he had been unfaithful, I may have been tempted to think that my problem was with her. But during the week that followed my discovery...

, 7 years 5 months ago

This was one of the first questions my wife asked me after she found out about my infidelity – “Why?”

We had been married for 25 years, had two beautiful children, she had stayed at home with the kids when they were young, we were deeply involved in our church, we were active in the community, I had coached my kids’ soccer, basketball, and baseball teams, and we enjoyed each other’s company. Life seemed good. We did have our problems, but every couple does. That’s part of marriage. That’s part of life. But not every couple experiences infidelity. So why did I cheat?

It took a while for the chaos in my life, my spirit, and my mind to settle down before I was able to explore deeply why I cheated. Once I established some equilibrium and received good counsel, I was able to...

, 7 years 5 months ago

Recently Samantha and I were doing some “Vision Casting” in regards to the next season of our marriage and family. It’s been a great two month exercise, but last night we hit a point where we began to talk about our past and how it has shaped our marriage and life, now, almost 8 years later. The question was in regards to joy, pure joy in life as of a result of choices and life changing events and ultimately we came to the question of why people cheat?

I can tell you, I’ve made some choices that have wreaked havoc upon my life and countless others. I regret so many of those choices and their indelible mark on so many. Through much therapy and infidelity specific help, I’ve have come to be able to forgive myself, as well as others that affected my decision making process. But...

, 7 years 5 months ago

When was the last time you got up from your favorite chair after watching TV with that ‘I could take on the world’ feeling? You know what I mean - the feeling you get after watching Rudy or Braveheart. Now go back a little further in your memory… remember the first time you watched Sleeping Beauty? The prince who bravely fought the evil witch just so he could rescue the girl whom he had danced with ‘once upon a dream?’ Try to put aside any jaded feelings you may have for a moment so you can remember that feeling of pure joy you felt as you watched them dance into the credits.

Now I ask you, what in the world has gone wrong with television these days? Why must so much of it step on wounded hearts? I remember during the first year after discovery my mind would swirl into a storm...

, 7 years 5 months ago

Most everyone is familiar with “Survivor,” a reality show where 20 men and women try to “outwit, outlast, and outplay” each other. This is done by physical ability, intelligence, and sometimes by deception and deceit. In other words one of the ways to succeed is to be “evil”.

The latest season ended last Sunday and of the last 3 contestants, one used every “evil” tactic possible to get to the finals. In the final vote the contestants got to choose who they think was best at “outwitting, outlasting and outplaying” the other finalists. The “evil” player was chosen in last place due to his tactics and strategy. The winner was chosen because she was “less evil” than the other finalists. All the jury members had been affected directly by the “evil” tactics and strategy.


, 7 years 5 months ago

Somewhere along the way I just gave up and figured Samantha was going to be a great mother but a terrible wife. In my mind, I was left to satisfy my personal, emotional and sexual needs elsewhere. Although a harsh statement, it reveals my utter selfishness several years ago.

At least that’s what I had told myself to justify my affair. After all, that’s why people cheat: because they can’t get their spouse to care about their needs. So after a while, they just go elsewhere. I tried to control the affair, and keep my affair partner at a distance throughout different seasons and times. But really, all I did was have moments of clarity, regret, and shame which would force me to have to confront how wrong my choices and behavior was. Yet it didn’t stop.

I think many people...

, 7 years 5 months ago

Why do spouses cheat? As I said in part one, this question became a big deal for me during the immediate aftermath that followed the discovery of my husband Wayne’s secret life. While it was important for me to realize I had made agreements with false ideas as to why a person cheats, it was also equally important for me to learn the real reasons why this occurs, and ultimately why he had cheated on me.

My “ah-ha” moment came fairly early in counseling when Wayne began to describe his life as it was when he was eleven years old. His parents were emotionally detached from him because they were dealing with the broken pieces of their own relationship after his Mom had caught his Dad with another woman. Wayne was basically sent outside early in the morning and told not to return...

, 7 years 5 months ago

‘Why do spouses cheat’ is not a question that I spent much, if any, time considering before I discovered that I had been betrayed. If the question happened to randomly float through my mind, I assumed the reasons were some of those that I had heard others come up with over the years. I had heard that one of the reasons is due to ‘falling out of love’ with one’s spouse and ‘into love’ with someone else. I had also heard that it happened after the couple had grown apart, or that it was due to a lack of needs being met. Another commonly accepted reason I had heard was that spouses cheat simply because they are bad, so they selfishly choose to make decisions based only on what is best for themselves.

‘Why do spouses cheat’ may not have been a common topic in my thought life, but...

