Why Do I Blog, Anyway?

I write from the place I wish I had available to me when I first started down this path the messy middle the real and raw places to offer validation and hope for others that are like me

I was having a conversation with my Affair Recovery editor recently, and we talked about the motivation behind my decision to blog about infidelity. It can be emotionally heavy, and logistically difficult amidst work, home, and family responsibilities, particularly as I continue to devote time and energy to therapy and recovery work. So what made me want to do this?

Infidelity creates an isolation like nothing else.

In the many years during and after my husband's affair he would not admit to anything. Just flat out denial of my legitimate suspicions, like I was just crazy for asking. I lived in limbo, knowing I did not have the truth, but also not having any foreseeable way to obtain it without his cooperation, which he was very unwilling to provide. I never looked for outside help. I never told anyone. I only asked him again and again, and he continually denied it. In turn, I tried to deny it to myself. I did not allow for any space to consider that there even was “help” for this. He had done whatever he had done with his affair partner, refused to tell me the truth about exactly what that entailed, and now this was just my life. His decisions made me feel as though I was imprisoned in this reality he had created, and I saw no way to change that.

Years later, after my husband finally confessed, I started searching for help. As I've mentioned before, finding the right help while simultaneously being overwhelmed by trauma and confusion is next to impossible. I sought resources to help me understand infidelity and what I was experiencing, and most importantly, I sought hope. I felt so hopeless, so I searched intently for reassurance that there was any hope for real recovery, where I might feel like life would be worth living again someday, because it definitely did not feel that way at that time.

I found I often couldn't relate to the blogs and testimonies I read. It typically felt like there were two options available. The first was from hurting people who just wanted to talk about how terrible cheaters are, which was not especially helpful or illuminating to me. The second was from the perspective of those who classified themselves as “healed” and spoke of their victory over betrayal, while seemingly glossing over the ugliness that they endured, and carefully omitting the reality of post-betrayal life. While option #2 sounded better, it seemed to portray a life “restored” and whole, with no remnants of sadness or loss, which I couldn't even wrap my head around, much less believe was real. It sounded like a sanitized version that left out the “real” in an effort to gain followers or sell a program. There was no mention of lingering sadness or reminders. There was no room for ongoing resentment and feelings of loss and disappointment. Could those people really exist? Sure, I guess. I just couldn't relate to it, so it offered me no real hope. I did not ever see myself fitting into that category, so it left me feeling more hopeless, like I was doing it all wrong or just didn't have what it took to reach the healing they described.

What I needed was to know what I was feeling was normal. I wanted to know I wasn't alone. I wanted to know it was ok to hate everything right now, but that there was still hope to feel differently at some point. I wanted someone to just be real with me. After having been deceived about so much and for so long, I was unwilling and unable to ignore my skepticism and viewed these resources with great suspicion.

As I read accounts from people who had tried this or that, and reported success, it just made me feel worse. I tried all of those things and the needle didn't move for me. Most talked about their amazing groups of friends or people from church. Mentor couples and a support network. I didn't have any of that. I was alone, and no one knew what had happened. My devastation was hidden from everyone in my life. So the end result was that I felt more like a failure and less hopeful that I could ever achieve any of the peace they were describing. I assumed the problem was me.

It was just too far of a leap to get from where I was to where they said they were. I really wanted to hear from someone who was in the messy middle, taking the baby steps, clawing their way inch by inch. So that is the place from which I write. Maybe someday I will be one of those people, telling you how I have made it to the other side. But for now, I share my journey of the real and raw places in between, to offer validation and hope for others that are like me and are still here in the valley.

So I write from the place I wish I had available to me when I first started down this path. I want to offer a balance of reality and hope, but mostly I want to offer validation and community. I know my experience may not necessarily mirror yours, as our journeys are all unique, but if I have made one person feel less alone, it is worth the effort. If, through my writings, I can put words to another person's confusing feelings, and help them to feel seen and understood, I am truly grateful. So I thank you for being here to read this. I am hopeful that you find some solace in being part of this community and joining me from time to time on my own journey. I wish you strength, peace, and hope.

Behind every strong person there is a story that gave them no choice.

