Band-Aid Over a Bullet Hole

When I was around 9 years old I had to have my Appendix removed. It had not burst but it was very close. I remember well the extreme pain before the surgery. Debilitating, double-you-over pain. After the surgery I remember I was still in quite a bit of pain. I did not want to cough because the coughing stretched the surgery site. Over the next days, weeks and years the wound healed. I no longer have pain but occasionally if I stretch just the wrong way I can feel twinges at the site of the scar. The experience is now part of my past. I can’t change it or pretend it didn’t happen. It’s just another piece in the puzzle of my life.

As I have been involved over the past few years with Harboring Hope and EMS programs, one common thing I see is couples or individuals trying to sweep the affair under the rug. I call it the “band-aid over the bullet hole” approach to recovery. The individuals or couples feel that if they ignore the pain it will go away eventually. They believe that if they forgive quickly than the tragedy will just fade away to nothing. Unfortunately this is a very unhealthy and not very useful way to recover and heal. The band-aid may stop the bleeding for a short time but inside the wound is becoming infected and excruciatingly painful. If ignored, the infection can spread and destroy healthy parts of the body. In most cases the untreated wound will eventually kill you.

Affairs are the same. If ignored the wound will grow and fester until the time it cannot be ignored anymore. A lot of times it’s too late to recover and heal. I have seen too many couples or individuals desperate for help 5 or 10 years after the affair occurred. They have been living with a festering bullet wound hoping it will heal on its own.

I urge everyone who has been affected by affairs to get the surgery done right away. Go in and clean out the infection and repair the internal injuries. The surgery will be painful at first, the recovery will take time, there will be scars but it will allow true healing and recovery later. Don’t live with the band-aid over the bullet hole any longer.

In later years this can become just another puzzle piece in the masterpiece that is your life and marriage.

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How do you get the betrayer to understand that you cannot simply forget what happened and go back 5 years to before it started, or 25 years when it started the first time? I have been lied to, betrayed, and abandoned, and my partner wants me to just forget it happened and start completely over. Except she will not even meet me half-way. She has shut me out, and seems to resent me in almost every way. She will not make a promise of commitment, nor will she show me affection because I might have "false hopes." The only promise she has made is that we may be together, but we will probably never be intimate again. What kind of marriage is that. I have been faithful and truly loving, but I don't think I can continue this.

DE, Sorry to hear you are in

DE, Sorry to hear you are in such a tough spot. This limbo period you are in can be so painful. A lot of times the betrayer is still stuck in the "fog" and still not thinking clearly and thus say the craziest hurting things like "we may not be intimate again". It takes a concerted effort to recover from an affair. In order for a marriage to be reborn it takes both parties willing. Right now it seems your spouse may not be ready or able. At this point in my recovery I received some great advise which was to work on myself and let God handle my spouse. They may or may not recover but in the mean time you can work on your personal recovery (which you will need regardless of your marriage surviving). One of the best things that helped my wife break out of the fog was to attend an EMS weekend here at ARC. That would be a great thing for you I think. It helped my wife realize the magnitude of the betrayal and gave us concrete steps to take to recover. Please don't take anything your wife is saying or doing right now too seriously. Just as a heroin addict will do and say crazy things your spouse is also similarly affected. Be the best person you can be and look to God for support. He never will betray you. Erick

thank you

Thank you Erick for sharing.  It's making my recovery process so much easier.  My husband was unfaithful for over a year before I knew what was happeing.  And he too is unable to give me love back right now. He won't say I love you, he won't touch me, reach out to me...but he does things that I see mean love.  And I see that very slowly, he's starting to reach out.  But what I also find is that we get to a point where I see us happy again - something will set me off -- this weekend I found pink camo tape on the handle of his baseball bat and immediately jumped to suspicion - I confronted him with "is this HER baseball bat?" thinking he's a manly man, what's he doing with pink camo tape, and already she'd given him her dad's golf clubs.  I can't wait to get to the point where I can trust him, and not be looking for signs of what they had.  I pray every day for closure on this, helaing for the's such a long road.


Carrie, I'm sorry that you

Carrie, I'm sorry that you are here and reading up on this subject. This is a club no one ever wants to be in. I am convinced though that the adversity and recovery made me a better person. Triggers can be brutal. I blogged on those earlier and I hope you got a chance to read it. They do fade and they become less intrusive. Occasionally I still run into things that set me back. Thats okay though. I have memories of other bad past experiences also. Its how we choose to deal with them that matters. I plan to write another blog on trust as its such a tough subject when recovering from affairs. I will say that I think the worldly definition of trust is badly flawed. Unfortunately we as imperfect people will do terrible things to those we love. We should stop placing blind trust in imperfect people and place it in the One who we can absolutely trust. It sounds like your husband may be slowly coming out of the fog. I pray that continues. I also hope he is open to a recovery plan like what I discussed with DE. An EMS weekend was a crucial part of my marriage being reborn. I don't say that as a salesperson either. Its truth. Please continue to recover personally and read up on things here. Harboring Hope may be a great option for you also. Feel free to reach out here. There are a lot of great people here who are happy to help in anyway they can. Erick

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