The ability for me to develop acceptance and compassion for my husband has been huge in my own recovery.  I believe compassion and acceptance go hand in hand.  According to the Oxford dictionary, the definition of compassion is "sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others".  The definition of acceptance is "the action of consenting to receive or undertake something offered".

What drives a person to do something like this?  They must be sick in the head, right!?! I believe that every human being has the ability to become a murderer, a thief, an adulterer, a slanderer, a narcissist, an addict, etc.  At EMS Weekend, we were reminded that “If we were all perfect, why in the world would we need Jesus?”  

I know from my own eating disorder journey that addiction can make you do crazy things any logical person wouldn’t even consider doing.  I distinctly remember sitting in the middle of my dorm room eating straight from a box of dry cake mix.  Yuck!  I was feeding my addiction.  I’ve heard of people binge eating food out of the trash can, stealing food from roommates, and eating toilet paper in order to avoid food.  Gross, right?

When my spouse was feeding his addiction he was in a different state of mind.  He even told me that once, when he was in the car, he looked at himself in the mirror while he was acting out and the face he saw in the mirror didn’t even look like him.  The face he saw was twisted, full of desperation, carnality and it scared him.  He felt like a different person, hence the saying, “I was leading a double life.” 

Whether I like it or not, the temptation in this area is a part of my spouse, his “thorn in the flesh.”  I can choose to romanticize about being married to somebody who doesn’t have these “issues” or accept him for who he is, warts and all.  I can also choose to have compassion for him when he tells me he has been struggling with wanting to act out.  If he ever were to relapse, which I recognize to be a part of the recovery process, I want him to be able to tell me, not keep it from me.  It doesn’t mean I can’t tell him it hurts me, but I can help him through it by praying for him, keeping him accountable, and making sure he stays connected to his accountability group.

I don’t want to minimize any part of what we are going through.  Our spouse’s addictions are such that they personally broke part of the marriage vow and wounded us in the process.  The pain and hurt is unimaginable, I’ve even developed PTSD because of it, and it’s not something I take lightly.  I also recognize it is a different ball game for people whose spouses are unrepentant.  My spouse is repentant and working hard towards his own recovery and for that, I am grateful. 

I just know from my own experience, that the more anger and un-forgiveness I hold in my heart, the less progress I make in my own recovery and the recovery of our marriage.  My therapist reminds me, “It’s not about you.  You could be Marilyn Monroe and he would still do it.”  He’s right.  It’s not about me.  It’s about something deeper.  I pray we can all find a way to be compassionate for our spouses and also compassionate for ourselves as we continue our journey toward healing. 

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Not judging myself helps me not judge my spouse

Thank you so much for the reminder from your therapist "You could be Marilyn Monroe....". I realize when I am not filled with harsh self judgement
("Maybe if I had lost more weight, or focused less on the kids, my spouse would not have strayed") I am more able to be less angry and more compassionate towards my unfaithful spouse.

Glad to help!

Hurt, I am so glad his comment helped you! Good insight about being able to be more compassionate toward your spouse when you are being kind and compassionate to yourself! It makes such a difference.

Thank you, Amy

Amy-Thank you so much for your very insightful and perceptive blog. I find it very helpful and helps me understand part of the path and journey of healing. My husband is also a sex addict, and I have been struggling with intrusive thoughts and triggers and PTSD for over 10 months. The pain is debilitating and beyond devastating. It is truly a roller coaster. I appreciate so much when you said that the more anger and un-forgiveness that is held in the heart the progress of recovery is slowed down and in my case, has become halted so often. I like, too, that you emphasized that the addiction is something that would have happened no matter who our husbands are married to - that is so hard sometimes for me to accept, but rationally I can accept it. Also, I liked especially when you talked about how you can accept your husband the way he is, warts and all, and choose to have compassion for him. It is so devastating to me to know that I can't have the wonderful fairy tale marriage with a husband who doesn't have "issues," but as devastating as that is, it is far more uplifting to me that even though my husband has endured his addiction and acting out for 28 years, he is now working so hard on healing himself and changing into a man of integrity and he is learning to love me and not be selfish. I am slowly feeling safe with him, and though it is not a straight line to that safety, it is happening and I am grateful to God for what my husband is becoming and how hard he is working. Thank you again, Amy, for your so very helpful and encouraging blog. Your blog and all the blogs on the Affair Recovery site are so caring and helpful and give me always hope for the future and I am so grateful that I can read them.

To healing

jeh53, thank you so much for your words of encouragement! It makes my heart so happy to hear that sharing my own journey truly is helping others. You are right. It is a roller coaster and it is so important for us to celebrate every step forward. It is so true that this would have happened no matter who our husbands are married to. This is my husband's second marriage. His first wife was a blonde Swedish model. They had sex frequently and he still was doing the same thing behind her back. I am so happy to hear that your husband is working hard on his own healing and I pray God will bless both of your efforts as you continually seek him in all you do. I believe he will bless you and I am grateful to be on the journey with you!


This is the place I am truly at. Its been a 15 months since the intial Dday. A couple weeks ago I discovered he is still in contact with the two women. While I don't believe or know for sure that its become physical, I've decided not to say anything at this point. He doesnt know...I know. This time around Im obviously in a much better place with dealing with it. I finally truly see this is not about never was. While I am preparing to leave in a couple months, Ive decided to use this time to continue in my own recovery because either way I need to heal. I see the confliction and the loss in his eyes. I see a man who really wants to do the right thing but needs help to end the generational curse that has followed and been carried out for years. I guess Im lucky in that I've only been with him 3 years so I walk away. In the mean time God has been saying keep loving him, while keeping yourself safe.

I've been where my husband is so I guess that is what helps me to have compassion. I cheated on my first husband years ago. I was the woman you would never expect to go there. It taught me that anyone is capable of doing the worst things imaginable. While it didnt work out with him, that man loved me until the divorce papers were signed. He never wanted the divorce. Now I find myself on the otherside of it. I'm not that same woman I was in my 20's. It took awhile but I knew I never wanted to do that to someone again. That is what has allowed me to accept what is going on. Being able to separate the man from his actions is something I never thought Id be to do. I don't know if he will confess and become repented but I know either way I will be alright.

Thank you

Wow amyh, thank you for speaking out and sharing your story. What a powerful testimony of God's love and grace in both of your lives!

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