~ author unknown

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my parallel experience

Dear Jen. Thank you once again for writing with such heart. Your unvarnished words and the spirit behind them give me hope, because you are correct: dealing with infidelity is so lonely. It has been almost a year now that I have been dealing with my fiance having an affair and completely abandoning "us." The Affair Recovery site has a focus on couples trying to work it out and remain as a couple, but this choice was never open to me. I too have gone through multiple websites searching for the illusive road map to healing and wholeness. I know not to dwell on the Past, I have tools to help me when the memories surface (as they do on a daily basis) and I have so much to be grateful for. I have wonderful supportive friends and three amazing daughters, but I cannot share with them any more how difficult this journey is, I don't want to disappoint them that I am not really fully restored. They want to see me bright and shiny and always smiling, like I used to be. I don't care anymore about why or how or where or when she cheated, all of that is so irrelevant and would not change anything anyway. Right now my strategy is to trust that I am healing even if it is imperceptible, even if I wish it would go faster and I could reach a sustainable state of joy. So please keep writing: when I read your blog it actually does alleviate that feeling of isolation, and your courage gives me the inspiration to keep going forward. Raphael

Hi Raphael

It's nice to hear from you, and thank you for your kind words. You are healing. I can hear it in you. It takes so much longer than we would like, but you said it well, that you have hope even when healing is imperceptible. The one year mark is tough, so give yourself some grace in the coming weeks.

I want to gently suggest that I doubt your family and friends would be disappointed (in you) that you are not fully restored. If it was one of your daughters in this situation, would you want her to feel like she should hide her sadness from you so you weren't disappointed? Just something to consider.

I am so glad you feel less alone reading this. You are definitely among understanding hearts here.

In the mess - still

Jen, thank again for sharing the mess. It truly has been an incredibly long journey for both of us. I have been motivated by fear for so long – fear and the loss of trust. It is always refreshing to know I can trust you and the Harboring Hope group I have grown to trust and love. My biggest fear in the present (3 ½ years since discovery) is still that he will not do what is necessary for us to heal and move forward. So, I am still stuck and frustrated by the time lines that are no where close to my messy experience. Only now am I beginning to understand that it is time for me to step back and allow my husband to show he can move beyond his pain and the pain he caused me and find a different impetus for change. Until this point, I so fear being hurt again that I had to continually remind him of the pain he has caused our family – by that I mean I didn’t hide it, and often cried about it, but also didn’t understand how to move through it and he didn't know how to respond in a helpful way. His defensiveness caused my pain to turn to anger and was transferred back to him which seemingly kept him from relapse. Now I need to see him doing the right things because he wants to, not because he fears the end of the marriage and financial losses. I need to see him as connecting with the meaning and purpose he once practiced decades ago before his infidelity began. He needs to show he can live a congruent life where his values and behaviors are in alignment with what he says and does moment by moment. How he reacts in any given situation including when I am flooded is vital for me to begin to trust again. Finally, he is beginning to understand and finally, I am stepping back to allow him to be fully responsible for his life without me trying to heal (control) him, so that I can heal. This is a huge shift for me and it is something I have come to understand ever so slowly from you and our loving HH group since 2019. It has taken a long time, but he is finally proving he is in it for the long haul and his three plus years of therapy has paid off. This morning, I woke up crying after a nasty dream and the first words out of his mouth were, “I am here for you and I will take care of you forever.” (so different than all the times I heard – here we go again, or so it is going to be another one of those days!)

He finally understands and says what I need to hear to wake up and begin to feel ok. Still, I am a long way from those you mentioned who described themselves as healed. I am like you and for so long felt I “just didn't have what it took to reach the healing they described.” However, I am so grateful that you make me feel normal and that always gives me hope. Thank you!!!!


Thank you my friend :) Yes, it's been a long journey for us, hasn't it? But we are both very different from the people we were back then on our first Harboring Hope call, lost in the confusion and fear, with our lives unravelling in front of us.

You and your husband have come such a long way. You each had your own paths, but you are in a place today you thought you'd never see. Is it perfect? No. But you can see the progress, and that offers hope. Hope was missing for a very long time, but I can hear that in you now.

I'm glad to help you feel normal :) That's why I'm here, right?

