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...
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...
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.
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...
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...
‘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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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 honeymoon period. Brenda doesn’t have...
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....
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...
During my healing process that followed the discovery of my husband’s betrayal, there were several things that he did to help make me feel safer in my relationship with him. I shared these things in part one. Today, I want to share the changes that took place in my own heart that allowed me to reopen it to him.
The main thing that stands out in my mind when I look back on that time is where I chose to put my focus. During the eight years of our marriage before discovery, I assumed that nothing hurtful would ever occur in our relationship simply because in my mind ‘Wayne would never do anything to hurt me.’ So what did I have to worry about? I trusted him.
After I found evidence of his betrayal I was not only deeply hurt by his actions, but also had lost all trust in him...
It’s on the television, in the movies, in the news, on the internet, in the papers; infidelity is everywhere. Infidelity has always been around, but we live in a time when we have access to more information than ever before. And it seems that many find infidelity entertaining or newsworthy. Of course - I don’t and I am sure that anyone reading this doesn’t either.
Infidelity is horrible and destructive and I wish that the world would just shut up and allow us to work on our recovery without constant reminders, harsh judgments, and really really really bad advice. Let the experts who know what they are talking about give their wisdom and speak the truth (like the people at AR). The last place we will find sound counsel about recovery is in theatres or late night talk shows....
I have recently discovered the fun of Pinterest. I am still a little unsure of how to pin any random thing off of the web onto my board, so for now I have to be content browsing other people’s boards and repining interesting items that they have already gathered.
This afternoon as I was scanning through a friend’s board I found this quote to which she had added the comment “so true”:
It has been said that time heals all wounds.
I do not agree. The wounds remain.
In time the mind, protecting its sanity
covers them with scar tissue
and the pain lessons.
but it is never really gone.
My eyes were glued on her words for a good couple of minutes letting them sink in, feeling the weight of the sadness that she must...
I cannot think of much that will break down communication quicker than losing trust. When I first learned of Wayne’s secret life our conversations got a little ‘strained,’ to put it lightly. One minute I didn’t want to talk to him at all. The next I had a half a dozen questions that I wanted answers to. During the first month or so of our separation he would send me a text at night that would say something like, ‘If you want to talk tonight, call me. Otherwise goodnight.’ I appreciated this because it let me know that he was open to talking, but not being pushy about it. This left me free to talk or not, depending on where I was emotionally.
After we were a couple of months into recovery I began to worry about him relapsing into his old lifestyle. When I would ask him how he...
I am a liar. I have lied all my life. .
For much of my life, my lies had to do with my inner world. That is, what I was thinking or feeling. I tried to paint a picture of a strong, mature, fearless, good – even godly man. I didn’t have insecurities or disappointments or fears. No, I forged ahead in the face of adversity, never doubting my resolve or my God. It wasn’t true, but it’s what I wanted others to believe. And so I lied.
I maintained this facade with my wife as well. It wasn’t that she didn’t know me at all, but there were parts of me that I was relentless to keep from her. I believed that if she knew the real me - she would not respect or love me. And so I lied.
I had been experiencing dissatisfaction in my marriage and I didn’t want to admit it to...
“Don’t do that.”
“Because it is not safe. You might get hurt.”
I’m sure many of us can recall this conversation from our childhood. As a mom of two very wild boys I have heard those very words come out of my own mouth many times.
After much persuasion from my oldest son I recently watched daredevil Nik Wallenda walk across Niagara Falls on a 200 foot long tightrope. I have to admit that at the beginning of his walk I was only half way paying attention as I folded clothes on the couch, but the further he went, the more excited I became. Not only did he have the challenge of keeping both feet on a two inch cord, but he also had the added difficulty of swirling winds and mist rising up in such a density that he was unable to see where he was supposed...
Have you ever met someone who knows the best way to do everything? You know, the person who has seen it all and done it all, and has now become the self-proclaimed expert. Yeah, I thought so. We all know someone who meets this description.
