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

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...

, 9 years 7 months ago

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...

, 9 years 8 months ago

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...

, 9 years 8 months ago

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...

, 9 years 8 months ago

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...

, 9 years 8 months ago

A very dear friend recently shared the story of her crumbling marriage with me. She told me that her husband had come home one day and told her that he no longer felt anything toward her and was going to move out. A few weeks later he filed for divorce. My heart ached for her as she shared with me her feelings of confusion and abandonment. She said she felt used up and discarded. When her husband had originally moved out she had held onto hope for reconciliation, but with each passing day that hope got fainter as she faced the end of a part of her life that she had thought would be there forever. My heart breaks for her a little bit more every day as I watch her go through the motions of a dance she never signed up for. She had dreamed of forever, but for reasons completely out of her...

, 9 years 8 months ago

When my wife found out about my affair, I was quick to repent and do what was necessary to reconcile and make amends. One of the principles I learned from Affair Recovery was that I needed to be totally honest. That means every time my wife asked a question, I was to answer it truthfully.

Now this was new behavior since I had been lying for over a year. It was very hard to tell her some of the details of my deception. And yet, I understood that if I was going to rebuild trust, I needed to do so. And so I answered her every question – no matter what it was.

It seemed like all the questions were difficult since every answer revealed what a self-centered, self-involved, low-life scumbag I had been. But the truth was the truth and now I was choosing a different path. And so...

, 9 years 9 months ago

When I talk to people who are thinking about pursuing recovery, many times they ask me if wanting to stay just for the kids is actually enough. Adamantly, I almost always agree with a resounding “YES, it is.” It may be imperfect motivation, but it’s motivation enough. It’s an impetus to get one or both spouses into specialized help, to see if the marriage can be saved. In fact, sometimes it’s the best motivation, as our feelings fail us quite often and on any given day we can feel so much differently about our spouse. It’s just not worth trusting emotion. Especially in the middle of absolute chaos and emotional trauma, to use our feelings for any sort of rudder is to everyone’s detriment. However, with our kids, short of some disappointments here and there, our concern and love for...

, 9 years 9 months ago

I was 18 when I started college and began studying to be a respiratory therapist. I was a young 18. I had lived a very purposefully sheltered life as a home-schooled girl, so there were a lot of thoughts and ideas that I ran across while in college that I had never heard while growing up.

I will never forget the first day I was in a clinical rotation at one of the local hospitals. About half way through the day I turned to the therapist who had been assigned to mentor me and said, “This is a great day!” She gave me a look of sheer horror and said, “What are you doing to me? Don’t you know not to say that? Quick! Knock on wood!” At my look of confusion she followed it up with, “And don’t say it is quiet either. All hell will break loose.” I soon discovered that just about...

, 9 years 10 months ago

How can you go through “the happiest time of the year” after having your world destroyed by the revelation of infidelity? How can you celebrate the birth of Jesus when all you feel like doing is mourning the death of your marriage? Is it even possible to have some sense of a Merry Christmas when triggers abound and all you feel is pain and misery?

These were all questions that plagued my wife, Jill, as we headed into the holiday season after I had admitted to my year-long affair on October 1. We had gone to the EMS Retreat the first weekend of December and I felt like we had received some great coaching. We both wanted to believe what they told us – that we could experience healing over time if we practiced recovery principles.

However, that didn’t change the fact that...

, 9 years 10 months ago

What would you think if I told you that you hold the power of life and death in the words that you speak? Would it come as a surprise to you? Think back to when you were growing up. Perhaps a parent or teacher saw a quality in you that they praised, such as: “You are a kind-hearted friend.” Hearing their praise spoke truth into your heart, encouraging you to be that much more kind and friendly. On the other hand, maybe you remember hurtful words: “You are so much bigger than your sister. All you want to eat is junk food.” These hurtful words have the ability to follow a person all the way into their adulthood, making food and weight a lifelong struggle.

Words don’t just hold power over us when we are kids; they affect us as adults as well. I did not understand how much power...

, 9 years 10 months ago

When my affair became public, many so called “Advisors” came out of the woodwork, as they say. To this day, I still shake my head at some of the things that were said to me and to my wife Samantha, about me, my future, our marriage, our family, and my overall mental health. Looking back now, until we actually found a couple that would help support and lead us, as well as Rick Reynolds here at Affair Recovery, all of them gave us ridiculous advice or assessments of what they thought needed to happen or had genuinely happened to us. I don’t think one of them really acted in love at all, but more out of shock and disappointment from the events they heard had happened. What did in fact happen was truly heinous and grievous. Yet, the gross rumors and wicked gossip about this untruth and...

, 9 years 11 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 my affair? Was she being stupid for...
, 9 years 11 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...

, 9 years 11 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...

, 9 years 11 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’ve been given about infidelity....

, 9 years 11 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...

, 9 years 11 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...

, 9 years 11 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...

, 9 years 12 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...

, 10 years 1 day 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...

, 10 years 1 day 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. The very fact...

, 10 years 1 week 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...

, 10 years 1 week 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...

, 10 years 2 weeks 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...

, 10 years 2 weeks 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...

, 10 years 3 weeks 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...

, 10 years 3 weeks 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...

, 10 years 3 weeks 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...

, 10 years 3 weeks 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...

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