Thanks again for commenting, and for being a friend 😊

thank you

Once again, thank you, Jen, for continuing to blog and continuing to share your journey. It has (and continues) to help me personally. My journey has some differences (as is in most all situations) but the our similarities are significant. I, like you, have told absolutely no one in my closest inner circle about my husband’s infidelity; no family, children, close friends, etc. So, I, like you, feel as if I’ve traveled this road alone for a very long time—just me and God. We did an AR weekend and I did a HH group, but all members of both of those groups that we were in have since fallen apart and I don’t think any have stuck out their marriages. Recently we have been seeing a counselor and this has helped somewhat in moving us forward. But with that being said, there is just no substitute for hearing from someone who has actually been through this mess to fully understand it and all of the ugly feelings that linger with the betrayed years and years after. I, like you, feel like such a failure sometimes when I read about restoration stories of people who have reached the other side. I, too, wonder if that is REALLY a possible thing: to feel totally “healed” and a to have an inner peace within restored? My husband’s affair lasted 5 years and we are currently 5 years since discovery, but i, like you, STILL feel like i am in “the valley”. Sure, it’s not as bad as it once was, we are still married, we have had many wonderful days, and we have made leaps and bounds at restoring our marriage; but, me, personally, honestly, i still feel like i am in a valley just like you said. I continue to put one foot in front of the other and trust that one day true peace will eventually come. But, until that day comes for me, I will look forward to reading your blogs as they help me to feel “less crazy”, like there truly is someone out there in this big world who is feeling and trudging through some of the exact same feelings as I am. So, thank you—thank you again for helping an unknown “friend” out there who’s still in a valley, too.

Hi kc0827

I'm sorry you feel so alone. That is so hard, and makes this experience so much heavier than it already is. I know I have not done myself any favors by only having my own "inner voices" to listen to, as they are often not very encouraging or kind. I do have connections with my small HH group, but not with anyone in my "real" life, as you said is also your situation, and it is isolating.

I hope your counselor helps you process your situation so you can embrace more happiness. It's hard to allow the pain and happiness to exist side by side but I am finding it more natural as I do more of this work. Hopefully someday the pain will slide into the background when it feels it has served its purpose in keeping me safe. I hope that for you too.

I'm glad I can help you feel less crazy. There are definitely many of us who understand what you're feeling, and who are experiencing similar struggles. Thank you again for commenting. I appreciate hearing from you.


Thank you Jen for your blog. I too am in the middle of the dark wilderness, lost, struggling to "get back" to who I used to be at loving life, smiling, laughing vs a pain that lingers in your gut, sadness hanging over you and the heart longing to feel love again. I lost my marriage and it's been 4 years. I am 100% alone in my healing and alone in life now. I have deepened my faith. I walk with the Lord and my dog rebuilding my life, rebuilding who I am, and healing...oh so much healing...oodles upon oodles to get to this "other side" some day.

Hi Es

Thank you for commenting and sharing your situation. My faith has deepened too, which seems like the opposite of what I would have expected in this situation.

It sounds like you have been through a lot but I deeply respect that you are rebuilding yourself with intentionality and eyes wide open. I know it's hard, but you are going to be so amazing on the other side of this, and you already are amazing. I'm rooting for you and wish you peace and happiness.

Thank you again!

I look forward to reading every single word you write! There are very few people who know about my husband’s infidelity and those who do rarely ask how we are. I often feel like they think that I should just stop living in the past….. just get over it!

I too often feel like I am crazy but your blog helps me feel understood. We are 3 1/2 years since DDay with a year of continuous lies and trickle truths. So often I feel so alone. I have a small group of women from HH and I am so thankful for them. We have a small group of people who know but it seems like the topic is not to be discussed. It must be too shameful for people to bring up!

I spent over a year looking for people who seemed to “get me and my pain.” I kept coming back to AR and I am so blessed that there are people like you who write about your true feelings and pain. I am so sorry that you experienced all of this awfulness BUT I am so thankful that you put your pain, sadness, hope, tenacity and life on paper so those of us who aren’t “Over” this indescribable pain can read just how you feel while knowing that you are working on your marriage. I am thankful that you share the difficulties. I want to stay yet sometimes I want to leave. I wonder if this pain will ever go away?!?

Thank you for your words!

Hi pitter

It's nice to hear from you. Thank you for your very kind words.

It's so sad and confusing that people who know about your situation don't ask how you are. I'm sure it makes you feel shame, even though it isn't warranted. I'm sorry for that. I think so many people just don't know what to do with something as ugly as infidelity, and they somehow believe if they don't bring it up you won't think about it. We obviously know that is ridiculous, but they don't know any better. Most people who haven't experienced it have no idea the depth of the pain, or how it infects all the aspects of our lives, even those that would seem unrelated. So they just don't know any better. But it is isolating.

Will the pain ever go away? I don't know. I do think it lessens in intensity - over time and with the right work. I have heard the analogy that the pain is like a rock in a jar. The rock never gets smaller but the jar grows bigger around it, making it less significant in the overall picture. Maybe that's how it works. What do you think?


I really needed this now at where I'm at. My spouse had multiple affairs over 35 years together. I just found out 9 months ago. My family doesn't know. They think the sun and moon revolve around my husband. We rarely fought, and he was so good at hiding his affairs,so it's a shock to me. How would they understand? I have read the books where the Christian couples endured and conquered. I can't relate to them. I am still confused and saddened that my whole relationship with my husband has been a double life on his part. Thankyou for putting your feelings out there for us to relate to.