Unfortunately, it’s when we need them the very least they seem to jump out of nowhere and attack. It certainly felt that way to me. Wayne and I were very open with our friends and family about what was going on in our lives. The double-edged sword that we held by being so open was that while we received an amazing amount of love and support, we also received an amazing amount of unsolicited advice. It felt like everyone and their dog knew what I should do. And, amazingly, each one had a different idea on what that was. It was all well-...
Facebook is an American as apple pie and baseball. Everyone has a Facebook account don’t they? Actually I don’t and neither does my wife. We used to have them. It was one of the ways our marriage almost ended.
In 2011 the group Divorce Online researched 5000 divorce filings and found that 1/3 of them mentioned Facebook as a reason. In the Harboring Hope courses I have been involved with here at AR approximately 70 percent of affairs by the women were started by contact on Facebook or other social media sites. One of the ways my wife communicated with her affair partners was through Facebook/Myspace, In fact rarely a day went by without some sleaze ball trying to chat up my wife.
Facebook can be an incredibly useful and entertaining tool for some. For others, especially...
Generally I feel called to write about the emotions that I felt during the first year of my healing process. Today, if you will allow me, I want to share where I am right now. If your wound is still fresh, the insights that I have recently received may not apply to you yet, but I think they are still worth reading. I certainly would have benefited from these words had someone spoken them to me a few months ago. So just put them away for later. You can reach back into your memory file for them when you are ready.
Several months ago I was asked to write about my experience as a betrayed spouse for Affair Recovery’s blog. I should tell you that I felt like the most unlikely choice for this. Not only had I never written anything other than an occasional letter, but I also had never...
“How many times will I have to answer the same questions about my affair?” This was the thought I had as my wife asked me once again, “Why did you have the affair?”
It had been many months since she had learned of my yearlong affair. Immediately we got into counseling, and within weeks we attended an Emergency Marital Seminar Weekend with Affair Recovery (AR). From the early days of discovery, she asked this question – along with a myriad of others.
At first I was resistant to come completely clean. But after a while, with good coaching from AR, I chose to be as honest as possible. Lying had gotten me into the hell I had created. I figured I would give the truth a chance. And it was a much better way. I am not saying that telling the truth was pain-free. Oh no – there...
Was he a better lover? Was he better endowed? Am I weak or too feminine? Why did she do ......with him that she never did with me? Maybe if I was a better lover she wouldn’t have cheated. How could she not have used a condom?
These painful, humiliating and embarrassing questions and thoughts running through the minds of husbands whose wives are involved with sexual affairs with another man or men strike at the very core of our being. I remember the pain I felt when I found out my wife had done sexual things with her affair partner she had refused to do with me.
Statistics have shown that most women involved in sexual affairs give sex in return for emotional connection. Most men involved with sexual affairs give emotional connection in return for sex. It has to do with...
When it all came out, to say my life was rocked was an understatement. Due to the public nature of my position and affair(s), many lives were altered forever. I knew little about life at that point, but I knew I wanted my kids, I wanted my family, and I wanted life to be what it once was.
It would never be again. (At least not the way it was before and truth be told, I’m glad it’s not what it once was.)
As I started down the long road to recovery with Samantha, it was frustratingly apparent that I was NOT in control. This realization hurt like all hell, as I’m a control freak. Whether it was my professional position, or during college and professional baseball, or almost every other thing in life, I had learned how to “will it so” in my own strength, power and...
In my last entry I shared some of the blessings that I have discovered can only be found in grieving. Today I want to share some practical ways that I learned to grieve. The world around us doesn’t help us with this at all. We grow up hearing “Big girls (or boys) don’t cry.” So what do we do when life hands us pain? How does one properly mourn a deep heart wound?
Finding a few trusted people with whom I could be completely open and honest was very helpful. These were women who rejoiced with me when I had moments of hope and cried with me when I was sad.
