Who Knew? When I received my first contract to publish in 2006, I never imagined the path of the next decade. The biggest 'high' of my life ended with the biggest low. For the first time in my life I'd ventured into a pursuit completely of my own making, my own dream. The story I'd spent six months crafting was considered enviable, a work worth taking the risk a publisher takes every time they invest time, money and effort into a new author. I'd accomplished what few aspiring authors would: a book publishing contract. Maybe this was God's way of preparing me for the absolute devastation that would follow a decade later when my husband assembled my adult children in order to shame me. He announced in levity that he'd spent a decade sexually engaged with my brother's ex., a further seventeen years as 'Just Friends'. He wanted to make me look the fool. "What?", I hear you thinking. Who looked the fool? That's how far down the self-deception and unhealthy thinking path of addiction my unfaithful husband had travelled. He'd convinced himself that his infidelity reflected badly upon me. His descent into alcoholism and validation addiction had led him to that moment; a moment that will forever live in infamy in the book of my life. Ah, but a few rotten chapters do not make for a failed book or personal story. When we enter this life, we've no idea what twists and turns it will hold. If you live long enough you can be certain of mountain top highs and devastating losses. As children we have no reason to imagine the loss of our parents, the absence of friends through distance or judgment. We certainly have no earthly reason to think the one person we'd vowed to spend our life with could or would betray us. As an infidelity survivor I enter this world of Affair Recovery, blogging with some trepidation, but mostly, I hope to provide a voice for those who struggle to find the words to express the circuitous, yoyo journey we ride post discovery. Both unfaithful and betrayed have no earthly notion for what they are in store. If a person had knowledge of this hellish path toward recovery, cases of infidelity would surely be few and far between. The costs are beyond most of our imaginations. Thing is, we are all human; and in our humanity lives frailty, imperfection, self-centeredness and the seeds of failure. We all fail. Some of us had the misfortune to be brought up in a family that transmitted pain of generations past. None of us is born to betray. No one is born a criminal, rapist, or swindler. We are grown. Pain not transformed will be transmitted. As an Affair Recovery member you will hear this wise phrase many times. We humans are born with an innate drive to protect our lives, our security. When we live in an insecure environment, it warps the tender naivety. We learn to lie. We learn to hide. We learn to keep secrets. There but for the grace of God go I. I pray I never become so self-assured, so delusional as to think I could not have found myself in a similar place many of our unfaithful now occupy. Given the right (or should I say wrong) set of life circumstances, I too might have made the painful, destructive choices in which we are now mired. My personality, my frailties might have molded me to make destructive choices. Dear recovery partners, I implore you to consider our humanity, our fragility, our weaknesses that challenge even the strongest of us. Even the most blessed, the richest, the best-looking, the smartest have fallen to the pull of delusional thinking, of anger or brokenness. There but for the grace of God. There but for the blessing of time and place and family and luck. I find myself as a betrayed spouse, yes. I have suffered the slings and arrow of outrageous injustice and the agony of knowing I will never be able to un-think, unlearn, un-see, un-feel the costs of my unfaithful spouses choices. Unfair? You bet. Unheard of? Sadly not. All too common? Yes. I am a woman struggling to recover from the most painful revelation of multiple infidelities I could never have imagined. I am a financial and sexual betrayal survivor. I am a survivor. I will not only survive. I will live to thrive, to help others to thrive. I invite you to walk with me as I trek the pathway toward a better life; a life full of joy and gratitude and serenity. One day at a time I am taking steps forward, steps backward, ups and downs. Join me. Let's walk together.