Hi Wendy

I'm so sorry. You are still pretty fresh with all of this and I know how hard it is. Hiding it from your family feels so inauthentic as you live your life, and adds a huge burden to you when you are already reeling. That was/is me too, so I empathize.

It's funny you mention the books. The one by Cindy Beall in particular had me in a rage. I read it pretty early on and felt so misunderstood as I read her story, but looking back a lot of it was because she was surrounded by family, friends, and a whole church congregation showing her love and support. I had no one and was alone, and I felt betrayed and hopeless even reading her story. So I couldn't relate to it at all. It is an excellent book and a great testament to her, their marriage, God's work, and the church community. But - it was not the right story for me, and definitely not the right time. Maybe some of that applies to you as well.

Please consider that you are still pretty new in all this and your feelings are bound to be more raw. I hope you are getting some counseling and support through AR or other groups. You really can't do this alone - at least not well. Your own inner voices will likely be unkind, and you need someone who can walk beside you and show you love and empathy - even if it is a paid professional. I waited far too long to begin that work and I paid for it dearly. I hope you can learn from my mistakes. I wish you well. I will say a prayer for you.

35 years and multiple affairs

I can so relate to your lifetime of being with a spouse that was living in a different reality than you were. It’s not easy seeing what you thought was real, wasn’t really real when you discovered that your spouse had been lying to you for years. We never seemed to fight, either. Our marriage was built on intensity and not intimacy as I get farther away from the reality of what I believed was a decent relationship. My friend is walking with me going through the divorce. She experienced this trauma decades ago and she had tiny babies in tow. I admire her willingness and strength that she has shown me. We rarely crossed paths anymore. Now, she is keeping me accountable and helping me be proactive in learning how to navigate through divorce. With someone who continues to lie, I could no longer stay in the awareness that this could be my life going forward. While I can still find love for him, it’s going to be at a distance, now. I’m not willing to sacrifice my own safety, sanity, and what health I do have, to keep being lied to. This blog was what I needed to read this evening. I first reached out to AR and it took me another 4 months to finally get myself into HH. It was an 8 hour time difference for me and HH had one midday group starting up. We continue to talk almost weekly even though our original group keeps getting smaller. We have been through the deaths of parents, suicide, children’s weddings, and more. Even though we wouldn’t know each other if we were walking down the street towards each other, if one of us opened our mouths to speak, we would certainly wonder if that was my HH group member. Being from the east coast to the west coast, we have continued to catch up. We may go through a book,or share some tips about security, or even cooking hints. We have reached out to others in our group when we haven’t heard from them or they may be going through a particularly difficult time in their life. AR timeline is something to strive for. It’s certainly not been my case. I’m no longer willing to accept crumbs. I’m seeing that I have been allowing myself to be used for a far away 2nd place. My place is finally getting figured out and it’s a much brighter path for me than the reality that I was seeing going forward. It takes two to make a partnership work. I feel your sadness. Thank you, Jen. It’s opportune that I read your blog tonight.

Hi Skier

I'm so sorry you have experienced all that you have. This is definitely a painful reality and it is so helpful to have others around you who truly understand how much it impacts every part of your life. I never would have understood that until it happened to me.

I'm glad you have the support of your HH group, and that your friend is walking through this with you. I'm sure she is also finding continued healing in offering you her perspective and support. Someday you may do the same for someone else.

I'm glad you are finding resolution in your decisions about your future. I appreciate hearing from you and I wish you healing and peace.

Thank you, Jen

Thank you, Jen for expressing the complexity of this journey. Like your story, having had a husband who lived with si many secrets for so long and then getting trickle truth for so long, I’ve accepted that I am not crazy to realize that, yes, this experience is crazy making and will have long lasting impact. I find myself now 4 years after full disclosure with polygraph (sad, but true to need that to confirm a spouse is being truthful) often at an in between state. No longer in trauma most of the time but not fully healed. I do find a lot of joy in life, even most of the time w my spouse. When we are both committed to staying in reality and doing the hard work of honesty, being willing to stand hard emotions,that I am most feeling healed. It is a long journey but my eyes are open. Thank you again and take care.

Hi elbee

You describe "the inbetween" well. The limbo of not being in constant trauma anymore but not fully at peace either. I'm glad you are experiencing joy and can look back and recognize your tenacity in your journey and progress you have made.

Thank you for commenting. I have much hope for you and wish you the best. :)

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