The Detox Continues….

I’ll never forget talking to a friend of mine early on in recovery, and I said to him candidly, “I’m still thinking about my affair partner all the time.”  Having gone through it before, he very pointedly, but graciously said to me “Samuel, if you said you weren’t thinking about her, I’d call you a liar.”  It’s part of the ripping away.  He went on to say “It takes time and it takes consistency, and doing exactly what you’re doing:  being open with another man about what you’re dealing with.”

Fact is my friends, and I know a ton of you are betrayed spouses, that if your spouse says they are not thinking about their affair partner (when it was a long affair, over a consistent period of time and they have broken it off fairly recently) then they probably are lying.  It’s not a guarantee, but it’s very likely they are afraid to tell you they are detoxing.  Don’t be offended by this.  It’s normal, and Samantha and I almost never talked about it early on. I think she knew I had to be feeling some sort of sadness, but allowed me to deal with it differently than her pounding me about it.

Samantha did however ask me if I loved my affair partner.  I remember the conversation as if it was just yesterday.  I did love my affair partner, but had no idea what was truly going on.  I loved the fantasy of the life with the affair partner.  I loved how the affair partner made me feel about myself and life in general. I loved the idea of always being wanted, always being celebrated and admired.  I loved these almost imaginary aspects of my affair partner yes; but did I love my affair partner the way I loved Samantha? No. I truly didn’t, but at that time I was nowhere near healthy enough to totally grasp the difference, and your spouse may be there too.

It just might be too early on to understand that concept, quite honestly.  If you’re a betrayed spouse, you may have to draw some very clear lines and stay consistent with the tough love approach to get them to understand they can detox, but there must be forward progress.  Not perfection, but progress. 

I was on my phone so often with my affair partner and texted with her so often it was ridiculous.  Driving to work every day, I would constantly look at my phone out of habit, and believe me no one was calling me now.  It was tough, but didn’t last longer than a month or so.  It was more out of habit than any sort of anticipation or longing for my affair partner to reach out.  The detox continued, and I was breaking away. 

I had two friends I could reach out to and talk to on this level.  If your unfaithful spouse who is trying to detox doesn’t have another same sex figure to talk to and vent to, it could be dangerous.  They need someone who they can be safe with and vulnerable with, who is pro-restoration and has only the best interest of your marriage and your spouse in mind.  Anything short of that can be even more problematic as I know many of you have experienced before. 

If they need an avenue to experience this sort of support from other same-sex supporters, I’d highly recommend Hope for Healing.

Tough love may be the way to go to help draw some clear lines and let your spouse know that the time for bearing fruit in their recovery is NOW.  As you’re patient with your spouse and allow them to break away and grieve, they should simultaneously be open to getting healthy and getting insight on what you need, what the marriage needs, and what recovery needs if it’s going to be developing in your life. 

Detoxing is gruesome friends.  I actually hate writing about it, as it is difficult to relive some things, but I think it’s the right thing to write on for today.  I only hope it’s been helpful for you both.

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Detox continues

Thank you Samuel for sharing your painful experience with us. I am the betrayed and your articles really help me open my eyes and see the whole picture (but also relive those horrible moments with you). I know this is a long road to travel but with the insights of others it helps me to keep going. Reading about what you went through helps me see things from "his" point of view. Thank you again

how long?

How long does it take to detox? I confronted my husband last Christmas Day. It was a horrible few months after that. Now my husband says he is no longer speaking, texting, calling, or having anything to do with his EA partner, but he also refuses to discuss and come clean about the details of the affair. I have seen a couple of texts from her to him lately and he seems to know a lot about what she is doing since she works in the same building, one hallway over from his office. He protects or makes excuses for her when she texts, saying he thinks it was a mistake since she texts so many people and he was part of her "group texting". He "accidently" made a call to her cell from our landline, said it was a mistake, he meant to call me. Really?? This was in April. The last text (that I know of) was in August, asking him if it was my phone she was texting. We are going on 10 months post confrontation now. I finally moved out, as the constant reminder every time I looked at him was killing me and the constant fighting about his stonewalling and lack of honesty and even the ability to admit that it was actually an affair was causing verbal, emotional, and physical abuse. He actually spit in my face once, shoved me down, and then picked up our 3 foot diameter ottoman and acted like he was going to heave it at me. He had so much rage when I pressed him for answers. It's now been almost a year. I've been moved out for over a month. He has made no effort in that time to ask me to talk about it or to do anything to try to fix our marriage, except go to anger management classes. However, he's been doing anger management since March, and I moved out soon after another verbal and almost physical attack at the beginning of September, so the anger management obviously isn't working. So is he still detoxing? I don't want a divorce, but if something doesn't change in the next month, I am filing. I have to take care of me and he obviously doesn't want the marriage badly enough to work on it. I wrote down exactly what needed to be done to help our marriage survive, even what I need to do myself, and gave it to him. I moved out to protect myself. I am drawing lines and I think they were pretty clear. I only see him when I go to our son's house and if there is a family event such as the birth of our grandson 5 weeks ago. We are polite to each other. I keep my distance. I do not mention the homewrecker anymore. If he is still detoxing, then I don't think he will ever completely finish it. 35 years of marriage will be gone. So sad.

how long does it take to detox

K, thank you for reaching out. my thoughts would be, it's been long enough. he needs the right kind of help. it's not that he's detoxing as much as he is stuck and does not have the capacity to fix himself, wake himself up, heal himself, or "get it" as many say. he needs a third party to say what you cannot say and needs an expert at this point. i'd tell him something to the effect of "if you are not willing to get help, (like attend an ems weekend as your situation is definitely urgent enough) then we are done and i'll be filing by the end of the week." if he is not willing to get help friend, then he is not safe, and you are in a dangerous situation. you need expert, specialized care, not just general counseling. if i was you, and if he won't get help, i'm sorry to have to say there is little help he will change or make any adjustments at all. does that make sense? i hate to be that blunt, but feel like i need to due to the urgency of your situation and his unwillingness to change. he cant change really, he needs help from someone like Rick to in fact change. hope that helps you. thank you again for reading and for posting.

thank you

Samuel, I think you just voiced what I have known for months but just didn't want to face. No, I don't feel safe with him. That is why I moved out. When we see each other at family events, we speak politely about just ordinary things. I have been waiting so long for him to say"Let's talk about this" and I now feel like its time to give it up. He won't change. He might for a short while, but I have seen that many times throughout our 35 year marriage. It never lasts. So thank you for voicing what I really needed to hear and see. This is going to be the hardest thing I've ever done in my life....giving up a man who was my high school sweetheart, the father of my boys, and who used to be my world. But with God's help, I know I will get through it. I am taking the Harboring Hope class in a few days and I' m sure it will help me heal, along with tons of prayer. Your blog responses and posts have opened my eyes and helped so much. I appreciate you.

Detox continues. .

Thank you for your honesty. My husband is having having an emotional affair with his boss, the senior pastor in our church, but has been in denial for 3 years. I read your letter and Rick's posting and though very enlightening, also depressing. I see no way he would ever be able to break away from her even though she has no intention (at this moment) of leaving her husband. His addiction to her texts, their running around together, emails, phone calls is so much a part of his life, I don't think he could ever do it nor want to. I commend you to for admitting your weakness and in Christ made strong to be willing to do it. I'm sure it's painful for your wife but sharing this with us makes us cheer you on and glad someone is going to make it even if the rest of us can't be there.

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