, 7 years 5 months ago

One reason why people cheat is what I like to call “conscience searing”.

Bob and Cindy had great childhoods. They grew up in loving families with strong religious and moral backgrounds; neither got into any serious trouble and both excelled at school. They met each other in college. Bob was a business major and Cindy was interested in History. They grew closer through the college years and before they knew it Bob had popped the question to Cindy at the Cardinals baseball game. A joyful wedding and a wonderful honeymoon followed. They were madly in love and nothing would ever come between them. Things were good in the early years. They were best friends. Their sex life was exciting and satisfying. They had great jobs and great friends.

After a few years they decided it...

, 7 years 6 months ago

A few weeks ago I began a series on why people cheat. Obviously that topic required me to go back to those early years and explore how I got there. Before my fall, I’d have been the guy wondering what type of guy would cheat on his wife. “Thank God I’m not like that,” I’d tell myself as I worked with couples where someone had strayed. My self-righteousness and arrogance now seems repulsive. To me back then it was simply a matter of being better than that.

Today as I look back. I’m astounded by how distorted my thinking became as I plummeted into my affair. I deceived myself into thinking I was a “good guy” for "helping" my affair partner. I somehow deceived myself into thinking I was acting in her best interest by giving her the attention she so desperately needed from her...

, 7 years 6 months ago

A couple of nights ago, David and I were sitting in an ice cream shop enjoying a quiet end to a beautiful evening when I noticed the song playing in the background. It was Johnny Cash singing, “Because you’re mine, I walk the line.” It’s been two and half years since D-day. Still, as I listened to the lyrics there it was again, that nagging question with no good answers. “So, why didn’t you?” I asked for what was probably the ten thousandth time. He didn’t have to ask me what I was talking about. Why didn’t he walk the line and remain faithful to me? And, like ten thousand times before he shook his head sadly and said, “I don’t know. I wish I did.” Whether you’re the betrayer or the hurt spouse, trying to understand why people cheat can be an infinity loop trapping you in an endless...

, 7 years 6 months ago

When I was a little girl I began what was to become a life-long love for allegories. I loved reading stories that let me discover the story behind the story. One of my favorites was entitled Tales of the Kingdom. In a nutshell, it is about an enchanter that ruled over a city where he made everyone sleep in the day and work at night because he was jealous of the light that the sun gave off. The people who lived in his city felt hopeless. There were a few people though who remembered the good, kind King who had ruled the city before it was put under the enchanter’s spell. They would quietly tell their friends that the King was now living in the forest outside the city, and that if they dared to escape the enchanter they could go there to live in freedom with him. The enchanter had...

, 7 years 6 months ago

Jim’s son Bobby just spilled chocolate milk on the carpet. Jim just cleaned the carpets last week. Jim is very upset. He loses his cool and yells and screams at Bobby. Bobby cowers in fear from his dad. Later Jim justifies his actions by saying “I have a temper” “I’m just like that”.

Suzie is scheduled to meet her friends at church at 10:00 am. At 9:55 Suzie is still putting her makeup on. Suzie shows up 10 minutes late. Her friends know Suzie is always late and are starting to get upset about her lack of consideration. Suzie says “I lost track of time” “I’m just like that”.

Bob has been married to Brenda for 11 years. Their sex lives have cooled since the...

, 7 years 6 months ago

I was initially surprised when my wife, Jill, said this to me. She had just shared some of the deep pain she was experiencing as a result of my infidelity. It had been a number of months since “D-Day” and we had been working through rebuilding the marriage that I had torn down through my infidelity.

I understood that the affair was 100% my fault. I was not confused about that. But I was confused by what she had just said. I thought it was about me – about how I had betrayed her, how I had broken our wedding vows, how I had deeply hurt her, how I had ripped her heart in two.

There was silence as she stared at me. And then it came to me.

She was talking about how she was feeling – not what I had done. She was not sharing her hurt so that I could confess my sin....

, 7 years 6 months ago

I think one of the cruelest feelings an already wounded and betrayed heart can experience is shame. Shame has an incredible ability to cripple even the strongest of us. Looking back, I can see how I was very kindly shielded from a large portion of it early on. Starting about two days after I discovered my husband Wayne’s infidelities, several discerning and godly men told me that his actions outside of our marriage had nothing to do with me. I think they actually went out of their way several times during those first few weeks after discovery to reiterate the fact that I had not caused Wayne to ‘act out.’ I am still very grateful to them for standing in the gap for me during that time.

As comforting as it was to have them speak that truth to me, I suspect the biggest canopy of...