Learning to Let Go

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 tenacity.

Not this time.

It would take several breakdown moments to realize this great revelation. I just couldn’t make Samantha heal and I couldn’t make her forgive me and I couldn’t prevent or isolate Samantha enough from the pain of the reminders or triggers or assault she would sometimes feel emotionally and mentally.

I have come from some pretty rough upbringing and have had to battle large amounts of adversity my entire life. Those times were dramatically different though. This time, my tenacity would be put to a different test: the ability to endure Samantha’s struggles with my affair and a commitment to allow change in my life as I faced great uncertainty about my family and future with her.

I tried to push her and hurry her to heal and get over it. That blew up in my face time and time again till I finally realized how much I was hurting her by trying to hurry her healing up. It simply meant I still had not gotten it yet. More frustration again.

It was when I admitted I couldn’t make this happen that things began to take shape. All I could control was the type of man I was allowing myself to become and the efforts I would make at my own recovery. When I turned the focus off Samantha and making sure she would, could and had healed, and simply worked at my own recovery, I saw things change by leaps and bounds. It wasn’t as if I was back in control again, but I was living a surrendered life where all I could control was doing the “next right thing,” and even then I realized that I was still a wreck. Sure I wasn’t in an affair anymore, but I was still confronting my own dark and dysfunctional issues and struggles, and thinking this was going to be an easy recovery was way behind me.

Quitting many times seemed like the only option. I later learned it was my pride which wanted me to quit as I was mad that I couldn’t be in control and I couldn’t dictate how things were going to go.

I’m happy to say 7 years later, I never knew family life could be as sweet and as rewarding as it is right now, even after an affair. Samantha would whole heartedly agree with me.

The issue was not would I get here, but rather would I quit where I was, and quite possibly where some of you might be at right now. I know the pain and the hurt and the frustration. But don’t quit. Do your best to work on YOU, and allow God to work on you. The power many times is in the process of recovery, not this particular day or that particular day.

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Thank you!

Thank you for the heart-felt sharing of your recovery and success in rebuilding your marriage. As the one who was betrayed, I have had a very difficult time tuning out labels and stereotypes all around us. My husband had one affair after 18 years together. Our marriage was at a rock-bottom low, and thought I had fallen out of love quite some time before that. (Although I now realize that I must have still loved him, or I would not have been so completely devastated by this experience). While that's no excuse for betrayal, I have had to really fight the label of "cheater" and the stereotype of "once a cheater always a cheater." I've also had to re-write my response to an affair being a deal-breaker in our marriage. The good news is that, he was so mortified by what he had done and how it had hurt me, that he has truly changed other things that had caused me to be unhappy in the first place. He, too, had very controlling behavior. I had totally shut-down after years of begging for counseling, etc. My feelings were not being validated. Now, he listens and responds. I have also learned to be more loving and affectionate, showing greater appreciation when he does make changes. I think his need to look elsewhere for what was missing is gone. We are a year and a half into healing, and our relationship and family life are much improved. The biggest obstacle for me is still trust. While I trust nothing is going on now, I fear what may happen should our marriage reach another low-point. I think that is mostly anxiety causing this fear, as our communication and his responses to it are better than ever. Although, he still works this his ex-paramour. I know the rule is "no contact for life," but it is not possible for us due to the economy. This may be a text-book response we have to modify. The good news here is that she has been so cruel on so many levels by making comments about me (for somehow "winning")and other things, and so highly unstable and almost predatory, that it has turned him off from her. She is not the person she portrayed when she was pursuing him. And, they have no personal contact. Samuel, your story does give me tremendous hope. It sounds like you had more than one affair, but you have stopped for 7 years, and are a changed man. Congratulations, and please keep sharing your hope with others, dispelling the stereotypes that make many afraid to stay in their marriages.

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