Another thing that stands out to me as being particularly helpful was setting aside one day a week to grieve. At that point in our life both of our boys went to school Tuesday-Thursday. This was a huge blessing because I...
Recently my family and I went on a two week vacation, picking up a travel trailer along the way and journeying across 4 or 5 different states. The trailer is a bit of a beast, I think at least 24 feet long. My SUV pulls it, but not very well and the gas mileage is something to marvel at (in an expensive, almost regretful way). My oldest wanted to see Vegas and Jodi wanted to see The Grand Canyon again, so we decided The Grand Canyon would be our last stop before we headed home to Texas.
I had no idea what kind of drive was ahead of me. The drive there was easy, in fact too easy, and now I was pulling a trailer with (at the very least) a 50 gallon water tank that was completely full.
Having so much fun in Vegas, I thought the drive to The Grand Canyon would be...
If a person had told me that there are blessings found in grieving before I went through it a few years ago, I would have thought they were crazy.
Today’s culture tells us that blessings are found in things that are easy or fun, or in things that generally feel ‘good.’ Situations or people that cause us pain are generally seen as curses to be avoided at all cost. We are also told that when we are hurt the strong among us will ‘suck it up,’ or ‘put on our big girl panties’ and move on. The implication is that crying - or even the mere feeling of pain or sadness- is a sign that we are weak.
One thing I learned after discovering my husband Wayne’s betrayals is that I truly did have a choice. I could choose to ignore and stuff down the pain, or I could sit in it and allow...
This was one of the great truths I have learned through the recovery process from my affair. My choice to have an affair ripped my wife’s heart in two and almost destroyed our 25 year marriage.
I used to fixate on the fact that I had ruined what I believed had been a good record. I no longer could boast as a superior husband, father, or even human being. I had cheated on my wife and I was now considered lower than pond scum. No longer could my wife or my children be able to say at my funeral, “he was a good man and faithful husband.” I had destroyed any chances of receiving a eulogy that would compel all those present to say to my grieving widow, “Jack was such a wonderful man. Knowing him has changed my life. My greatest regret is that I didn’t know him better.”
Francis Schaeffer wrote, “We do not want to deny ourselves. Actually we do everything we can…to put ourselves at the center of the universe. This is where we naturally want to live.”
If there was one struggle, one colossal mistake, among the myriad of smaller ones that helped lead to my affair, it was that of outright self-absorption. Somewhere along the line, life became about me and what I wanted and needed and deserved. So when my wife Samantha was having babies, and spending up to 6 months in bed during her pregnancies, vomiting more times in a day than I care to describe, my needs were sent to the back of the bus.
For a few weeks I was able to grin and bear it. Sort of put a face on it of sacrifice and humility, and look at how good of a dad and husband I...
Alumnus, Unfaithful. Providing hope, encouragement and infidelity-specific insight to anyone in recovery from betrayal.
Alumni. Rodney and Angela. Channeling hope and healing through music after experiencing God's healing power from the tsunami of infidelity.
Alumna, navigating recovery from both sides of infidelity. Bringing hope to those enduring their darkest moments.
Alumna. Betrayed. Seeking to inspire hope in those recovering from the devastating effects of infidelity or addiction.
Alumnus. Unfaithful. Encouraging those walking the road of addiction recovery by sharing his own journey of healing and restoration.
Alumna, Betrayed. Seeking God's grace to find meaning and purpose in the pain. Hoping to share my life raft with others drowning in the despair of infidelity.
Alumna. Betrayed. Sharing her testimony of God's miraculous healing from betrayal trauma to inspire hope in others.
Alumna. Unfaithful. Sharing hope with others struggling from the shame and destruction of their bad choices. Restoring the broken pieces by the healing power of God’s unfailing love.
Alumna. Unfaithful. Striving to become a woman of integrity. Together, we can find light in the darkness of infidelity.
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.
Alumna. Member, EMS Weekend Retreat Team. Hope and healing are possible for anyone willing to work through the pain.
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.
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